Books To Help Children Cope With Younger Siblings

A friend asked me a few days ago for recommendations on books for children about being an older brother or sister. It made me realise that while I’d shared books for dealing with a new baby, I hadn’t ever shared a list of books for helping an older child deal with a younger sibling – both in terms of suddenly having to share the love and space, but also in helping them realise that feelings of jealousy and anger are normal, and to equip them in how to deal with those feelings. I hope these books on siblings help your little ones accept their little brothers and sisters.

Some of these we own, some I’m going by the reviews of other readers, but here’s a list of books that can help you.

(*These are affiliate links. If you choose to buy through these links it won’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll be helping to support my work and my family, so thank you for that.)

Books that reinforce love for the older sibling:

Capture“Three sibling bears start to worry that they can’t ALL be “the most wonderful baby bears in the whole wide world” as they are regularly told by Mummy and Daddy Bear. As each singles out a personal feature that might mean they are less loved than their siblings, Mummy and Daddy are able to reassure them all, jointly and individually, with “a good answer”. The watercolour illustrations depict gentle, loving bear-family scenes alongside the story.”

The reviews on this story are enough to make me want to buy it. Everyone says that it’s beautiful, that it teaches a valuable lesson and that it’s a favourite.

downloadI Love You, Alfie Cub is a stunningly illustrated book about a little fox cub, Alfie, whose mama has a new litter of pups – twin girls. Mama Fox explains that the twins will take up a lot of her time and need a lot of love and care. Alfie is kind of excited about having new play mates, but by the end of the first day, they haven’t even grown yet! (I so relate to this. Ameli’s first question about her sister was ‘Can it walk? – at about 2 minutes old!)

Alfie’s Mama is tired, and falls asleep without reading him stories. She doesn’t play with him as much, and she is always busy with the twins. He fears that she has run out of love for him, so he spends the day looking high and low for love. A friendly frog reminds him that he still has love, so he can share his love with his  mother. Alfie has an idea and sets about making a play space for his sisters.

The last few pages of this book make my eyes well up with tears. Seriously, I get so emotional. Alfie realises that his mother loves him, and she reminds him that she will never run out of love for him.

I Love You, Alfie Cub is so incredibly beautiful, it’s one of my favourites, it’s sweet, and it lays the foundation for older siblings to say that just because Mama is a bit busy right now does not mean that she doesn’t love or has replaced them.

Capture“A little fox is in a big bad mood, and is worried that its mother won’t love it forever. In this beautiful and lyrical picture book, we see a clever and resourceful mother prove to her child that a parents love is limitless – no matter what! In this reassuring and warm picture book, the hugely talented Debi Gliori manages to treat the familiar subject of childhood worries in a very fresh, original and inventive way.”

The story gets rave reviews from everyone who needs reassurance that their parents still love them. This is one of those rhyming stories, gentle and soothing. It reinforces that nothing can take our love away.

CaptureJust Like You Did starts as Tom is just about to have a new baby brother or sister arrive.  Although the new arrival turns out to be a baby boy, Tom isn’t happy, because all the family and friend spend a lot of time looking at the new baby and Tom feels left out.

Tom eventually snaps angrily, but when his parents sit him down and show him pictures of what he was like when he was a baby, and explain that the baby will soon start to grow up and things won’t be difficult for ever, Tom’s happiness is restored.

Just Like You Did is suitable for siblings 2+

Books that address the sibling relationship

  • Share! * – Anthea Simmons

Capture“This book may help to explore disgruntled feelings between an older and a younger baby sibling who at about 6 months is starting to want to play with their toys and things. It is hard to share everything and resentment can build up inside.”

In this story the older sister gets upset with her little brother getting everything sticky and soggy. She starts doing things to get him messy and in trouble, but there’s a happy ending, with them all cuddled up and cozy together. One of the criticisms of the book, however, is that there isn’t much about sharing, so much as accepting a baby brother – not a bad result really.

CaptureThe ‘big sister’ in this story thinks everything about being a big sister is unfair. As the ‘big girl’, she is expected to play independently, tidily and quietly, to which her response is, “it’s not fair!”. Over the course of the story she begins to realise the advantages of being the older sibling as she’s able to do things the baby can’t.

When the baby grows and learns to talk, he sees all the things his sister can do and he in turn thinks it’s not fair.

I’m not sure about the basic concepts of ‘two unfairs making a fair’ really, but I think this story can have a place at the right time. What it does do,  however, is open up a dialogue to discussing frustration and jealousy, while leading to an eventual bond between the brother and sister.

CaptureAnother book I would buy simply based on the reviews. Many readers comment on how it is clear and direct, and great especially for children on the Autism spectrum. It is of course also good for children who are dealing with a new sibling and having to become accustomed to sharing their parents.

“I Feel Jealous explores the emotion of jealousy from the point of view of a young child. It reassures the reader that jealousy, including being envious of siblings, is quite normal and that talking to someone about feelings helps.”

Ever So Ever So* - Kes Gray

CaptureAccording to reviews on this book, it will help children who are feeling ‘disgruntled’ about having a younger sibling.

In this story, “mum and dad think that every little squeek and snuffle baby Susan makes is “ever so ever so clever.” Baby Susan hiccups and mums says she is “ever so sweet.” Baby Susan blinks and dad says she is “ever so alert.” ”

This story explores the frustrations an older sibling could feel when a tiny little baby comes home and seems to be get all the attention. It also deals with regression of the older child – big sister Susan copies things the baby does ‘cutely’, but she gets into trouble for.

