Trying to explain to your small child that you will be moving to a new home or that they will soon be a big brother/sister is not always simple. Sometimes this is because your child is not yet verbal or other times it may be because the topic at hand is complicated. This article shares one of my favorite parenting techniques for explaining these and other topics to children. I learned this parenting technique while taking a class from Jill Spivack, Founder of Sleepy Planet. If you have small children at home, be sure to read this article! It may change your life! I know this knowledge has made mine a WHOLE lot easier!
When my daughter was 20 months old, just 2 months after we introduced her to her new baby brother, we moved from the house where she was born to a new home in a new city. I knew this was a lot of change for a small child and wanted to make the transition a smooth one for my daughter. I decided to try out the technique I learned from Jill Spivack of creating a personalized story about moving for my daughter. I explained that a little girl that conicidentally shared my daughter’s name was going to pack up her belongings in boxes, that the moving van would come and take the boxes and they would move to a new house. I added in the exciting parts of moving such as moving closer to her best friend and the new parks and places we would visit as a family.
You may be asking yourself why I took the time to make this book for my daughter. Fair enough. Like I said, after recently bringing home a new baby, I wanted to prepare my daughter for another big life change. I also wanted to present the information to her in a way that she could understand. She LOVED books (and still does) and I knew she would enjoy being the main character of this special story. I TRULY believe that reading this special book each night before our move helped prepare her for what to expect. Our move was not just smooth. It was seamless! I attribute this to the fact that our daughter was prepped for what to expect and there were very few surprises. Even after our move, this books was always one my daughter requested at bedtime because she enjoyed it so much!
Over her toddlerhood, I created many other books like this one to help prepare our daughter for events that I thought might be “rocky” or challenging. Here are a few images from a book I created to help prepare her for her first swimming lessons.
Tips for creating your personalized story book
- Keep the story simple and direct.
- Don’t fret about the illustrations. Stick people work perfectly!
- Use your child’s name(s) in the story.
- Include simple information about what will happen before, during and after the event. (Example: For a story about starting school, include information what will happen in the morning before school, at drop off, during the school day and at pick up. Try to be as factual as possible).
Situational Topic Ideas
- Vacation (with or without your child)
- Parent returning to work
- Starting school/camp/day care
- Saying goodbye to diapers/bottles/lovie/pacifier
- Death in the family or of a pet
- Welcoming a new baby or pet
No Time to Create Your Own Book? No Problem!
Life is busy and while you may want to create a book to help your child deal with an upcoming life change, you may not have the time. Fair enough! Luckily there are authors out there that have written children’s books on just about every topic you can think of, including all of those listed above! These books are available on Amazon or even at your local book store.