Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Parenting and Child Development Books

I have discovered that I enjoy reading parenting and child development books as we are walking down this  road of parenthood. Although I did my share of babysitting in high school and college, I have not spent a ton of time around kids - and let's face it...babysitting is about keeping the kids alive and entertained in the absence of their parents; I wasn't exactly focused on parenting and child development! So I'm not really familiar with what's 'normal' development-wise (except the major milestones, obviously). I do believe that parenting is an instinct, but I also think that parenting is a skill - and just like any skill it takes education and practice to get better at it. And little MC keeps, you know...growing and developing on me, so I have to keep reading and learning to keep up with her!

Here are some books I've read lately and enjoyed, checked out from my local library:

This book is divided into four sections - Exploration, Everyday Living, Making Connections, and Having Fun. Each section describes the child's development process throughout the second year of life and gives lots of great play ideas to facilitate the skills they are developing.

Through reading these books, it's neat to see what of MC's behavior is 'typical' for her age and what behavior is just her personal quirk. And I also find it fascinating to discover the 'why' behind a lot of her behavior. For example, the Lifting and Carrying chapter in the Exploration section talked about how children often hold things in their hands for security as they are learning to walk and as they get more adept at walking, they want to challenge themselves to carry larger and heavier items. Which explains why MC is always trying to tote around the most awkward object in the room!

I feel like I am okay at coming up with toys and activities that are age appropriate for MC, but this book provided me with lots of great additional ideas for her. For example, in the Filling and Emptying chapter the author suggested saving junk mail for the child to play with - to pull mail out of the envelopes and re-stuff it. Using that idea, I saved a small cardboard box and put an assortment of catalogs, junk mail, old magazines, etc in it. MC has been enthralled by sitting in the box and going through all of "her" mail. Such an easy idea, but one I probably wouldn't have thought of on my own!    

I read another of Dr. Karp's books when MC was a newborn and found his baby-soothing strategies to be both practical and effective, so I was looking forward to reading his toddler book. Once again, I have found his books to be full of practical advice for handling our little "charming Chimp-child" (Dr. Karp's description for the 12-18 month range). And although so far MC basically fits his textbook definition of an 'easy' temperament, I find myself practicing my "Toddler-ese" with her to help explain rules and transitions throughout our day in a 'language' that she can understand.

I also appreciate Dr. Karp's excellent, clear explanations in this book. He doesn't just say "Use a time out"; he actually explains the reasons why it works and then provides step-by-step instructions for how to effectively use the technique.  

{I liked this book well enough that I purchased a copy for myself.}

I met a mom through water aerobics who is a child psychologist for the county school system; she recommended this book to me. This book is old (copyright early 80s), and I thought it might be outdated...but it turns out one year olds in 2013 develop the same as one year olds in the 80s, LOL! This was a great overall child development book. I liked how it discusses the development at different points throughout the year: 12-15m, 18m, and 21m - which gave me a good understanding of how much developmental change will happen throughout this year. 

This was another one recommended by my child psychologist friend, and it was another excellent read. I've mentioned before that MC is petite, and we get a lot of comments about her size. As a result, I find it difficult to not be defensive about what (and how much) she does or doesn't eat! This book has really helped me to relax about the whole eating situation and be able to focus on the fact that MC is healthy and thriving (and is actually a really great eater!).

One of the major tenets of this book is the division of responsibility with eating -- that the parents are responsible for what food is presented and the manner in which it is presented, and the child is responsible for how much or even whether they eat. The author talks a lot about not putting pressure on kids to eat or not eat. It reminds me of what I've always heard my mom say: you won't win a battle with a kid over food; it's not worth the fight.

This book is divided into three sections - Basic Principles of Eating, Eating as Your Child Grows, and Special Feeding Situations. Disclaimer: I didn't read the last section, since we aren't dealing with a special feeding situation, but I would still recommend this book based on the first two sections. 

{I liked this book well enough that I purchased a copy for myself.}

Next up on my reading list:

*Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years - Fay

*Becoming the Parent You Want to Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years - Davis

1 comment:

sil said...

thanks for the recommendations! i'm looking forward to reading these!! hope they can be downloaded onto an ipad