On the final pages, Susan has an injection from the nurse and cries inconsolably. She is only comforted when her older sister cuddles and kisses and rocks her until she falls asleep, to which her family remark that she is ever such a brave, grown up and good older sister.

Ever So Ever So is told from the older sister’s point of view. It provides a good opportunity to discus jealousy and anger and being left out. One reviewer mentions dad’s involvement with baby in this book, which is great too. This book seems suitable for older siblings ages about 3 – 7.

CaptureTold by a big sister, My Little Brother is about how she finds her little brother a bother and wishes him away. One night he disappears from his crib (into the laundry cupboard with the cat) and she realises that she wouldn’t want to be without him.


Readers of this story have said that it showed them the positives of having a younger brother far out weighed the negatives.

Capture“Someone new is at our house,” begins this loving, reassuring look at brotherhood. Told through the eyes of a new older brother, this simple story lays out all the good things about being an older sibling, and reminds new brothers that they are just as special as ever.

One of the comments on this book is that it shows a bottle feeding baby. Not a big deal to most, but just something to be aware of if you prefer pro-breastfeeding books.

This book is more aimed at brothers with baby siblings, but there’s a Big Sister* version too.

CaptureA nice brother to brother book, this story is a little different, with Little Brother Kenny adoring his older brother, even though Jack always falsely accuses him. Kenny’s first word is “Jack” which ‘brings an abrupt end to his brother’s reign’.

Readers call this an ‘endearing story’ that demonstrates the special relationship that can exist between two brothers.

Capture“Squashed in the middle, invisible in the middle, Martha thinks nobody really notices her … so she runs away to the bottom of the garden. Here she meets Frog who, by showing her round the garden, persuades her that the middle really is the very best place to be.”

Particularly good if your middle child is called Martha, but all middle children can relate to the subtle message as Martha sometimes longs to be the oldest, and sometimes the baby. Martha in the Middle is highly regarded by people with middle children.

Hold That Thought, Milton! – While not technically fitting into this category, I’d like to make special mention of Hold That Thought, Milton! It’s a book about a little boy desperate to tell someone he’s lost something special to him, but everyone is too busy getting ready for his big brother’s wedding, so they all tell him to ‘hold that thought’, until he eventually explodes green slime all over the wedding party. I worked out a code word with my little girl that when she was feeling unheard or unlistened to she could use that word to make me stop and pay attention. We also worked out a list of people she could go to if we weren’t approachable. It hurts my heart to think that this could happen, but life sometimes does.

Books about siblings*I haven’t read all these books about siblings, but the above is written from feedback from Amazon and Little Parachutes.

Why Wont My Toddler Share?

As parents we have this unique and rather amazing ability to forget things. From pregnancy, through birth and seemingly into childhood (and possibly further) we forget the bits that admittedly, don’t always add anything positive to the story. I’ve seen my parents do it, and while I was of the firm opinion that I would never forget a weight, a height, a date of a first word, first whatever, the truth is, you do. Then you have a second (or subsequent ) child, and somehow, amazingly, you forget.

So when Aviya recently started shouting Mine! for… almost everything…., I was suddenly concerned. When did my sweet little genteel baby become so possessive? What did I do wrong. Were we missing out on something fundamental to her development? Aren’t second children supposed to be better at sharing than their older siblings… oh, wait…. that’s right – Ameli did  go through something like this. In fact, Ameli was 23 months old when we met our current friendship group, and the first few months of our meetings, I thought they must think me a horrible mother because all my child does is grab, and shove and say MINE! 

Then, Ameli being six months older than most of the rest of her group, six months later I started noticing the rest of them had entered this phase and I felt such relief! My child wasn’t turning into a psychopathic monster after all! And then… then I forgot all about it. What is that about?

Anyway. Armed with the wisdom of two and a half years later, and faced with a 23-month old there are a few things I’ve learned along the way, and partly to remind myself and partly to help those of you who are facing this for the n-th time 1 here are a few things to remember about children and sharing and a few gentle ways to help them through this developmental phase:

1) Don’t Force It

Think of children in terms of your best friend. How would s/he feel if you took their Kindle/iPhone/iPad and made them share it with the guy/girl you met in the coffee shop this morning? Your child feels the same about that doll/car/stick/leaf.  It’s worse about things they have a real attachment to, but anything that is your child’s sudden favourite is really important to them.

Instead: Offer an alternative. If it’s something your child really doesn’t want to share, ask them if you can keep it safe until they are alone again. If you’re asking, accept that the answer may be no. Remember that you can’t teach ‘don’t snatch’ by snatching it away from them.

capture2) Don’t guilt them

If you don’t want to share, Johnny/Sue won’t want to play with you‘ sounds a whole lot like ‘If you won’t sleep with him, people will say you’re seriously lame and uncool‘ to me. Not the words, obviously, but the sentiment. I don’t want to teach my child that to be socially accepted she has to willing to do whatever is asked of her.  (By the way, there’s a difference between that, and saying ‘if you hit your friends, they won’t want to play with you’. That one is simply true, and logical and pretty much applies in adulthood too. Unless you’re in a boxing club.)

And the truth is, it’s often less about the children than our embarrassment about what people must think.

