Hi, I am Julia Keys, the author and founder of Hug-a-Bug World. I am also a parent and counsellor with more than 20 years’ experience. In that time, the most familiar words I have heard are:
‘I don’t feel good enough.’
At the root of this phrase is a lack of self- belief that can negatively impact all kinds of relationship, with self and with others. It can often contribute to a person feeling vulnerable, and as a result, they can make poor life choices. Very often these negative self- beliefs have their origin in childhood, and so I am passionate about creating books and toys that have the capacity to help young children develop a strong sense of self-worth in their early years.
I have learned a lot about the ingredients that are needed to support individuals to thrive and build resilience to face life. The early years of a child’s life are key for building a strong belief in themselves. By creating a safe, secure, comfortable, and loving environment you will give your child the optimum conditions for their young brain to be receptive. Repeating positive affirmations, forming healthy attachments, and promoting positive self-belief are recognised ways of reinforcing positive thought processes.
Repetition is extremely important when it comes to information being retained by the brain. For this reason, the Hug-a-Bug books contain various fun ways in which repetition reinforces positive messages for your child to build a positive perception of themselves. The content will support their emotional learning, including how they can regulate emotions. The books and the characters within also depict the beauty of difference, encouraging your child to appreciate this in every person they meet.
Your interactions and guidance throughout the books will also help your child to build strong bonds with you that are important to help them thrive. I recommend reading the Hug-a-Bug books first to understand the content, before reading them to your child. Guide them to find the hidden heart on each page that is linked to a positive affirmation. Repeating the affirmation with every heart will reinforce the message of the book.
By using the affirmations and story lines given to you in the Hug-a-Bug series of books, you and your child can build their self-worth together. Every new stage of a child’s development can bring a new sense of responsibility and challenges for parents. It is also a new stage for the child too. Individual personality and unique needs will impact each stage of their growth. The books are here to support you to nurture that.
In our stories we create age-appropriate situations that cover stages of child development. Hug-a-Bug books provide opportunities for you to enhance your child’s mind and their emotional intelligence. The stories also encourage curiosity and acceptance of difference.
You can help your child to connect with the deeper meaning of the story by asking questions. We recommend pausing at crucial points to ask your child open questions that relate to them.
- What do you think about Simon Snail’s friends?
- How would you feel if you were different from your friend?
- How are you unique?
- How do you problem solve?
- How did it make you feel reading through the story?
The Hug-a-Bug books have a strong theme of encouraging acceptance of our uniqueness. Play a game as you explore the characters by asking your child to say something positive and unique about themselves. Start by sharing something positive and unique about you to help them along. This is another way to repeat and reinforce positive thought. It also brings attention to your child’s self-worth, and can support your own. This gentle experience can raise the mood if it has been a difficult day and have a profound and long-lasting impact.
Our stories are told through the eyes of the bugs we love because they are vital to our natural world. Without them we would be swamped in waste products. Teaching children to think about the care and importance of bugs helps them to build a sense of responsibility and respect for other life on earth. Seeing something that is in the real world recreated as a toy that they can learn to nurture helps to form real-life connections with nature. That is why we have chosen to add meaningful words on the hearts found in the pockets of all Hug-a-Bugs.
Each affirmation on the Hug-a-Bug’s heart acknowledges the special place that we all have on planet Earth. We are all special. We are all unique and we are all good enough!
Our books are also a reminder to parents that while you are doing the important job of raising children, self-care, support, and maintenance, of these areas are of the utmost importance for you as well. Every affirmation is just as relevant to you.
From the Co-author of the Hug-a-Bug World books Stacey Wren:
I am the mother of two young children, James (5) and Ava (2). I am passionate about the Hug-a- Bug family and I recognise the importance in promoting the self-esteem of young children, giving them the tools to deal confidently with the everyday challenges they may face. I have read hundreds of books to my children. Never have I encountered anything like the Hug-a-Bug series. The stories provide subconscious teaching, coupled with the emotional connection associated with the toy. All of which provide the child with the tools they need to grow a strong sense of self-worth and resilience. My children and their peers have shown a great deal of love and affection for these stories and the various characters. I feel sure your children will feel the same way