Tortoise’s Bad Luck highlights the powerlessness that children may experience in school, with other peers, or in other environments.

This is an excellent story to approach ways of communicating what is ok and what is not ok, in terms of personal space and boundaries with oneself in relation to others and the outside world. Whilst reading this story as a parent you could ask your child how they think Tortoise felt at different points in the story. You could model empathy to the tortoise and how it impacted you to hear that he felt that he was being taken advantage of. What helped Tortoise to overcome his struggles? Which aspects felt wrong or right in the story?  

A discussion around how it is always beneficial to seek out help when feeling like they are being taken advantage of or aren’t feeling respected. What would that look like? Whom would they turn to?

Create a drawing together of an animal that helps your child to feel safe when they think of them which they can draw upon during tough times.


Tips for parents

Often when a child is having a tough time at nursery or school this can trigger our own experience of what it was like with peers at school.

Be mindful that your child’s experience will be different. Try to separate you’re your own painful experiences.
Staying empathic and curious are key to providing your child with the space they need to explore and be heard by you. 

Always seek out professionals if you feel that your child is being bullied or is unsafe



 Ruth Israel is an integrative child and adolescent psychotherapist and clinical supervisor. She has worked for many years in schools, charities and has taught child psychotherapists. She has used stories like these to help children to process trauma and develop a language for feelings. Ruth works in the UK and in Israel.