3) Adjust your expectation

Gosh – I’ve uttered those words to my husband so many times. She’s t-w-o. (not even). Don’t expect six year old behaviour from her. Understand that this is a phase and that it will pass. Your goal isn’t actually – shouldn’t be, anyway – to make her share everything. Your goal is to help her understand why we want to share some things with some people.

Cornell University 2 did a very interesting study on preschoolers and sharing, where children were divided into three groups – one group had to share stickers with a puppet, the next were given a choice between keeping stickers and throwing them away, and the third group had to choose between sharing with the puppet or keeping their sticker.

Interestingly, the children who were given the choice of sharing the sticker or keeping it for themselves, when presented with a new puppet and more stickers to share were the ones who shared the most. Read the full study on toddlers and sharing here. It’s really interesting reading.

In light of my recent amazing introduction to decent tools for positive parentinghere are the steps we take when Aviya either melts down because her big sister dared look in the direction of something that’s hers:

capture21) Empathise

“I can see you feel angry/hurt/upset/frightened”

2) Options

“Here are your options: we can put the toy away, or your sister can play with xyz for two minutes while you watch, or you can swap toys and play with each other’s special toys, or you can go play with your own toy somewhere else.” The problem with giving options is that you have to be able to follow through – “should we go home and you can play with your toy alone” given as an option, means you have to be willing to go home right away.  Don’t offer it if it’s not an option, and an immediate viability – “share or she won’t share her toy with you later” means nothing to a two year old with no real concept of the passage of time. 

3) Highlight the benefit of positive behaviour, without being punitive

There’s a definite difference between “look how sad your friend is because you wont share” and “you shared and your friend is really happy”. The one is guilty manipulation and the other is pointing out the consequence of a behaviour.

If they choose not to share, divert attention to the other child for a minute. “Aviya really doesn’t want to share her special toy at the moment. Why don’t we let her play with it for now and you can show me your special toy?” Chances are the introduction of something else that someone else wants might just provide the motivation for the first child to share their toy after all.

Does this take longer than just snatching the toy from your child and giving it to the other child – something I’ve sadly been guilty of! Of course it does. Are the long term effects worth it? Of course.

There’s nothing wrong with a child having a sense of ownership over their items, and I find especially with second child, so many of their things once belonged to an older sibling, that having things specifically ear marked as theirs is very valuable. And after all, if they care about something, they’ll care for it, and we really do want them to have that sense of ownership so that they will learn to care for their things too.

Remember that modelling is really important to children. They will do as they see us do. (And if you want to read them a story about sharing, Mine! is a great place to start.)

And most importantly, it is a phase. It will pass. What matters isn’t what is and isn’t shared, but how their relationship with the other person – especially in the case of a sibling – is affected going forward. 

For more information on Positive Parenting, visit the Essential Parenting Collection sale

  1. that about the sum total of what I remember about mathematics from school days – ‘nth’ term is a formula with ‘n’ in it which enables you to find any term of a sequence
  2.  Psychological Science October 2013vol. 24 no. 10 1971-1979

A Look At Each Item In The Mindful Nurturing eBundle

On Tuesday I told you about the Mindful Nurturing eBundle, and what was in it, but I thought I might go through the bundle and tell you more about each of the 22 items. Hopefully a description of what’s in it will show you how fabulous a resource it is!

Click on the Buy Now buttons throughout to buy the whole bundle for US$24.95/£16.49/AUS$25.90.

The total value of these, if you bought them all individually would be US$236/ £155.95/ AUS$245.05.

This whole bundle is for sale between 28 May and 10 June 2013

relaxation meditation

Relaxation Meditation

AUDIO – Amy Phoenix (Presence Parenting), value $50 USD/lifetime access

Relaxation Meditation helps you access inner awareness and resolve, cultivating the space for true, lasting transformation. Relax into parenting as you enhance your relationship with yourself, your child, and life at the same time.


Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting

Becky Eanes (Positive Parents), 30 pages, Value $4.99 USD

The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting is an introduction to the philosophy of Newbie Guide to Positive Parentingpositive parenting. It addresses what positive parenting is, and what it is not (permissive parenting). It discusses how to change your mindset from the traditional paradigm of control and fear to the positive parenting paradigm of connection and love. It gives you teaching tools and discusses the differences between consequences, punishments, and problem-solving. Finally, it goes over enforcing limits without punishments and 10 alternatives to punishments as well as 10 things that are more important than discipline.

This eBook will give you clarity on positive parenting and offer you tools and skills that will strengthen your relationship with your child while teaching values and instilling the self-discipline that will benefit your child for a lifetime. The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting provides several scenarios so you can see how positive parenting principles are applied in everyday situations.


play grow learn - cover imagePlay Grow Learn

(Childhood 101)55 pages, value $4 USD

Bursting with ideas for playing inside and outside, with activities for moving, talking, cooking, creating, thinking, singing, imagining and constructing, Play Grow Learn is a downloadable e-zine that provides both inspiration and information for parents and educators of children from birth to 5 years. Issue 3 includes over 100 playful activities including play suggestions for toddlers, an outdoor math hunt, ideas for exploring science in the kitchen, woodwork activities perfect for kids, an exclusive full colour set of printable puppets to get you singing with your kids PLUS art projects, book reviews, toy suggestions, playful parenting ideas, tips for making pack away time fun…and more!

