Let's dig a little deeper
There are a few things in this story that we can talk further about with our children. At the back of the book are questions about putting yourself in someone else's shoes and when others don't act the way we expect them to act.
Questions such as: "What does it mean to put yourself in someone else's shoes?" and "Do you ever wonder why someone acts the way they do?"
Another part of the story that is worth exploring with your children is when others get angry at us, how do we react? In this story, Sophie decides that if they are going to be angry with her then she is going to be angry with them. Anger is natural, it is often how we naturally protect ourselves. However, it isn't always productive for our children or us. As a parent, we need to stay as calm as possible when our kids are angry. Take a look at how you handle anger and what you are modeling for your children. Is it a positive problem-solving approach or a reactionary approach that models meeting anger with anger? Creating a safe environment for your child to express their anger helps them get to a place they can explore what they are feeling and not just respond.
It's best to empathize with their feelings and stay as calm as possible to help them understand and de-escalate the anger.
Here are some questions you might ask your kids when they feel anger to help them explore the feelings they are having:
"I understand you are feeling angry, it's normal to feel angry when........ happens. What do you think you should do next?" (Then you guide them to a positive resolution.)
"What is the first thing you want to do when you are angry?
"What do you think you should do when you are angry?"
"Why did that make you angry?"
Acknowledging the anger, legitimizing the feelings, and then redirecting the anger by breathing, talking it out, or giving them a physical way to express their anger that does not hurt themselves or others goes a long way in helping kids learn to control anger on their own.
Click here to Download Activities that can be done with a group of children.
Here's what people are saying about "Sophie Wears Someone Else's Shoes":
"Sophie Wears Someone Else's Shoes teaches children an invaluable life skill through an entertaining, light hearted, age-appropriate storyline. I read this book with my 2 year-old and 7 year- old, the story facilitated questions, conversations, and introspective thoughts from my daughters, a true gift to our family.
~Alli P, speech-language pathologist and mom of 2 girls
"A delightful story that challenges us all to look outside of ourselves and not be afraid to ask for advice. Sophie is sensitive and caring but still needs the patient guidance of her friend Mr. Owliver to understander the actions of her friends. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had a Mr. Owliver in our lives? Well, through this wonderful story we can grow along with Sophie with the help of Mr. Owliver. "
Retired Teacher and Coach
"This is is wonderful story about the central character Sophie learning to recognize her feelings and evaluate a confusing situation. Asking for advice from her best friend Annie, and the wise, old Mr. Owliver, Sophie learns to look a little deeper, to understand that things are not always as they seem. This book inspires children to recognize issues and solve problems in a child appropriate way.
My granddaughter and I are looking forward to the next book in the series!"
Thistledown Farms Owner and Event Host
"What parent hasn’t had a child with friend concerns come to them for advice? In this adorable book Sophie feels somewhat slighted by several friends at the park and asks Mr. Owliver why he thinks they acted like they didn’t want to play with her. With his good advice and further information from others, she realizes that sometimes you need to walk in someone else’s shoes to understand their viewpoint. A wonderful read-aloud when talking about character and learning the whole story before jumping to conclusions."
Retired Reading Teacher
Sophie Series Book 2
Let's dig a little deeper
There are a few things in this story that we can talk further about with our children. At the back of the book are questions about obstacles and how the obstacles might be faced or overcome.
Questions such as: "Do you sometimes feel bad when something stops you from doing what you want to do?" and "How might others help you face obstacles?"
When kids are faced with obstacles they often get frustrated just like adults. Helping a child move through that frustration productively can be tough. However, it is worth it to give them tools to successfully navigate life's challenges.
First of all, remember that this is their frustration and they need to handle it. You are there to support, listen, and help them come to a way forward, but not take care of it for them. Fixing whatever is frustrating them does not help them with the next frustration.
Ask them to stop and take 5 deep breaths to calm them and break the cycle of pushing or fighting against the obstacle.
-Get them talking about what exactly they are trying to accomplish and what exactly is getting in their way.
-Ask them about a time they were successful in getting around an obstacle and how they did that.
-Point out the traits, steps, attitudes, etc that you hear that made them successful.
-Praise them for any and all effort they made in that situation.
-Ask them how all of the things you talked about in that situation might apply to this situation.
If they can't come up with something they have done, ask them to talk about a time that a friend, a character in a book or on TV, or someone else's they know overcame an obstacle.
This get's them focused on a positive outcome and shows them they may very well have a path forward. Don't forget to reflect back to them all of the positive things they do to move past the latest obstacle and celebrate with them, this is tough stuff!
Let's dig a little deeper
There are a few things in this story that we can talk further about with our children. At the back of the book are questions about perserverance and believing in yourself.
Questions such as: "Have you tried something you wanted to do but couldn't?" and "Do you know someone who could do something really well that you wish you could do?"
Helping our kids believe in themselves and not give up is a valuable lesson, but not easily done. How many times had you heard your child say that they "can't" do something or they are not good enough? How do you respond? Often we want to tell kids that they can do anything they put their minds to, or that they can be anything they want to be. Those responses are well-meaning but not actually very helpful to a child who is struggling. They are great as an overall message, but we need to dig a bit deeper to help them to move forward with the immediate issue they may be facing.
Let's look at some things we can use in the moment:
Praise effort. Avoid focusing praise only on results (such as getting a good grade) or fixed qualities they have naturally (such as being smart or athletic).
Instead, offer most of your praise for effort, progress, and attitude. For example: "You're working hard on that ....," "You're getting better and better at these ....," or, "I'm proud of you for practicing .... — you've really stuck with it."
With this kind of praise, kids put effort into things, work toward goals, and try. When kids do that, they're more likely to succeed.
Don't overpraise! Praise that doesn't feel earned doesn't ring true. For example, telling a child they did something really well when they know they didn't feels hollow and fake. It's better to say, "I know that wasn't your best ...., but we all have off days. I'm proud of you for not giving up." Add a vote of confidence: "It's just like you to bounce back." (make this real) Saying to someone that something "is just like you to..." and making that a positive trait, encourages them to continue that behavior and to see themselves that way.
Be a good role model. When you put in the effort you're setting a good example. Your child learns to put effort into doing whatever they are trying to do.
Modeling the right attitude counts too. When you strive to do something cheerfully (or at least without grumbling, complaining, or quitting), you teach your child to do the same.
Ban harsh criticism. The messages kids hear about themselves from others easily translate into how they feel about themselves. Correct kids with patience. Focus on what might help them next time. Better yet, ask them what they might do differently and be patient when they can't think of anything. Respond calmly and maybe offer something you have struggled with to show empathy.
Focus on strengths. Pay attention to what your child does well and remind them of that. Focus more on strengths than weaknesses if you want to help kids feel good about themselves and keep on building the perseverance they need to be successful.