When you read a fairy tale such as Beauty and the Beast to your child, you might think that a story of romantic love won’t be very interesting to a preschooler. However, this exceptional tale has stood the test of time for a reason - it teaches us lessons about love, friendship and resilience that we carry with us our whole lives. Here are 4 things your kid can learn from Beauty and the Beast.
1. Love is not selfish
When Belle agrees to go to the Beast’s castle to save her father, she sends a powerful message: Family is the strongest bond of all, and sometimes this means having to make sacrifices. Now, your family’s life might not be as dramatic as Belle’s (I hope so anyway!), but this is a great conversation opportunity for you and your little one. Ask each other what challenging things you could both do to make the other person happy. No one needs to run away to a castle, but helping to lay the table could be a good start!
2. You don’t have to change to be accepted
Belle doesn’t fit in with her fellow villagers. She loves reading and adventure, and is not afraid to speak her mind. Even when she is captured by the Beast, she stays true to herself and eventually becomes accepted and loved by the entire household. Nowadays, it is easy for kids to follow the pack instead of being independent, particularly when they are worried about bullying. Beauty and the Beast can inspire them to embrace their individuality, no matter the circumstances.
3. Making mistakes is OK
So, the Beast made a big mistake. He turned away an old woman who needed help just because of her appearance. And he suffered the punishment for it! In the end, though, he understands where he went wrong when he realizes that beauty comes from within. Remind your child that they don’t have to live with shame. If they do something wrong, they might be punished by a parent or teacher. But as long as they recognize their mistake, and know not to make the same one again, they don’t need to feel embarrassed forever. In fact, there’s something to be pleased about - they will have learned something new!
4. A love for learning is love too!
Belle is not only a bookworm, she has an insatiable appetite for knowledge. Talk to your child about how being curious and discovering new things makes them feel. This doesn’t have to be limited to books or science facts - for some children, what brings them joy will be testing out new crafts or finding out how music is made. Whatever their interests, let them know that they will be able to learn new things their whole life - and that’s exciting!