Getting Back on Track! – Why We Explode and What We Can Do About It

natural phenomena

AUDIO – Genevieve Simperingham (Peaceful Parent Institute), value $7.58 USD

Listen to this audio to gain lots of insights into the tendency to meltdown, why it happens, how to see it coming and what to do instead of yelling or otherwise acting from a place of overwhelm and frustration. You’ll gain reassurance that it’s much more common than you thought, that it’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility. You’ll learn that there are psychological triggers going back to childhood at the core of your tendency to lose your cool. And most importantly you’ll gain lots of great tips and strategies from Genevieve and Patty that will make it so much easier to be the peaceful parent that you know that you really can be.

Stress Relief for Parents

AUDIO – Genevieve Simperingham  (Peaceful Parent Institute), value $4.05 USD

stress relief for parentsWhen you’re at your wits end and need to rest and recuperate, this CD is a fantastic resource ~ Grab yourself fifteen minutes or so, choose your track and let Genevieve’s calming voice and supportive words guide you back to your self … back to your centre … back to balance … back to you at your best … back to peaceful parenting!

The track “Bliss” takes the listener through a 15 minute deep body relaxation. Genevieve’s soft Irish lilt backed by the celtic harp offers a soothing balm to their feelings and played at night next to their bed will ease their transition into a deep and restful sleep. Other tracks offer guided exercises that guide and teach the listener to centre and return to a calm balanced state and a warm connection with their child.


Creative Play Workshop

EMAIL COURSE – Gina Kimmel & Katherine Lockett (Connecting Family and Seoul and Creative Playhouse), value $25 USD
creative play workshop

Mindset for Moms

mindset for moms - cover imageJaimie Martin (Mindset for Moms), value $4.99 USD

Mindset for Moms: From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 Days is a guide for better thinking and increased happiness in parenting and in life. Lessons about positivity that took Jamie years to learn, you can learn in days–30 days, to be exact. She’s consolidated the concepts in this e-book into short entries–perfect for busy moms to read and apply for immediate results.

Moods of Motherhood

Lucy Pearce (Dreaming Aloud), value $9.99 USD

1-cover of moods of motherhoodA compilation of her best-loved posts on motherhood from her popular blog, Dreaming Aloud, columns from JUNO magazine and many new pieces, never before published. According to one reader, “This book puts the mother, back in motherhood”. “It is no ordinary parenting book” but full of her trademark searing honesty and raw emotions. It will make you laugh, cry and feel deeply accepted – wherever on your mothering journey you may be.

Topics include: pregnancy and birth, happy days, anger and fierceness, sleep, playfulness, grief, love, patience, tenderness, homemaking… it is illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white photographs.


42 Rules for Divorcing with Children (Doing it With Dignity and Grace While Raising Happy, Healthy, Well-Adjusted Children)

Melinda Robertsvalue $10.29 USD
42 rules for divorcing with kids42 Rules for Divorcing With Children offers practical ways to manage a healthy divorce, build a better team in two houses, minimize stress and anxiety on all fronts, and construct relationships with open and consistent communication. In this book you will learn:

  1. What putting the children first really means.
  2. How to preserve marital assets for you and your children.
  3. How to set reasonable ground rules for the divorce and going forward.
  4. How to set a respectful communication example so that you can divorce with dignity.

Use this book as objective advice, refer to it often, share it with others, use it as a reality check, and realize that divorce is not linear and that damage is not permanent or irreparable. If you do this well, the other parent will always be in your life. Find a way to make that tolerable for everyone, because no matter where you go or what you do, your children are tethered to both of you in an incredibly delicate and important way. Learn to accommodate each other as a gift to your children while they grow. Share others’ success stories for simple, practical advice and insights. See how taking care of yourself will help you take care of your family and prevent divorce remorse and divided loyalties. Set good examples that will help them make their own relationship choices wisely by drawing on your positive experience. And for you, know that someday, somewhere, you will almost certainly find a partner with whom you can have a mutually respectful, loving, and responsible relationship.


nurturing creativityNurturing Creativity, Guide for Busy Parents

Renee Tougas (Tougas Café), value $3 USD

Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms is a book to help you growcreatively.Nurturing Creativity is about embracing the seasons of motherhood and appreciating where you are while helping you to make creativity a priority in your life.

It will encourage you to let go of perfection, to start small, and to find inspiration in everyday living. This little book will challenge you to make the most of the time you do have. Time you can spend creating beauty and meaning – with your head, heart, and hands.

the playful family - coverThe Playful Family

Shawn Ledington Fink (Awesomely Awake), value $4.99 USD

The Playful Family encourages and challenges busy parents to slow down and spend quality time together with their children, regardless of their age. With nearly 100 ways to connect, engage and play together this easy-to-read e-book is a must-have resource for any parent interested in becoming more playful and happy while raising children. Each chapter includes dozens of ideas as well as a challenge to motivate families to put their own ideas to work in real life.


Poetry of a Hobo Mama, The First Three Years

Lauren Wayne (Hobo Mama), value $9.37 USD

Poetry of a Hobo Mama -front-cover-kindlePoetry of a Hobo Mama is a collection of poems by Lauren Wayne, inspired by the initial three years of parenting her firstborn son, Mikko.

I sling my baby like a bindle on my back,
tramping along the tracks
countless feet have worn before.

Poetry of a Hobo Mama contains three years’ worth of parenting poetry, written from the time Lauren and her husband, Sam, were preparing for Mikko, through watching him grow to three years old. She has included poems that speak of their natural parenting journey — breastfeeding, the family bed, elimination communication, and natural birth among them.

