When I became a parent, I knew that I wanted to help my children as much as I could to use each and every challenge they faced as a lesson, to see each failure as a stepping-stone to success and to know their worth so that from a young age they learned to love, accept and believe in themselves in a way that many of us struggle to do.
I started writing and illustrating stories when my first baby was just 4 months old and as time went by, I realised how powerful books could be to not only teach children about different moral concepts but to also plant positive seeds in their minds that can then contribute to their inner beliefs and values.
As a former teacher, I know how important a child’s early years are, and because of this I wanted to do everything I could to support my children to cope with their emotions, to believe in themselves, and to be the best that they could be. Knowing how powerful stories are and how much children absorb the key messages, I decided to create storybooks to help them through different developmental stages and to teach them values that will help them to step into their brilliance and to most importantly, be happy in their own skin.
Here are the 12 key messages of the Memory Box Collection storybooks that I think will help every child to thrive:
1. Most of the things that we worry about never happen
How many times have we felt anxious about situations and played them up in our minds to then realise that we had nothing to fear in the first place? In a child’s early years, their imagination is developing, which gives them the capacity to anticipate bad things happening. It is important for us to acknowledge children’s worries and to show them that although we understand how they feel, that everything will be okay.
2. Things don’t have to be perfect to be brilliant
Many of us struggle with perfectionism and often our self-worth can take a hit when we get things wrong. Things are rarely perfect because we live in an imperfect world and trying to live up to this standard is exhausting. How many people are held back from their brilliance because they wait for perfection before they take the leap into something new? We need to teach children that there’s beauty in imperfection, to enjoy the imperfect journey that is life, and to take each flaw as a lesson leading us to greatness.
3. To talk about feelings
Sadness, anger, and frustration need to be accepted and normalised. We all have moments when we feel this way, yet as a society, we tend to struggle to see these emotions in ourselves and others. It’s not the anger, sadness, or frustration that is the problem, it’s how we manage them that contributes to the outcome. How many times have we bottled something up and then taken it out on someone who doesn’t deserve it? We need to teach children that it’s okay to feel this way, but that by talking about our feelings we dilute the intensity and give ourselves the opportunity to work through them without unintentionally hurting anyone else.
4. It’s okay to ask for help
So many people don’t like asking for help because they don’t like to be seen to have weaknesses. However, the truth is that we all have different abilities and can achieve so much more when we pull together. How many times have we struggled alone and stayed stuck or in pain, rather than asking for help? We need to teach children that it’s okay to ask for help if they need it and that they never need to isolate themselves in a problem and feel alone.
5. That we all have our unique strengths and shine in our own way
How many times do we compare ourselves to others? The problem with this is that we are all completely different and shine in our own way. In the words of Albert Einstein ‘If we judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life thinking it is stupid’. We need to teach children that it’s okay to not be good at everything and to focus on and harness their own unique strengths.
6. To keep trying when things get tough
Quite often, the feeling of wanting to quit comes right before a big breakthrough. The reason not everyone reaches huge success is because they give up when things get too much. What they don’t realise is that brilliance lies just around the corner from an overwhelming challenge. How many times in life have we quit because we haven’t seen the results we want? We need to teach children that failure is a stepping-stone to success and that resistance brings opportunities to learn and grow.
7. To accept differences in themselves and others
Every single one of us is unique and our differences make us who we are, yet so many people struggle to accept themselves and strive to fit into a false ‘norm’ created by a society driven by perfection. How many people struggle to accept themselves fully or subconsciously judge others for being different in some way? We need to teach children to see the beauty in their differences and to accept themselves (and others) for who they are. The world would be a kinder place if we all saw greatness in uniqueness.
8. To believe in themselves
The actions of others can have a huge impact on us and can often affect how we feel about ourselves. How many of us have had the wind knocked out of us by someone we care about or have allowed someone else’s opinion to make us doubt ourselves? We need to teach children that their actions do impact others and that as much as other people can impact them too, their own confidence and self-belief will always give them the strength to overcome it.
9. To use positive traits as a superpower
Politeness, kindness, honesty, patience, and positivity cost nothing. Can you imagine a world where everybody had these attributes? We need to teach children that these simple traits can have a huge impact on the world around us and the people in it.
10. Gratitude and appreciation
In this fast-paced, digital world that we live in, it can be easy to forget to appreciate the small things in life. How many people search for happiness in external, material objects? We need to teach children that happiness comes from within and to be grateful for the simple things. In times of darkness, there are always things to be grateful for if we look for them. If children are taught to look for these things from a young age, they will be more able to see a light in dark times when they are older.
11. That the word ‘sorry’ means nothing if we don’t change our actions
How many of us know someone who always says ‘sorry’, but then does the same actions repeatedly? We need to teach children that ‘sorry’ is a meaningless word if our actions don’t change.
12. To be brave and to try new things
Our brilliance is rarely found inside of our comfort zone. Trying new things can be scary. However, it can also lead to amazing opportunities and experiences. How many people have held themselves back through fear of the unknown? We need to teach children to be brave and to try new things because in the words of Jack Canfield “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”.
About the author:
Stacey Kelly is a former French and Spanish teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box. After becoming a mum, Stacey left her teaching career and started writing and illustrating storybooks to help support her children through different transitional stages like leaving nursery and starting school. Seeing the positive impact of her books on her children’s emotional wellbeing led to Early Years Story Box being born. Stacey has now created 35 storybooks, all inspired by her own children, to help teach different life lessons and to prepare children for their next steps. She has an exclusive collection for childcare settings that are gifted on special occasions like first/last days, birthdays, Christmas and/or Easter and has recently launched a new collection for parents too. Her mission is to support as many children as she can through storytime and to give childcare settings an affordable and special gifting solution that truly makes a difference.
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