Meet Cheri Meiners, M. Ed., Author of the Series “Learning to Get Along”

cheri meinersI have the extreme pleasure and honor of interviewing Cheri Meiners, M. Ed. , author of the excellent series, “Learning to Get Along“. I first saw her books on Amazon about a year ago when looking for a good book on “telling the truth”. When I began introducing these books to my children, they enjoyed them and learned immensely from them. My earlier post, “Be Careful and Stay Safe” is one of my favorites among many in her series. I find these books well written and extremely important when trying to teach your child many concepts including following rules, accepting someone for who they are, staying with a task and being safe. Thank you Cheri!

1. What inspired you to write the series, “Learning to Get Along”?

I was inspired to write the Learning to Get Along series as a result of writing little books for my own 6 children.  I also had experience with a child who had language delays, and found that writing succinct instructive books with illustrations was helpful to comprehension.  Along with my experience as a mother and former first grade teacher, I felt that I had some insight in helping children understand the intricacies and reasoning behind appropriate social behavior.

2. I found the book, “Be Careful and Stay Safe” to be a very important and useful book to read to my children. What are some good tips that parents can follow to help their child stay safe when out in the community?

Here are some tips for helping to keep your child safe in the community:

A.This may sound obvious, but for small children, it’s important to always keep your eye on them.  When walking together, make sure a child is in front of you–not lagging behind.  Employing the buddy system with a friend or sibling can also help.  Teach them the importance of always staying with you when you are out together. Always praise appropriate behavior and allow them greater flexibility and opportunities as they are able to assume more responsibility.

B.  Teach children to stay where they are if they are lost so that you can retrace your steps to find them. Young children should not need to try to find you.    Or, make then aware of community helpers who can help them if they are separated (police men, life guards at the beach. store clerks, etc.)  Some people recommend that children look for a mother with children or a person that looks like a grandma who might help them. Let them know that being lost is the only emergency in which they should go with a stranger.

C.  Teach children to memorize basic information such as their parent’s name and phone number.  Also, let them know that this information should not be given to a stranger unless they are lost.  You may also wish to instruct them on making an emergency 911 call.

3. How has your background as a parent and educator help you write the books for your series?
My background as a mother and educator was helpful to me in knowing age-appropriate scenes and scenarios that children may be in regularly.  It helped me to be aware of social situations in which children may need guidance and prompting.  Children pick up social cues on their own at very different rates.  Children also have received different levels of training at home. For these reasons, I believe that all children can benefit from books that systematically teach social skills and the positive results that they may expect as they learn these empowering behaviors. Through a unique combination of experiences I had as a mother and teacher, I felt that writing these books was a way that I could help children other than my own.
4. Which book in your series do you find most meaningful to you and why?
 This is a little like asking a mother which is her favorite child. 🙂 All the the books actually have special meaning for me for one reason or another.  Some focus on play skills; some on communication skills; some on problem solving.  Each one has the potential to help a specific child. I feel proud of  Reach Cut and Give because it won the Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award for the best book on service for that year.  Accept and Value Each Person has been in the gift shop of the United Nations. Listen and Learn was presented to each kindergarten child in my county as they prepared to enter kindergarten last year. Share and Take Turns and Cool Down and Work Through Anger have had the widest appeal.  But, certainly every title that has helped a child grow in confidence and maturity is meaningful to me.

5. What is your favorite book as a child?

One of my childhood favorites is the classic, “Go, Dog, Go” by P.D. Eastman.  The words are simple enough for a young child, but there is a lot of depth and humor in the illustrations and the characters (who are all dogs) –along with the relationship of two dogs that centered on the repeated line, “Do you like my hat?”


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