The book is a combination of free verse and more traditional poetry forms, and the topics and tone run through all the variations the poet felt when writing them: the grief of miscarriage, the anticipation of trying to conceive, the upheaval of the newborn months, the joy of parenting, and the balance of motherhood and personal passion.


Parenting for Social Change

Teresa Graham Brett (Parenting for Social Change), value $8.97 USD

parenting for social change - coverParenting for Social Change: Transform Childhood, Transform the World(2011, Social Change Press) is a powerful parenting book that isn’t about children, but about the harmful cultural messages we, as parents, perpetuate in our relationships with children. It addresses the work we as parents must do to free ourselves, the children who share our lives, and our world from those harmful messages.

The author, Teresa Graham Brett, uses current social science research to debunk the myth that controlling children is necessary to ensure they grow up to be healthy and responsible adults. She demonstrates how changing our parent-child relationships plays a critical role in creating social change. More importantly, it gives parents strategies and tools for letting go of harmful control of children.

  • read a review of this book


encouraging words for kids - cover

Encouraging Words for Kids

Kelly Bartlett (Parenting From Scratch), value $2.99 USD

Encouraging Words for Kids gives parents over 150 examples of phrases to say that inspire a child’s confidence and self-motivation. Encouragement is about drawing forth a child’s own drive to work hard and do what’s right without being told; this book shows you how to get there. It is a guide that parents can turn to again and again whenever they need a dose of inspiration in creating positive communication with their kids.

  • read a review of this book


Raising a Creative Kid, Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing That Creative Spark

Raising a Creative Kid - cover imageJilian Riley (A Mom With A Lesson Plan), value $7.99

Raising a Creative Kid:  Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing that Creative Spark  is just what you need to transform your environment into a creativity growth center. With creative exercises following each of the  sections I have made moving into a creative lifestyle as easy as possible. Just like I do with everything else on, I use and recommend materials that are inexpensive or free.


Children and Food

Tara Wagner (The Organic Sister), 72min audio + 39 page workbook, value $25 USD currently only available as part of The Organic Sisterhood

children and food - cover

This mini-toolkit helps you recreate the whole family’s experience with food. No more fighting at dinnertime. No more forcing or bribing. No more worrying about your child’s ability to make good choices. You’ll have the tools necessary to begin to release control, lean into Trust, and make mealtime a joyful and fun experience. But it starts with your own relationship with food. It includes:

  • 72 min audio: Describes the most important principles in raising healthy children and how to begin practicing them (Value: $200)
  • 39 page workbook: Packed full of exercises to help you DIG IN and put new traditions and experiences into place (Value: $40)
  • Covers everything from: how your experience with food affects your children and how to change that, how to meet the varying needs and tastes of the whole family without feeling like a “short order cook”, as well as tips, ideas, strategies, recipes, and more from me and other mindful mamas.


Coming Of Age: How To Stop Worrying About ‘The Talk’, and Start talking with Your Girl! (audio)

DeAnna L’am, 41 min. audio, value $27 USDtalk to her

  • Remember “The Talk” you received from your Mom, or your school’s nurse?
  • Remember how awkward you felt listening?
  • Wonder how you can do a better job with your girl?

If you would you like to feel relaxed, confident, and at ease when speaking with your girl about becoming a woman – this is for you!
You will experience a sense of CALM and PEACE within yourself; An INNER EASE about the girl YOU once were; A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING of what your girl is feeling; SELF-TRUST going into any conversation with your girl; And a growing EASE in your relationship with her.
This down-loadable recording will deepen trust between you and your girl, and lay a foundation for lifelong openness between you!


The parenting primerThe Parenting Primer: A Guide to Positive Parenting in the First Six Years

Michelle Carchrae (The Parent Vortex), value $6.99 USD

The Parenting Primer is a guide to the main ideas and strategies used in gentle discipline. It will show you how attachment works to create harmony in families, empowering you to parent in a positive, creative way.

The Parenting Primer begins by looking at how love and limits influence our parenting, then explores other topics that affect our relationships with our children, such as information on brain development or personality, communication skills, lifestyle choices, creativity and self-discipline.



Mommy Overwhelm, A Holistic Approach to Parental Stress and Depression

Mommy overwhelm

Laura Schuerwegen (Authentic Parenting), 27 pages, value $2.99 USD, first-time opportunity, launch sale!

Mommy Overwhelm is a step-stone guide for parents who want to overcome daily overwhelm, stress and depression.

In this book, Laura draws from her own experience overcoming a longstanding depression to hand you the tools to heal. From strengthening foods and herbs to exercises and activities, this guide will kickstart your journey to happier, balanced parenting.


Unique Parenting Tool: Sleep Talking Set

Marcy Axnessvalue $13.95 USD

sleep talking

This set includes the Dr. Marcy Audio Coaching Session “Speaking to Your Child’s Subconscious” and companion eBooklet, A Unique 7-Step Parenting Tool: Sleep Talking.

Throughout my recent talks all over the world, what were SO many people interested in learning about? After hearing about the power of prenatal imprints, they wanted to know what parents could do when things didn’t go so smoothly in pregnancy, birth or around conception. I make it clear that repair & healing are ALWAYS possible at ANY age, and mentioned an somewhat out-of-the-box approach I’ve developed over my years of coaching parents — which includes talking to your child in his or her sleep.

