Managing family change

Time to complete Managing family change: 50 minutes

Year level: 2


Students discuss the changes that take place in families and identify realistic independent activities that they can do to help and cope with these changes.

Learning focus

Strategies for coping and managing changes in a family.

Key understandings

  • People's lives have different stages of growth and development.

  • Families change when a new member arrives or departs.


  • Book: Changes by Anthony Browne (or alternative text)
  • Emotions/feelings cards (optional)

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.

Relationships and sexuality

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Related items


Before you get started

  • Be mindful that discussing significant changes in the family's routine, structure or dynamic might bring up issues for students (e.g. separation or divorce; or death of a parent, grandparent or pet). This activity focuses on babies as a way of discussing change in a family, however some students may not have younger siblings so other topics relating to change may need to be used as the stimulus for discussion.

  • It is important for the teacher to consider and affirm a range of parenting styles, family contexts and cultural backgrounds students may describe, to ensure the traditional family structure is not held up as the 'norm', or the only or best way.

  • Teachers should know and understand the protective interrupting technique, and what, why, when and how it is needed and used, before facilitating this activity.

Learning activities

Whole Class

This activity uses the picture book Changes by Anthony Browne (or an alternative text) as the starting point to reinforce the changes that occur in families.

  1. Set the scene: Highlight to students that we were all babies once, but have grown and developed and can now do things that we couldn't do when we were younger. 

  2. Use a shared reading strategy to guide this activity. Provide students with a short period of time to preview the book Changes silently as a group.

  3. Ask students to share their predictions of the main ideas with a partner. Select a few students to share their predictions. Ask:

    • What do you think the story will be about? 

    • How do you know and why do you think this?

    • Can you think of any good changes that have happened in your family?

    • How have you felt when these changes have happened?

    • Can you think of any not so good changes that have happened in your family?

    • How have you felt when these changes have happened? 

  1. Read the story to the class. The following focus questions may be used as a prompt to assist students to think about the story:

    • What are some of the differences we notice between babies, toddlers, young people, teenagers or adults like our parents? (size, independence, thinking, what they can do, how they speak)

    • Where do we get this information about what babies can do and what children your age can do? (our own families; friend's families; watching families on TV, in ads, in magazines; at the movies)

    • Do we sometimes see children your age on TV or in ads or in movies doing physical things that you can't do? What things? (e.g. super powers) Can you believe these things you see in the media all the time?

  1. In the context of the story Changes, discuss the needs of a baby and how he/she can impact on other family members. If another text is chosen, discuss the family changes that occur during the story and how this impacts other family members.

  2. Babies' needs might include food (milk that sometimes comes from mothers' breastfeeding, sometimes from a bottle), play and someone looking out for them (they can't really be left alone unsupervised, etc).

  3. Incorporate ideas about how their own needs, as well as those of others, may also change, causing a shift in the dynamics of the family (e.g. the attention they once had from their parents may have shifted to the baby or person in need; they may be expected to be more independent and self-manage certain tasks). Ask:

    • How has this made them feel?

    • What physical things can babies do?

    • What physical things can toddlers do?

    • What physical things can you do now?

    • What games could you play with babies?

    • What games can you play now?

  1. Discuss how older children can modify their behaviour and habits around the home to support the family in adapting to the baby's arrival.

Independent or Small Group

Students explore and identify activities they are able to do independently to support family change.

  1. Have students work together in small groups or pairs to compile a list of tasks they have been able to do and manage themselves as they grow older and become more independent.

    • This could include self-management related tasks such as: packing their own school bag, putting their clean or dirty clothes away, preparing themselves for bed, brushing their teeth, organising their uniform or equipment for sports practice.

  1. Have students select a scribe to write down a word to describe, or draw a picture of, each task on strips of paper or post-it notes.

  2. Create a pin-up board, poster or use blu-tack to display the words somewhere in the classroom for students to share.


  1. Using suggestions from the students, develop a list of 'feeling' words and emotions that might describe changes that occur in a family. Accept all suggestions, recording words that have both positive and negative connotations (e.g. excited, happy, surprised, disappointed, sad or angry).

    • Students could use these as a stimulus to create their own class 'bank of emotions' photo montage or book. Each student could create a face to match a different emotion. Using these as visual reminders would be a great way for students to refer back to as needed in the future.

  1. An alternative option is to provide a set of the emotions/feelings cards and have students select a card each using the strategy think-pair-share to further explore how facial expressions show how people are feeling and to practise naming emotions.