Monday, May 12, 2008

"Parenting Your Toddler"

I came across this book while browsing through the parenting book aisle at the library and checked it out along with a few other books that looked interesting. And after Noah's recent 2-year-old antics I've been grasping at any kind of advice I can get... but this book has been life-changing!

It's written by Patricia Henderson Shimm, an associate director of the Barnard Toddler Center who has observed most likely thousands of 1-3 year-olds and has some amazing advice for their parents. I loved this book because it gives practical, concise, non-extreme advice on every aspect of your toddler's development without being completely overwhelming. You can come away from every chapter with some great new phrases to use and tips for dealing with a variety of different situations that will most likely come up in your toddler's near future.

The biggest eye-opener for me was how separation is the root of almost every issue a toddler faces from potty training, to sleep issues, to even those insistent "No's! that I hear so frequently these days! And once you recognize that and even how that has affected your own up-bringing you'll be more equipped to handle a tantrum or the defiance that you'll most likely be faced with! (one of my favorite lines was, "Did you basically feel miserable when you had to separate from your own parents for school, camp, or sleep-over dates? HA! HA! Mom -- you can get back up on your chair now!)

I was also really surprised to read about how much what seem like little changes in their daily routine affect them (i.e. daddy not being around for nightly story time, having a rough day at the playground, or even mommy talking on the phone too much during what should be some one-on-one time.) And even how much dramatic play can teach them after a stressful situation has taken place (it looks like Mickey and Diego will be getting into some real doosies soon!).

It's also helped me to be WAY more upbeat and optimistic with Noah as he works through a new struggle, because I have a better understanding of WHY it's happening. And now I know what to do in a situation like I encountered last Sunday evening as Noah gathered up his shoes and socks (after we had already been outside for an hour and a half!) and started screaming and crying at the top of his lungs while banging on the door saying, "shoes, socks, go outside!" OVER and OVER again for 20 minutes. I learned that it's best to move anything harmful from around him, sit patiently by him and let the the tantrum run it's course (don't reward, don't punish, don't have a tantrum yourself -- oops, oops, and oops!). I was slightly disappointed that the "Temper Tantrum" chapter was only 7 pages long, however.

Finally, I really just felt like my kid is just going through some completely normal phases and now I have some practical ways to deal with them!

here are a few of my favorite lines:

1. "I see you want to make Laura cry. I can't let you hurt anyone and nobody will hurt you. It's okay to be angry because Mommy and Daddy are leaving."

2. "I wish I could let you throw all the sand out of the sandbox. But how about pouring it in this bucket?"

3. Don't ask questions that can be answered with a "No!" (seems simple, but I find myself doing it ALL the time!) Say, "Let's clean up! rather than "Do you want to clean up?"

4. "I see you want it all. I wish you could have every toy in this room!"

5. And my favorite: "I have great faith in your ablility to go to sleep." (HA! HA!)

To all you mom's of toddlers or soon-to-be-toddlers... this is a guilt-free/easy-read/one-stop toddler development book that you must read!


Ellen said...

"I have great faith in your ability to go to sleep"? If you say this works, I'll believe you.

miggy said...

Was there more than 1 copy at the library?

Jessica said...

Ellen -- I just thought that line was funny... more as a pep talk for yourself than anything else!

Migs -- not sure if there was more than one. I'm almost done with mine... I might make Jon read it before I return it, though :)

Amy said...

It seems like this is the answer to my prayers! Thanks for the recommendation!

tawni said...

I am all over this...

Thanks for the post! I am DYING over here...