Teach Your Kids About Friendship This Valentine’s Day

I feel that Valentine’s Day has become a Hallmark holiday over the recent years. It’s an excuse to buy cards, more chocolates, and give the rose industry a boom. There’s nothing wrong with that. But how do you teach your kids not to indulge in materialistic things and learn the true meaning of Valentine’s Day?

In ‘Beato Goes To Greenland’ an Inuit boy invites Beato to eat at his house as there is no cat food available nearby.

What if you were to tell your kids that Valentine’s day was about kindness, love, and friendship towards everyone – their parents, teachers, friends, and siblings? In ‘Beato Goes To’ series of books, my main characters – a cat and a kid – highlight unconventional friendships. Each book opens with a friendly local child in each of the countries – Putu in Indonesia, Helena in Israel, Ina in Greenland – that take personal responsibility to welcome Beato to their homeland and show him around. Together, they travel around the country, eat new things, take part in festivals and cultural activities, play games, swim and learn.

Don’t you wish you had a friend like that in every country?

In ‘Beato Goes To Israel’ Beato plays soccer with Jewish, Muslim and Christian boys.

The books also teach kids about kindness and the impact kind acts can have. Beato frequently says “thank you” and “please” and asks questions respectfully when he is curious.

Beato is always tolerant towards cultural differences, be it praying at a family temple or eating foreign foods without making a fuss. He is never judgmental and open to learning about other religions. This cat even does yoga!

Enroll your kids in a Kindness Challenge as an alternative Valentine’s Day celebration.

In ‘Beato Goes To Indonesia’ Beato prays at Putu’s family alter to be respectful to his culture.

Reading meaningful children’s books is a small step in making your kids open minded global citizens. Valentine’s Day is a good day to start by giving them ‘Beato Goes To’ books instead of candy.

I hope you will continue to encourage them to make friends, be kind, and respect others’ throughout the year.

Here are a few questions you can discuss with your kid as you read ‘Beato Goes To’ books on Valentine’s Day:

  • What friendly things did the characters do?
  • How did those friendly acts make Beato feel?
  • Who showed kindness to Beato, and how?
  • How did Beato show respect towards another culture?
  • When did Beato feel compassionate towards his new friend?
  • At which point, did you see the characters sharing & give?

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