The B4 Storybank gathers simple, easy and effective stories all B4 Community Champions and B4 Storytellers can use to share the importance of the early years, especially the first 1000 days.

Stories highlight B4’s 6 key messages of what every Tasmanian child, pregnancy to 4 years, needs for strong development and wellbeing now and for their future.

The Storybank can be used to spark an idea to create your own story, or used as an example if you don’t have a story that comes to mind. We want to keep adding to the Storybank and would value your stories if you’d like to share, send us an email at b4@education.tas.gov.au.

  • Warm and caring relationships help children feel safe and loved and build their confidence and resilience.

    Story 1


    Audience

    Parents and Carers – Mum feeling like she’s not doing enough.

    Beginning

    I was talking to a mum recently at a Child and Family Centre and admiring her gorgeous baby about 3 months old and it turned into such a useful conversation.

    Middle

    Other than being sleep deprived, the mum laughed that things were going OK. As soon as the baby heard her mums laugh, her eyes just locked on to her. I remember saying to the mum, “Wow look at that, you’re baby hasn’t stopped watching you. Just by smiling back at her you’re nailing this Mum gig, you’re setting her up for life!”

    Bridge

    The Mum looked a little confused…
    And you could see her light up when I explained that these back and forth interaction that we have with our children when they’re little, are the foundations of building loving and secure relationships, which is one of six key things children in those early years need.

    Says who

    There is lots of research about the importance of loving and secure relationships which has been done right here in Tasmania by an organisation called the B4 Coalition.

    What now

    If you’re keen to find other little things you can (and probably are) doing every day that show you are nailing it as a parent and can help to build loving and secure relationships there’s great little video you can have a look at, done by Telethon Kids Institute its only short called Bright Tomorrows – you’ll find it at their website or I can tag you in it on Facebook.

    Story 2


    Audience

    Businesses – Business owner talking about children’s bad behaviour in their workplace and not knowing how to support the parent

    Beginning

    I was casually chatting with a young Mum making a coffee at the local neighbourhood house.

    Middle

    I asked her what brought her in today and quick as a flash she said “It’s the only place where my three year old daughter feels comfortable, and the only place I feel comfortable too and like no one is going to have a go at me.”

    I was taken back and I’m sure she could see that on my face, so she continued. She told me that her daughter is neurodiverse which means her behaviour can be pretty full on and she now avoids going to the supermarket or playground because people stare and she’s had strangers tell her all sorts of unhelpful things, like she should be able to control her daughter in public.

    She said “At the neighbourhood house it’s different. They’ve taken the time to get to know us, understand us and we just feel safe here.”

    Bridge

    I just think there is so much in this story…

    End

    About how important it is for children and their families in the early years to have places where they feel safe and secure, so they can get the
    support they need.

    Says Who

    We know from some work done by the B4 coalition that having these types of relationships from pregnancy right through to four is super important for children, for their development and learning, effecting health and wellbeing now and into the future.

    What Now

    There is some great info online about the different things different businesses are doing to make their spaces more ‘safe’ for neurodiverse people – Wondering if you wanted me to send you a link, might be some simple things you could do in your workplace?

  • Healthy eating builds healthy bodies and brains. This starts children on the right track for a lifetime of good health. Healthy environments and positive experiences support lifelong wellbeing.

    The everyday places in which children learn and grow shape who they are and who they’ll become.

    Story 1


    Audience

    Parents and Carers – Parent with fussy eater

    Beginning

    When my friend Rebecca’s son was a toddler she really struggled to get him to eat good food, until she started looking at it a different way.

    Middle

    I remember her telling me that he only ate white bread for a whole week because he only wanted white food and she didn’t know what else to do!

    Rebecca was a young Mum, her son had extra needs and she found managing those alone could become so overwhelming that having another battle over the dinner table was just too much.

    She knew that he wasn’t getting enough food or the right food, but also just needed to do what she could to keep going. She started going to a local playgroup and Rebecca noticed that her son would eat better with other children around.

