Friday, May 16, 2008

Watch Me Grow: I'm Two

This is part of a series of books on kids, written by Maureen O'Brien with Sherill Tippins. I think they are just great. They're full of common sense and reassurances and just plain fun tips on what your kid is likely to be up to at this age. For example, I remember a passage about how your 24-month old is likely to narrate his every action: "Up, up, up," as he walks up the stairs, for example. Yep, we're there! And it is darn cute.

When discussing sleep and the average two-year-old, the authors say this about routines after suggesting some possible ways to help your child get to bed more smoothly:

"It is much more effective to observe the results of these experiments and change the routine in positive ways to suit your child than to adhere to the cookie-cutter bedtime rules laid out in many parenting articles and books (p. 181)."

This is parenting gold and exactly what I believe: YOU know what's best for your child, so try different things (but only things that you're comfortable trying) and figure out what works best for your individual situation...don't just follow someone else's advice (even if he or she is a so-called "expert").

The book also includes examples of how to handle specific situations that are likely to arise with your two-year-old. For example, "...Simple, concrete instructions and explanations ('Don't take that cookie away from Henry. It will make him sad.') work much better than confusing general comments ('Frank, remember to share!'), which he isn't yet equipped to comprehend (p. 168)."

Add the concrete advice to the philosophical reminders and you end up with a great parenting book, one that's fun to read as you see where your child will be headed, one that makes you feel good and happy about going there. I would definitely recommend this book.

Edited to add: Although I don't necessarily agree with all the "heap on praises" advice that comes at the very end of the book. I forgot about that part. For more on that subject, see Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. But that's a very small criticism for a generally very helpful book.

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