reading healing stories with young children
"Birdie" storybooks are an example of ‘healing’ stories, that help young children recover from emotionally distressing events.
The Birdie stories are about severe weather events and natural disasters.
Why read a Birdie story? To:
• develop language and literacy skills
• stimulate their imagination
• learn about the world
• feel more closely bonded with parents, carers and educators
And now ... a story for you to share with your young children about the Virus.
Birdie’s messages for babies and young children:
• Natural disasters are no-one’s fault, and certainly not yours
• You are safe and loved
• You are not alone
• Distressing events end
• Order will be restored
• Adults will take responsibility for fixing things
• It’s okay to have ‘big feelings’ and to talk about them
Proudly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements
These resources include story books and interactive games and are available at:
How do I read a Birdie story (or any story in fact) with my child ?
• Parents and children often like to cuddle up together to read. It’s important to sit close enough so the child can see the words and pictures.
• It’s usually better to read a real printed book, rather than one on a screen. But if you don’t have print copies of the Birdie books, you can read them online by Googling ‘Birdie’s Tree’
• It’s nice to start by reading the title of the book, its author and illustrator.
• Encourage the child to make comments, ask questions, and interact with you and the story. You can ask questions that suit their age, and help them relate the story to the real world (for example ‘Can you point to Birdie?’ ‘What do you think this person is doing?’, ‘That’s just like the fire-truck that came to our house, isn’t it?’)
• If the child wants to talk about their experiences and feelings about the natural disaster, that’s great. But don’t push them if they’re not ready.
• The child may want to break off the story and do something else. Or they may want the same story over and over. Be patient and follow their lead.
• Listen closely to what they say. If they’re not yet using language to express feelings in a way you clearly understand, you might interpret or guess, and check with them to see if that’s right. The important thing is to help them feel it’s okay to talk about their memories, thoughts and feelings, and that you care about what they’re expressing.
• Sometimes a child chooses to symbolically ‘take control’ of the experience they’ve had, through how they treat the physical book. They might walk around with it, asking different people to read the story. They might hide the book or refuse to read it. Help the child find words for how they’re feeling. There are many different ways children use books and stories to help them make sense of their experience.
• Take care of yourself. Don’t read a Birdie book if you find it too distressing – that won’t help you or the child. You’ll both get many of the same benefits from reading a different book!