The Olympics are here and most families are watching and talking about our Olympians! Parents and teachers can utilize this exciting platform to explore the attributes seen in our Olympians; honesty, commitment, teamwork, self- belief, and perseverance.
Parents want their children to be upstanding citizens and to tell the truth. But teaching children to be honest is tricky because experimenting with honesty is a childhood developmental stage that varies with each age group.
How can you capitalize on the Olympic message and cultivate an environment that supports honesty?
Create a safe space for honesty.
A family that shows love and support when their child tells the truth lets their child know that it is OK to be truthful. Most childhood lies only happen because the child is afraid of the consequences. Turn this around and use it as an opportunity to work together as a team to deal with the situation at hand. Show your child you are there for them. Just as the Olympic teams work together for years to develop trust, a trust develops between child and parent. You will want to use the early years to establish this bond of trust that creates a safe space for children to share with you. (Keep in mind that toddlers have a shaky grasp on the difference between reality, daydream, wishes, fantasies, and fears, says child psychiatrist Elizabeth Berger.)
Read lighthearted inspirational stories with takeaway lessons.
The Snowman Paul Series combines Olympic inspiration with valuable lessons. Snowman Paul is at the Winter Olympics and winning in every event …. but is he being honest? Children can’t resist relating to this adorable snowman wanting desperately to win snowboarding, curling, speed-skating, ski-jumping, and luge-running. The bright watercolor illustrations keep kids engaged and gives you lots to talk about! Learn about Olympic events and the value of telling the truth.
Develop emotional intelligence or self-awareness.
When children are dishonest they usually feel bad about themselves. Some kids may even cry or have an upset stomach. You can help your child develop self-awareness by pointing out how much better they feel when they tell the truth. Ask them how they felt when they were not being honest. Did they feel stressed, sad, nervous, or sick? This is a great opportunity to create self-awareness. Children will internalize that being truthful and living an honest life feels good.
The Winter Olympics are filled with opportunities to cheer, learn, and discuss Olympian values. Take advantage of this once every 4-year event. Use your parenting heart and eye to look for openings to create learning moments and cuddle up with a good Olympic inspired book.
How did a snowman get into the Olympics?
Yossi Lapid was born in a small town in Romania where toy stores were absent, but snowmen were abundant. The bright white carpet that covered the ground after the first snow-fall always appeared to him like the blank opening page in a magical book still waiting to be written. In his imagination, the imprints of his small feet would become the first words of many fantastic winter adventures. So, it was inevitable perhaps that he would one day write a children’s book about a snowman called Paul. However, it was not inevitable that he would write in rhymes, so he wonders what happened, sometimes.
The Snowman Paul Series:
Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics
Telling the truth. “His friends- the wind, the ice, the snow – kept helping my Paul steal the show!”
Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream
Self-belief, perseverance, teamwork. Winning may mean many things. “Kate, you followed through, I am so very proud of you!”
Other books in the Snowman Paul Series are:
Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics
My Snowman, Paul
The Amazing Snowman Duel (Snowman Paul)
Snowman Paul Save Kate’s Birthday
Halloween with Snowman Paul
Snowman Paul at the Concert Hall
Christmas with Snowman Paul
As a first-time author, Lapid’s multi-volume series titled Snowman Paul won the silver medal in the 2016 Moonbeam Award competition in the best picture book series category. Subsequent volumes in 2017 have won Mom’s Choice and Reader’s Favorite gold medals. Lapid was previously a college professor with a Ph.D. from Colombia University. He has three children and lives with his wife Susan and a little dog named Sasha in New Mexico. Follow Snowman Paul on Twitter and Facebook @mysnowmanpaul, and on his Snowman Paul website.