August 1 – Respect for Parents Day

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About the Holiday

Marilyn Dalrymple of Lancaster, California created Respect for Parents day to, as she said, “make our families become united and strong by recognizing the leadership roles parents have, and to reinstate the respect for parents that was evident in the past.” Former President Bill Clinton recognized Respect for Parents Day as a national observance in 1994. To celebrate thank your parents for what they have done for you, spend time with them, and tell them you love them.

How to Put Your Parents to Bed

Written by Mylisa Larsen | Illustrated by Babette Cole

So here you are—night time. Bedtime, really, but you’re not tired. You still have enough energy to “scale a tall tower,” “sail savage seas,” or “paint a masterpiece,” but think about your poor parents. Look at them! They really need to go to bed! You know parents, though—“Parents are not good at going to bed. “‘I have to put in a load of laundry,’” they say. ‘I need to do the dishes.’ ‘Just one more email.’”

Someone needs to take charge, and the family feline—who has been a keen observer of the bedtime dynamics—thinks its pint-sized owner is just that “someone.” So the little girl, living in the midst of a chaotic night with her overscheduled, overworked parents, follows the cat’s pointed paw directions. She takes food out of her parents’ hands, closes the computer, and tells them “‘It’s time for bed.’” The first task is getting them to brush their teeth. The girl squeezes the toothpaste onto the brush and even helps her dad reach his molars.

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Image copyright Babette Cole, courtesy of babette-cole.com

Next is making sure her parents dress in their pajamas. But Dad’s on the phone and Mom’s still watching TV. Ugh! First Mom and Dad won’t go to bed and now they’re falling asleep on the couch and floor! Their daughter keeps them moving in the right direction, though. Once they hit the bedroom, however, they get a second wind and become “unruly when faced with actually getting in bed. Tiny things upset them. They can work themselves into a state.” What to do? The girl remains calm and does not negotiate. Once Mom and Dad are tucked in, it’s story time. A tricky bit—do they only want their favorite story? How many?

At this point, the girl thinks she’s almost finished. But suddenly something unexpected comes up. Mom is missing her favorite pillow. Dad’s socks itch. And they both want to check on the dog. Oh brother! While the girl is handling these crises, her parents are starting a pillow fight! Phew! She gets them all tucked in, gives them each a kiss good night, and takes away their cell phones.

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Image copyright Babette Cole, courtesy of babette-cole.com

Finally, they are off to dream land, and the girl has some time for herself! But wait a minute. The cat suggests she’s not exactly looking her best. In fact, she looks exhausted. Maybe, the frisky feline thinks, she needs to go to bed.

Mylisa Larsen’s funny role-reversal primer will have kids giggling and adults nodding appreciatively from Page 1 until The End. Speaking directly at readers, How to Put Your Parents to Bed offers sly winks at the many bedtime distractions of today’s families. The witty conspiratorial tone to the cat’s instructions gives kids a secret feeling of clout even while they may recognize their own behavior. And parents will wish they could still act this way.

Rebecca Cole’s dynamic illustrations of the recalcitrant parents doing last-minute chores, stubbornly refusing to brush their teeth, jumping on the bed, and fooling with delaying tactics ramps up the hilarity of this bedtime how-to. Kids will want to linger over the pages to catch all the humorous details.

Ages 4 – 8

Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins Publishers, 2016 | ISBN 978-0062320643

Visit Mylisa Larsen’s website to learn more about How to Put Your Parents to Bed and read her blog!

Enter the world of Babette Cole—her books, artwork, and more—by visiting her website!

Get ready to laugh with the How to Put Your Parents to Bed book trailer!

Respect for Parents Day Activity

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Home Rules! Maze

Look around your house and find something to thank your parents for. Then run through this printable Home Rules! Maze and have fun! Here’s the Solution!

Picture Book Review

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