I came up with the idea of Parenting Through Stories when my first child was a toddler, and parenting became that bit more challenging! Most advice out there seemed to focus on managing children's behaviour, rather than helping them understand what it was about and what feelings may be driving it.
Through my clinical work, I have seen how important it is for children to have help in making sense of their world. Storytelling is a very powerful way to do this, so I decided to develop a series of interactive children's picture books, and an accompanying parenting handbook, to help children and parents work together to make things easier.
Parenting Through Stories also aims to be a useful resource for early years settings, including childminders, nurseries and pre-schools.
The first series of stories, Bartley's Books, focus on a little bear called Bartley as he navigates the challenges of growing up. He is helped both by his parents and a little squirrel called Nudge (who can be found under the flaps). The stories mirror the PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy) approach, which I often use in my work with children and parents. This focuses on deepening the attachment relationship and helps children understand and manage their feelings and behaviours, with the help of important adults.
Nudge provides a curious voice, asking children both about Bartley's experiences, but also about their own, helping them learn to reflect upon their lives and learn that big feelings are manageable, as well as gain a better understanding of what is expected of them. In addition to helping children, Bartley's Books provide parents with tools to talk to their children about tricky feelings, something which can be difficult.
The "Parenting Handbook" provides additional support to parents, helping them to understand the developmental tasks of the early years, and providing some ideas on how best to support their children (and themselves!) through this time. It is accessible, realistic, and in short chapters (we are well aware of how little time having young children allows!). Each area covered in Bartley's Books is considered, and the importance of storytelling and the attachment relationship in the early years discussed. There is also advice on how parents can look after themselves and reduce that pressure that we so often feel when trying to get it "right".
To take Parenting Through Stories further we are now a team of self-employed mums - myself, an illustrator (Rachel Millson-Hill), an editor and blogger (Rebecca Ritson) and Claire Payne, who is coordinating the PR and marketing.
Becky's weekly blogs, which are beautifully written and well worth the read, are available on our website: www.parentingthroughstories.com.
We have teamed up with Small and Wild company who make delicious herbal tea for children. Some of the rewards come with a box of its natural, healthy and ethically-sourced teabags for your children to enjoy (you can find out more about them at www.smallandwild.com). Maybe you can have a cuppa when reading "Please Stay Here - I Want You Near" together!
If this crowdfunding campaign is successful we will publish the first book in the series - "Please Stay Here - I Want You Near" - which is about separation anxiety, as well as the "Parenting Handbook".
There are five more children's stories in the first series of Bartley's Books. Our aim is to get these to print as soon as possible. These focus on other situations common in the early years that both children and parents can find difficult to manage.
In the longer-term, we hope to reach many parents and children with this project, particularly those who may be struggling, with the aim to increase both parent's confidence, and their child's emotional and behavioural wellbeing.
Thank you for your support. If you have any questions or ideas about working together please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.