Honestly, I wish bravery was an easy accomplishment. Even before she was born, I worried about my daughter. She will grow up in a vastly different world than I did (we had journals way back then instead of blogs and ‘vlog’ was something green you coughed up after reading Dracula). More than ever now, I feel bravery is essential for success in this new rapidly evolving world.
Recently her preschool teacher asked me what I hoped to see when I watched little V cross the stage at her high school graduation. First of all, I hope she does graduate high school. Secondly, I did not realize that was something I should consider for my two year old.Obviously, I told her teacher something wholly different. I told her that I hoped little V would be happy and would be a good citizen of the world. It sounded like a good answer at the time.
The more I think about it, the more I realize she needs bravery and self confidence and life experiences to be happy and a good citizen. I want her to question her life and ask us questions, challenge us and herself, so she truly gets to understand who she is. I think I am still learning that myself.
How do you teach bravery? Do you expose children at a young age to hardship and encourage them to pull through it? Do I lead by example, try things I have always been frightened to do (I draw the line at base jumping)? Can’t I just enroll her in some crazy-challenging athletics program? Or maybe just some Braveheart-esque face paint?
In true academic fashion, I always turn to books first when I have a question (part of my analog upbringing, no doubt). At our local library, we found I Am So Brave by Stephen Krensky. Very simple pictures, but easily comprehensible by a two year old. A little boy admits his fears, but then says how he overcomes them. Little V LOVED this book. I also found this list of 30 books to inspire courage in young kids online, and I plan on scouring the online card catalog this weekend to see if we have them available.
Besides reading, play, as we all know, is paramount to children learning. Here is a list of easy preschool activities to teach bravery. After I read this list, I realized that all of the time little V and I spent designing Paw Patrol badges for her toys probably counts as teaching her about bravery. I’m not quite sure how my repeated reminders for her to replace the caps on her markers help, but at least they make me feel I am
Like everything in parenting and in life, teaching and learning bravery is a journey, not a destination. I will just take it day by day.
Do you have any good tips or helpful suggestions on how to teach a toddler or preschooler about bravery? Have you read any of the books above or have any suggestions for good reads about courage?