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The Rabbit Listened


A man and young child playing with building blocks
A man and young child playing with building blocks

I recently came across a book that really moved me. It was short, sweet, simple, and fun, but powerful. This was a Dolly Parton Imagination Library book that was mailed to my house for my daughter. I had never read it before. We read it before bed one night and I couldn’t stop thinking about it! The book is The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld. You can find it on Amazon or probably any local bookstore.



In this story, Taylor’s block creation gets ruined by a flock of birds. Over the course of the book, a variety of different animals come to the child to try to help him after the destruction of his blocks. The animals try to make him talk about it, laugh about it, forget about it, get angry, and even take revenge by knocking down someone else’s tower. Taylor didn’t want to do any of the things the animals suggested so they all left him alone, until the rabbit came. The rabbit snuggles up to Taylor and sits and stays, without a sound. Taylor asks the rabbit to stay. Only then, was Taylor able to talk, shout, remember, and laugh; with the support of the quiet rabbit who stayed and listened.


The story illustrates that before Taylor could try any of the solutions suggested by the other animals, he just needed a snuggle, someone safe and warm to be with him and let him come to terms with what happened and how he was feeling. When helping young children through problem solving and conflict resolution, it’s important to remember that good problem solving and solutions don’t typically happen when a child is past the point of calm and onto the point of extremely sad or mad. Taylor appeared to be very upset and disappointed when his creation came crashing down. He needed time to be mad, sad, and disappointed before he was ready to consider laughing it off and rebuilding. But, he couldn’t do it alone. If the rabbit had not come, Taylor might have given up on playing blocks all together. He might have never learned that block towers can be knocked down but they can be rebuilt too!


A woman hugging her baby
A woman hugging her baby

I think this is such a great message for us as parents and care providers. We don’t always have to have a solution for our children but we do need to be there for them and to support them in coming up with their own solution when they’re ready. This story has reminded me to talk less and listen more. I am reminded to be ready to get down on the floor and offer a hug and a snuggle before I offer strategies or solutions. Remember to be like the rabbit when your child is having a hard time and see how much faster the sadness and anger fades away.



 

Meghan is a born and raised Montanan, mama to a rambunctious toddler and a bonus mom to two amazing preteens. She recently earned a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition to her position as an Early Childhood Specialist at the University of Montana, Meghan enjoys a variety of odd mix of jobs; nannying, creating and selling travel play dough kits, making essential oil blends for kids, providing families with child guidance on Facebook and Instagram, and now providing ideas and tips to child care providers in partnership with Raise Montana! Meghan is also a content contributor for 406 Families, a site dedicated to connecting families to local events and resources.


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