    Then when he started a few days a week at childcare, the educators would send home photos of her son eating food that he’d never even try at home! But the best part was they send home the recipe too so they could make it together at home.

    Having the photo was a huge motivation simply because it showed her that he could and would eat those things. She learned it wasn’t always about what she was giving him, but how it was going in!

    Bridge

    What’s really interesting about Rebecca’s story is that…

    End

    She just thought he’d grow out of it and didn’t realise that getting the right food in the early years has positive benefits straight away but also into the future.

    Says Who

    There’s some great research now that shows if we get good healthy food in those early years it has huge benefits for children’s health and wellbeing and learning and development at the time and into the future, but not everyone has the support they need at the moment, so we need to do some work to make sure all children thrive no matter where they live.

    What now

    There are some really good tips on the Raising Children website that can help you with the ‘how’ to get kids to eat, rather than just the ‘what’. Or there are three childcare services in your area that we could have a chat with.

    Story 2


    Audience

    Communities/Businesses – Event Organisers/ Event officers for councils

    Beginning

    Last weekend I went along to a community event specifically for pre-loved baby clothes

    Middle

    Last weekend I went along to a community event specifically for pre-loved baby clothes It was packed! Stall holders with tables overflowing with everything from home knitted cardigans and matching booties to secondhand bouncers and cots.

    As you can imagine there were pregnant women everywhere. I’d gone with my very-pregnant friend to get a few last minute things and after wandering around, we wanted to get something to eat.

    I suggested that I would go find something and she should sit down and have a rest, however our first problem is that we couldn’t find anywhere for her to sit. She ended up sitting on the ground and I wondered if she’d ever be able to get up!

    Off I went in search of some ‘pregnancy friendly’ food. While there were ample coffee vans with a multitude of sweet treats or pre-prepared ham salad sandwiches, trying to find anything that was both healthy AND fitted within the pregnancy guidelines was really tricky.

    Bridge

    As I was wandering around trying to find the best thing possible, I couldn’t help but think…

    End

    While we know pregnant women need healthy food and good environments to give their children the best start in life, often it’s literally not on offer!

    Says Who

    There’s been some great research done in Tasmania that shows the everyday places in which pregnant women and their children learn and grow shape who they are and who they’ll become.

    What now

    I’m wondering if we could work together to create a simple checklist that would be useful for all event organisers to ensure a good spread of healthy food is on offer for pregnant women and children?

  • Children are learning everywhere, every day. Children learn through play, right from their first weeks of life.

    Story 1


    Audience

    Services and Supports – Neighbourhood House worker

    Beginning

    I saw an awesome photo on Facebook of a toddler sheltering from the rain under a little wooden structure in the bush.

    Middle

    I clicked through and couldn’t believe that it was in our community! The council have built a new nature trail that’s got all sorts of things for kids, and it’s even good for a rainy day!

    I couldn’t help but think how useful it would be for a few of my friends who’ve got tiny backyards and tend to spend the rainy days inside watching telly.

    Bridge

    I thought you’d be interested….

    End

    Because you, more than anyone, knows that not all kids are getting the opportunities for play and discovery that are so crucial in those early years!

    Says Who

    There is some really great research done by the B4 Coalition that shows children are learning just by playing right from their first weeks of life!

    What now

    The council have made some great new brochures which you can download straight from their website – wonder if they might be good for your notice board?

    Story 2


    Audience

    Parents and Carers – Dad with a small backyard finding it hard to do interesting things with his young child.

    Beginning

    I was driving home after work, it was raining, the traffic was horrid, I was tired and had just pulled up at some lights.

    Middle

    I looked over to the footpath and there was a child maybe 18 months 2 years old, in yellow gumboots, red raincoat and rain hat holding on to mum’s hand having the best time of their life jumping in a big puddle.

    The Mum was obviously on her way home, she had 2 bags of groceries in her hand, and I thought she’s probably got a million things to do, she must be frustrated, but you could still see her smiling as she watch her little child having a ball in that puddle.

    Bridge

    As I watched them I couldn’t help but think…

    End

    Children really are learning everywhere every day, just by playing! I wonder if that Mum knew just how much benefit that moment was providing for her child’s learning, health and wellbeing now and into the future.

