Experiencing the world through the eyes of your child is one of the best parts of being a parent. But those experiences sometimes come with challenges that aren’t easy to navigate. For example, how do you make sure your kids work hard and achieve their true potential? How do you teach them what’s really important in life? And how in the heck do you get them to eat something other than chicken nuggets?
That’s where Dr. Seuss comes in. Yes, that Dr. Seuss — that same one whose birthday is honored on March 2 as Read Across America Day.
A genius at boiling down life’s biggest conundrums into bite-size wisdom, Dr. Seuss’s timeless books can guide you through a variety of difficult parenting situations — even if his rhymes will get stuck into your head until your kid leaves for college. In our estimation, getting that same kid to learn these 7 life lessons is a fair trade-off.
Green Eggs and Ham
If you’ve got a picky eater at home, this is the book for you. Sam-I-am may be a pain-in-the-you-know-what, but he’s got a point: How on earth do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you don’t like a certain food if you’ve never even tasted it? My 4-year-old will tell you that he doesn’t like the look of it. But, come on, kid: If you try it, you just might like it. You’ll also make Mommy so insanely happy if you just eat one little piece of one little vegetable!
What Pet Should I Get?
Decisions can be hard and overwhelming, but as difficult as they may be, choices must be made. In this “new” Seuss tale, which was published posthumously last summer, a brother-sister duo attempts to pick the perfect pet but can’t make up their minds. There are so many exciting options, and they want them all. Reality sets in as they remember that Dad said they could pick only one: “If we do not choose, we will end up with NONE.” Side note: Those were some very trusting parents.
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
These days, kids are so overscheduled and hovered over, they barely have time to breathe, let alone allow their imaginations to soar. “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” can counteract the pressures they may feel in school someday. Not only will exercising their creative muscles make your kids happy, but studies show that it can also help them innovate in all areas of their lives. As Dr. Seuss writes:
“Think invisible ink!
Or a Gink with a stink!
Or a stair to the sky!
If you open your mind,
Oh, the thinks you will find lining up to get loose.”
It’s dizzying and exciting—and more necessary than the powers-that-be in education seem to realize.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
This graduation-gift favorite about life’s adventures isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Yes, the oft-quoted (and awesome) phrases like, “Kid, you’ll move mountains!” and “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting,” are inspiring. But past that, there’s a big lesson about achieving goals through hard work and tough choices. It’s not easy, but keep persevering and you can accomplish amazing things. Well, maybe. Dr. Seuss says it’s “98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.” Still, I’d take those odds.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Even when it’s not Christmastime, the Grinch has a lot to offer, especially around birthdays, special occasions and grandparent visits. You know the tale: The Grinch tries ruin Christmas for the Whos in Whoville by stealing their presents, but he’s unsuccessful. Why? Because those Whos know what truly matters in life — and it isn’t material possessions. This book is a great way to ward off spoiled attitudes and make kids focus on those around them, not the things that those people might give them. When your kids grasp this concept, your heart will likely grow three sizes that day.
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
Kids have a way of thinking that every little thing is the end of the world, but a healthy dose of perspective can turn their little frowns upside down. Think of this Dr. Seuss book as the equivalent to this phrase that we all heard while growing up: “Eat your food — there are children in Africa who are starving!” Of course, Dr. Seuss says it in a much more fun, catchy way:
“That’s why I say, ‘Duckie!
Don’t grumble! Don’t stew!
Some critters are much-much,
Oh, ever so much-much
So muchly much-much more unlucky than you!'”
Adjust your outlook on life and you’ll see that you have it pretty darn good. Who’s a lucky duckie? You are!
Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book
“Nine-nine zillion, nine trillion and two creatures are sleeping,” apparently, but not your kid! In this lengthy tale, when a little bug named Van Vleck yawns, he starts a chain reaction that affects all of the creatures and people in the world. They are all getting very sleepy…including your little one, who hopefully will be snoozing by the 64th page of rhyming. It’s a lot nicer than the recent book “Go the F*** to Sleep”…but it boils down to the same point: Go to sleep, kids!
About the author: Dawn Yanek is a pop-culture and parenting expert, and the founder of Momsanity.com. She has worked as an on-air spokesperson for Life & Style Weekly and Match.com, a contributor for ESPN2’s Cold Pizza and a relationships columnist for Stuff magazine. Her writing on parenting has also been featured on Scary Mommy, What the Flicka? and BonBon Break. She is the proud mother of two adorable kids and one crazy Pomapoo, all of whom share her obsessive love of ’80s music.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: ©Flickr/Ayoub.reeb
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Green Eggs and Ham/Amazon
What Pet Should I Get?/Amazon
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think/Amazon
Oh, the Places You’ll Go/Amazon
How the Grinch Stole Christmas/Amazon
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?/Amazon
Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book/Amazon