They were so keen to learn, that I put together this primer in the power of the subconscious mind — and how to use it to create healing change. This 75-minute presentation includes a powerful guided imagery to use the power of imagination in making positive changes to parents’ own inner lives and childhood history. (It is an excerpt from / preview of the “Calm Authority for Parents” series.)


Mindful Mother CoverSpecial Bonus Freebie

The Mindful Mothering Challenge

Jennifer Saleem (Hybrid Rasta Mama)

This 57 page eBook takes mothers through 20 small steps designed to help them become more mindful mothers. Follow along with Jennifer’s journey as you begin your own. The Mindful Mothering Challenge will awaken your mothering, push you beyond your comfort zone, and deepen your connection with your children.

Just Added: API Live! Attachment Parenting International Teleseminar Series: “8 Principles of Attachment Parenting”

Teleseminar – (Attachment Parenting International), 2 hour teleseminar; value $38 USD

261656_4987606051246_1652354271_nAttachment Parenting isn’t new. In many ways, it is a return to the instinctual behaviors of our ancestors. In the last sixty years, the behaviors of attachment have been studied extensively by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. This body of knowledge offers strong support for areas that are key to the optimal development of children, summarized in API’s Eight Principles of Parenting. Enjoy the exchange among the world’s leading experts in AP discussing API’s 8 Principles of Parenting, listen to their responses to questions of our time, and hear their answers to questions from the audience.

Panel experts include:

  • Dr. William Sears
  • Martha Sears
  • Dr. James McKenna
  • Ina May Gaskin
  • Dr. Isabelle Fox
  • Mary Ann Cahill
  • Barbara Nicholson
  • Lysa Parker

“AP is learning to read the cues of your child and responding appropriately. Open your heart and mind to the individual needs of your child. Let your knowledge of your child be your guide.”

~Dr. Bill Sears

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Gardening – It’s Like Watching Water Boil, But More Exciting

I’m so glad I decided to plant the sunflower seeds the same day as the tomato plants, because for days and days nothing happened. We opened the growing thingy each day to find nothing, except one random weed that popped it’s head out. I was beginning to think the Heinz Grow Your Own tomato plants were a fail. I did find another bag of seeds though, so thought I’d try again.

20130505-222540.jpgThe sun flower seeds sprouted and one of the two of them shot right up. It’s pretty cool though. The other may or may not have had a fight with a pigeon. I’ve stuck it back in the ground, but I’m not sure it’s grown at all since then. At least it hasn’t died. That’s progress, right?

It’s been a bit of a rubbish week, weather wise, so I haven’t really been out in the garden much, and left my ‘failed’ tomatoes where they were, and I’m glad I did.  When I got back to them, there were four little plants smiling up at me. I’m not sure if Ameli was more excited, or me!

We’ve replanted the sunflower plants, and will be replanting the little tomatoes soon. In the meantime we’ve also planted some potatoes from the Grow Your Own potatoes scheme that was advertised earlier in the year – did you know there’s a potato council? It’s a little like the Ministry of Magic, eh? – but I took more than a month to open the box, by which time all the eyes had sprouted and now I’m not sure if they’re actually going to grow or not. We’ll see, I guess. I’m still really hopeful for something more than herbs from our garden this year!

Anyway, I have yet to plant the next bag of tomato seeds. They’re a different variety, so hopefully between the two we’ll have a good harvest, and once again I’m really hoping I didn’t leave it too late!


Getting Into Gardening

For the last two years, I have had the worst luck with  my garden. What pregnancy didn’t take out of me, sickness and a newborn did, and then, to top it off it rained so much last year that even my mint died. Do you have any idea how hard it is to kill mint? Well, it drowned. And got moldy.

Of course, this year, what with being in Australia and all, I came a bit late to the planting season, so I had to get a bit of help from the garden centre, but overall, it’s gone okay. This is the ‘before’ photo of the garden. To be honest it’s not all done yet, so there’s no after photo just yet, and the before photo was taken after mowing the lawn and hacking away the foliage, but oh well.



As well as planting an envelope of tomatoes from seed – thank you very much Heinz for sending us a gorgeous wheelbarrow and gardening equipment for Ameli, as well as a bag of seeds – we also planted some sun flowers as I figure they’ll grow quickly and maintain the girls’ interest.  Interestingly, both of them really enjoyed digging about in the ground.


And including their little friends in the process.

As I said, since we’re quite late in the season already, we got some help from the local garden centre and bought a few ready to plant out courgettes, marrows, shallots, kale and a few different herbs.


Well… I’ll let you know how it goes. It’s been fun, but I really do hope we get to eat from our garden this year!

P.S. If we happen to get tomatoes off this plant, Heinz have promised us a hamper of goodies, so here’s hoping we get a double bonus for our efforts! I think Heinz are still giving out grow your own tomato kits, so head over to their Facebook page for some to grow yourself.




Talking To Children About Death

Six months ago, my mother was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma and told that without treatment she would have four weeks to live. Our visas were taking longer than that to be granted – my mother lives in Australia, I live in England, and the Australian government had no sympathy or compassion and made it as hard as was legally possible for us to get the visas for reasons I’ll never understand. My mother decided to have chemotherapy so that we’d make it to her, to say goodbye, and we arrived in Australia the day before her second round of chemotherapy, a treatment that nearly killed her.

Between my mothers diagnosis and our leaving, I wasn’t very emotional about it.

