It can be tricky discussing things with our kids when it comes to our bodies, bullies and family structures.
As parents, we walk a fine line between valuable discussions and unintentional lectures. Remember when your parents would try to have a serious talk with you? No? You probably zoned-out or flat-out ignored them.
For all those tricky topics or to open up a subject for discussion, consider starting with a book.
- ‘We Are All Equal’ by P. Crumble and Jonathan Bentley ‘
- Everyone Poops’ by Taro Gomi
‘We Are All Equal’ is a cute picture book that compares two contrasting types of people and explains that one is not more important than the other and that, well, you saw what the title is.
‘Everyone Poops’ is pretty much the same idea, just shown through the fact that we all poop. It shows all the different shapes, sizes and colours of poop from different animals. The book shows the different ways that people and animals can poop. It is a very simple and fun way of expressing the same ideas from ‘We Are All Equal’.
Both books open up great opportunities for discussions with kids after being read. Toddlers love animals and, quite frankly, most think that poop is pretty darn amusing!
Discussing body safety
- ‘My Underpants Rule’ by Kate and Rod Power
- ‘Miles is the Boss of his Body’ by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Schiller
- ‘A Secret Safe to Tell’ by Naomi Hunter
- ‘Some Secrets Should Never be Kept’ by Jayneen Sanders
These books all look at a similar topic, however they are aimed at very different age groups and levels of maturity.
‘My Underpants Rule’ uses a catchy sing-song rhyme to convey the importance of keeping your private parts private, while teachings kids to speak up and tell a trusted adult if somebody breaks their “underpants rule”.
‘Miles is the Boss of his Body’ focuses on Miles, the birthday boy, whom gets upset that everybody wants to hug, tickle and “noogie” him on his birthday. Miles teaches his family that they need to respect his boundaries. A short and sweet look into respecting people’s boundaries.
‘Some Secrets Should Never be Kept’ is about a young boy that hangs out with the King, while his mother cleans the castle. The King tickles him with his feather and threatens to fire his mother if he tells her. The tale ends with the boy telling his mum and she finds a better way to support them financially, after getting him as far away from the creepy King as possible. Definitely a great story to remind kids that they should always open up to their parents, even if the culprit threatens them.
‘A Secret Safe to Tell’ is quite an emotionally heavy read about at a young girl plagued by the darkness a male left her with after abusing her. It brightens up when she learns that she can tell others what has happened to her and no longer needs to carry those memories on her own.
Looking at different family structures
- ‘Love Makes a Family’ by Sophie Beer
‘Just the Way We Are’ by Jessica Shirvington and Claire Robertson
These books convey similar messages – it doesn’t matter what your family looks like, as long as you are loved.
‘Love Makes a Family’ uses a simplistic language and repetition, making it great for younger kids.
‘Just the Way We Are’ also utilises repetition, but is a bit more wordy. It goes into more detail about different family structures – a great avenue for discussion with younger kids.
Dealing with bullies
- ‘Leave Me Alone: A tale of what happens when you face up to a bully’ by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish
This book is beautiful.
It is about a young boy that pushes everyone away, because they just won’t understand the dark shadow cast over him by a giant that bullies him. Those that he pushes away all band together and tell his bully to leave him alone – all together.
‘Leave Me Alone’ is a heart-warming reminder that sometimes all somebody needs is a friend to help them stand up to their bullies. Haven’t we all got some form of regret that we let bullying happen around us at school?
Self-acceptance and embracing individuality
- ‘Some Boys’ by Nelly Thomas
This book is amazing. It shows boys with long hair, short hair, in shirts, in skirts, playing rough, making crafts, you name it. And it drums in that fact that all of these things are A-OK!
*There is another book in the series called ‘Some Girls’, which conveys a pretty similar message to young girls.
Love reading with your little one? Try signing them up for the Premiers’ Reading Challenge in your state or the 1000 Books Before School Program.