    Says Who

    I reckon it’s so cool that research has found that children learn heaps of stuff through playing and the more opportunities children have, the more learning they will do, even just by jumping in puddles!

    They learn things like creativity, problem-solving, communication, physical skills and the list goes on! But not all children in Tasmania have the same access and chances to play for all sorts of reasons.

    What now

    It can be hard to find those moments when we’re all so busy, but I recently found some really great ideas that make it easier to get a bit more play into the lives of kids, no matter where we live or where we are – inside, outside, in a puddle walking home! I’ll send you the details.

  • Children thrive in positive, supportive communities. Communities are important for children and families.

    Story 1


    Audience

    Services and Supports – Committee member of local support service

    Beginning

    I remember we were just finishing up at the local playgroup at the community town hall and I saw little Jack, who’s only three, run to get the empty toy boxes and wipes. I couldn’t help but keep watching him…

    Middle

    He began wiping down each of the toys, one by one and packing them up into the boxes where they belonged. His Mum Kelly had been tidying up other parts of the room, and then sat with him to finish packing up the toys.

    I wandered to help and Kelly said “You’d better not help too much, this is Jack’s favourite part. Since my turn came up to coordinate the group, he’s taken real ownership of the toys, the cleaning up and gets so much more involved with the groups than ever before.”

    Bridge

    It just reminded me

    End

    How important (and easy) it is for organisation to have systems that encourage everyone to get involved and feel included, in a really positive way.

    Says Who

    We’ve got an organization in Tasmania called the B4 Early Years Coalition which support children and families in the early years and they’ve found that having positive and inclusive communities is one of the key things children and families in those early years need.

    But we know that not all kids are getting the support they need which can impact their health and wellbeing now and into the future.

    What now

    Would you be willing to bring this up at your next committee meeting and chat about a roster system or something similar? I wonder if there is something simple you could do to make your members feel more included?

    Story 2


    Audience

    Businesses – Chamber of Commerce meeting

    Beginning

    It was late on a Saturday afternoon, I was home with the two kids and realised the next day was mother’s day and I hadn’t got a present for my Mum!

    Middle

    I rounded up the kids, clipped them in the car and did a mad dash into town. I knew there were a few gift shops close to each other in one street that had reasonable parking so I headed there and luckily found a park.

    I got the kids out, put the one year old in the pram and headed down to the first shop. As I went to go in, I noticed a sign on the window that said “No Prams”, which seemed fair enough because the shop was a pretty tight fit!

    I unclipped my one year old and parked the pram outside and walked in with both kids. But then, as you can imagine, both my kids started picking things up, so I was following after them telling them to put things down.

    Pretty soon I noticed the shop assistant following us and moving things back into place. I got so paranoid that we were about to get in trouble we left, and as we walked out my three year old “Why are we leaving so soon Mummy”, and I didn’t really know what to tell him so I just said “because it’s not really a shop for kids”.

    I put the one year old back in the pram and headed down the road to the other shop. As soon as we walked in the shop assistant gave us a big smile and said to my eldest son “Do you like trains?”

    She lead him over to a special kids area with all sorts of toys and trains to play with and then gave me a knowing smile making me feel welcome, relaxed and able to wander around the shop with the pram to find the perfect gift.

    Bridge

    The reason why I tell this story is

    End

    It doesn’t take much to create a space that is positive and inclusive for families and children, which is one of the most important things they need in the early years.

    Says Who

    The research done by the B4 coalition says that living in positive and inclusive communities is SO important for children in the early years that it can impact their ongoing health and wellbeing – this is something that businesses can support with a few simple things.

    What now

    But of course business can’t be expected to know all this stuff! Luckily there are some really great resources that can help you to set your business up as a really positive space for families and children – www.familyfriendlyworkplaces.com.au

  • Strong connections to family, friends and culture builds confidence and self-esteem. Knowing where and with whom you belong – your family, culture and community – is important for children.