That’s what I do. I go into ‘how can we solve this’ mode, and I need time to process what I’m feeling. People who know me well know that the things I’m talking about I’ve normally dealt with. It’s when I go quiet that I’m not really coping. When I don’t know what to say I haven’t processed it yet. Really, it’s when I go quiet on a topic that those closest to me know to start worrying about it.

So, between those two dates, I was given a copy of the Mother Magazine, which had the article A sacred transition: children and the death of a loved one by Starr Meneely, of Gentle Mothering. Her mother had recently succumbed to cancer, and she had flown half way across the world with her children to be by her side.

Her words wrenched at my heart, and my emotions broke. I sat in the corner of the room at our mother’s circle and sobbed. It was the release I needed, and it provided the gateway to being able to talk about it.

I guess, then, the first lesson I learned about talking to children about death – specifically a long, protracted, pending death, rather than an accidental or sudden passing, is having at least in part dealt with some of the emotions yourself.

If I had broken down that way in front of Ameli, I fear that she would have looked at death as something to fear, something painful. (Of course, it is these things, but it also isn’t, and I think the best thing under the circumstances is to introduce death as something not to be feared.)

Telling Ameli that Nana is dying was interesting in itself. How do you convey meaning in a word that has no context? Hot you can explain by providing low heat. Run you can explain by demonstrating. How do you explain ‘say goodbye, because we are going away for a while?’ And how do you explain going away for ever? How long is for ever?

These are vague concepts, mere words, to a child.

I told her Nana was going to die and we wouldn’t see her here on earth again. She said she didn’t want Nana to die. I said none of us want Nana to die, but we all die eventually, and it’s okay.

She tried to rationalise it in her mind.

“I have a good idea! Maybe we can go visit Nana when she’s died.”

“I’m afraid we can’t visit where Nana is going. We’ll miss her sometimes though, and that’s why Mama’s a little sad.”

“It’s okay. We can just look at photos of her. That will make us feel better.”

“That’s a very good idea, I think.”

“Can I have some juice now?”

While she hasn’t been able to experience the finality of it, and doesn’t have the apprehension of the longing, it’s impossible to explain.

In fact, I’m 30 years older than her, and I find myself trying to imagine what life without my mother will be like, and I can’t really imagine it. It’s the closest I’ve come to imagining what life with a child will be like, versus what life with a child is really like. It’s oddly the same process. Simliar to our five stages of grief, Ameli seems to have traversed the stages too, but without the sense of fear or loss. She’s faced:

  1. Denial – “no, she’s not dying” – I’m afraid she is, darling, even though we don’t want her to. 
  2. Anger – “I don’t want her to die!” – None of us do, but sometimes things happen, even if we don’t want them to. 
  3. Bargaining – “I know! We can just take her to the hospital. Then she’ll get better” – Not this time. This isn’t something the doctors can fix.
  4. Depression – “I don’t want Nana to die {with tears this time}”. I know darling. Neither do I. It’s okay to be sad. 
  5. Acceptance – “When Nana dies, we won’t be able to see her anymore, but that’s okay, because one day we will be with her again and till then, we can just watch our videos of her.” – That’s a good idea girlie. Do you want to watch one now?

Something that has been helpful has been allowing her to ask questions, make {crazy} suggestions, and at times be almost hurtful in her throwaway comments – I wont miss Nana. I don’t mind if Nana dies. I don’t want to see Nana.

Separating her child behavior from my loss has been essential in gently explaining death to her. You can’t fear loss if you’ve never felt loss, so expecting an adult level of saying the right thing at the right time from a child only sets you up for pain.

I remember when my dad’s grandmother died. I didn’t really know her, and I didn’t have a relationship with her. I was really upset that I had to cancel my 13th birthday party. I saw it only in light of it’s impact on me, but having never known the loss of a loved one, I didn’t understand.

I asked a group of friends one day how you deal with this type of death, and how you explain it to a child. Most of them agreed that the children tend to accept death as another part of life. It’s just something that happens, and while they may have vague fond memories of the person, and might even ask for them, for the most part, life goes on. (Assuming it’s not a direct care giver, I think!)

Of course, in our situation, despite the terminal diagnosis my mother is still going strong, making the concept even harder to explain, but when we arrived in Australia, and the chemotherapy was eeking the life out of her faster than the cancer was, it was simply a matter of reinforcing, explaining, reminding what was going on.

Now that she is on so-called alternative therapies and thriving, getting stronger and even thinking of returning to work, it all seems a bit confusing, but, with the true resilience of childhood, Ameli carries on.

How to talk to children about death:

  • Talk to them when you are calm and relatively controlled in your grief
  • Talk to them at a good time, when there aren’t distractions and they aren’t tired or hungry
  • Explain in age appropriate terms, and according to your beliefs. We believe in heaven, so we were able to explain that we will see her in heaven again one day, once we’ve died too. 
  • Allow for questions generally based on the stages of grief – this is a good measure of their understanding too
  • Don’t take hurtful or insensitive comments personally. 
  • Be led by your child. Don’t put your feelings and emotions on them, and don’t expect them to have an adult understanding or response to your grief.

How do you talk to children about difficult situations? Do you remember when you first lost someone? How was it dealt with and how do you think it could have been handled differently?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.


Children in (Volunteering) Service

I have plenty memories of volunteering in various places as a child. There was an animal shelter we’d go to every Saturday and help clean out the cages. There were kids we’d visit in hospitals. Later, in highschool, we used to visit elderly people in an old age home and sing to them, read to them, or just do odd jobs for them. We fundraised for our club or for trips by washing cars or baking and selling cakes. We went to a very rural school in South Africa (Venda, actually) and helped with the building of a new classroom, and painted buildings in our own school. We even worked with street children at one stage. As a school group, we were very active in community and volunteering projects, and at home, my parents encouraged the same.

There were a few places we went, during the course of my childhood, Delmas, Kwasisa Bantu, Petra – all mission stations, mission schools, and outreach programmes – where we were shared in the duties of the community.

My parents were active examples of how to volunteer, always there for other people, always helping people out, caring for others and the reality of other people’s lives. I’m incredibly grateful for these experiences. I truly believe that they’ve shaped who I’ve become, and it’s something I hope to pass on to my own children too because I believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from volunteering:

  • I believe that in volunteering a child learns skills they wouldn’t have necessarily have been exposed to – painting, bricklaying, cleaning, cataloguing library books, are just a few of the ones I was involved in.
  • In volunteering, children are shown that there is more to life than the life they know and that some people have a really hard time of it, have no families, have no food or are left alone and forgotten (like children or old people who have no visitors in hospital)
  • Children learn compassion by seeing other people in less than desirable circumstances – they notice the forgotten, the street children, the homeless. They learn to not be afraid of things they don’t understand.
  • There has been some research that has shown that children who are involved in volunteering have more of an interest in their community – which makes perfect sense, really – we all care more about the things we’re interested in.
  • It gives children a sense of value, and of worth, within the context of their community and environment, teaching them that every act of kindness matters.

“One kernel is felt in a hogshead; one drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps to give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act.” Hannah More

I would like to think that I am raising my children to be more concerned about the environment than celebrities, more focussed on what they can give than what they receive, and aware of the feelings and realities of life as faced by other people.

I hope that, when the time comes, and they can start reaching out, no matter how child-like the act may be, I hope that it will instill in them a sense of service, and of kindness and of giving back. I don’t believe it’s ever too early to start, and as JC Penney said, ““How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of giving unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.”



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • Acts of Service: The Great Neighborhood Clean Up — Sarah at Firmly Planted shares how her daughter’s irritation with litter led to eekly cleanups.
  • Running for Charity — Find out how Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her love of running and a great new app to help feed the hungry.
  • 50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a list of 50 family-friendly community service project ideas that are easy to incorporate to your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rhythmn.
  • Volunteering with a Child — Volunteer work does not need to be put on hold while we raise our children. Jenn of Monkey Butt Junction discusses some creative options for volunteering with a child at Natural Parents Network.
  • Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children.
  • Family Service Learning: Advent Calendar — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers her family’s approach to some holiday-related community service by sharing their community focused Advent Calendar. She includes so tips and suggestions for making your own in time for this year’s holidays.
  • How to make street crossing flags as a family service project — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a tutorial for an easy and relatively kid-friendly project that will engage young pedestrians.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle — Because of an experience Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had as a child, she’s excited to show her children how they can reach out to others and be a blessing.
  • Appalachian Bear Rescue — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how saving pennies, acorns and hickory nuts go a long way in helping rescue orphaned and injured black bears.
  • Volunteering to Burnout and Back — Jorje of Momma Jorje has volunteered to the point of burnout and back again… but how to involve little ones in giving back?
  • How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares service projects her family has done along with links to lots of resources for service projects you can do with your children.
  • Involving Young Children in Service — Leanna at All Done Monkey, the mother of a toddler, reflects on how to make service a joyful experience for young children.
  • A Letter to My Mama — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has dedicated her life to service, just like her own mama. Today Dionna is thanking her mother for so richly blessing her.
  • 5 Ways to Serve Others When You Have Small Children — It can be tough to volunteer with young children. Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares how her family looks for opportunities to serve in every day life.
  • When Giving It Away Is Too Hard for Mommy — Jade at Looking Through Jade Glass But Dimly lets her children choose the charity for the family but struggles when her children’s generosity extends to giving away treasured keepsakes.
  • Community Service Through Everyday Compassion — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children calls us to Community Service Through Everyday Compassion; sometimes it is the small things we can do everyday that make the greater impacts.
  • School Bags and Glad RagsAlt Family are trying to spread a little love this Christmas time by involving the kids in a bit of charity giving.
  • Children in (Volunteering) Service — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reminisces on her own experiences of volunteering as a child, reflects on what she thinks volunteering teaches children and how she hopes voluntary service will impact on her own children.


4 Lasting Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

It’s Earth Day today, and while many people might not even realise it, millions of others around the world will be participating in Earth Day activities. In past years we’ve done things like black outs, where everyone is encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour in the evening, or meet at a local park to pick up litter.  While those are all fantastic ideas, and well worth doing, when I think of my children and how I can involve them in Earth Day, I realise that to them, a way of life will be so much more meaningful than simply doing special things on one day.

Equate Earth Day to Valentine’s Day. It’s all fine and well spoiling your partner on 14 February, but the rest of the year treating him like he doesn’t matter, you don’t care about him and he is irrelevant to your way of life. There’s little real or lasting about a relationship that only has effort put into it on one day a year.  Earth Day is the same. While 1,000,000 people doing something special on one day of the year is not to be sniffed at, 10,000 people doing something special every day is already almost four times as effective.

So how can I teach my children to treat every day as Earth Day?Read more: 4 Lasting Ways To Celebrate Earth Day