    Story 1


    Audience

    Communities – Local Progress Group meeting

    Beginning

    For many years I worked in Central Australia with remote Aboriginal communities and there is something I saw, in an airfield, that I’ll never forget.

    Middle

    Living on a remote community, the weekly plane was an important link for the community for mail, supplies and community members coming home from hospital or other treatments.

    I was in community one particular day, it was early in the morning but you could already feel the heat of the day building. I was meeting my co-worker at the local shop to catch up and meet the new playgroup coordinator.

    The airfield is just behind the shop and I could see a heap of community members congregating at the gates to the airfield waiting for the plane.

    When my co-worker arrived I asked her why everyone was going to meet the plane? She explained they were waiting for the new baby to arrive. Mums almost always had to fly to Alice Springs to give birth which was really hard.

    My co-worker explained it was important that as soon as that new child arrived on community that it met all of its family and saw all of their faces and heard all of their voices so it knew it belonged.

    It was a celebration and a welcoming on a scale that I could see this child was never going to doubt their sense of belonging in their community.

    Bridge

    It was such a special moment where I really understood…

    End

    …it’s no wonder all children and families need to have a sense of belonging to thrive, whether that be with their family, their culture, their community. Belonging is critical to children’s health and wellbeing

    Says Who

    The B4 Coalition have done some research that having a sense of belonging is one of 6 critical things children need in the early years as it impact their development and learning and health and wellbeing, now and into the future.

    What now

    I’m wondering if we talk with the events committee about how we could create this sort of sense of belonging or welcoming at our community events?

  • Children and families thrive when they’re supported by a network of family, friends and services during the early years.

    Story 1


    Audience

    Services and Supports – NDIS officer

    Beginning

    Nick was at a community program at the local men’s shed as a support person for his client. The National Disability Insurance Scheme were presenting to the group.

    Middle

    One of Nick’s children had just been diagnosed with a disability. It was a pretty overwhelming time as you can imagine, his daughter was only 3 and there was so much to learn and try and understand about her diagnosis let alone find out what support was available.

    While he had been looking on-line, he wasn’t yet familiar enough with ‘the system’ to work out what his daughter was eligible for or where to start!

    Nick got more out of that 40 minute session and 5 minute chat afterward than he’d got from the hours he’d spent searching online. He even had a one-on-one appointment booked!

    Bridge

    It reminded me

    End

    Just how important it is for all parents and families to have access to the services and supports they need, in the way they need them.

    Says Who

    The B4 Coalition have done some specialized work on this which says that access to services and supports is one of the six key things kids need in the early years to support their learning and development and health and wellbeing – both now and into the future – but we know that not everyone is getting that support they need.

    What now

    I’m wondering if we could organise a meeting with your manager and the manager of our local neighbourhood house to see if we could set up some more group sessions, so that people can have the opportunity to ask questions?

    Story 2


    Audience

    Businesses – Managers

    Beginning

    My friend Jenna was telling me she arrived late to work, three time in a week, and was really worried when her manager called her in to have a chat.

    Middle

    Jenna had recently been through a marriage break up which meant she was now living in a different house and dropping the kids off to daycare, took much longer.

    Even though she was dropping them off as early as allowed, she still couldn’t get to work on time. Jenna explained that she knew it wasn’t ok and was looking into alternative options but hadn’t got there yet.

    Jenna’s manager wasn’t worried about what time she was getting in, but instead wanted to know what she could do to help Jenna make sure she and her kids were getting the support she needed as she knew she was dealing with some tough stuff.

    Bridge

    What I loved about that is

    End

    This business understood that having access the right the services and support can make a huge difference not just Jenna’s health and wellbeing but for the learning and development of her kids too, now and into the future!

    Says Who

    The B4 Collation have done a lot of work on this and knowing you’re not alone each day makes it easier to enjoy life’s good times and stay afloat when things get tough.

    What now

    This can be tricky to negotiate and set up in the workplace. Have you checked out the free template for flexible working arrangements on line? I can send you a link if you like? They’ve cover off on all the usual questions and concerns that most workplaces have, helping you navigate the risk.