For the past year or so, I’ve felt I need more help. I’m completely uneducated in kid speak, kid behavor. Half the time I have no idea why my kids are crying. And even if I understand what made them cry, it still doesn’t make sense to my why they are crying.
I remember leaving the hospital with my first born in a sense of panic. Are they really going to just let me leave with this complete stranger? Who can’t talk?! Where is the instruction manual?
Those who now me know I’m a ferocious reader. Some parents would have taken parenting classes. Or hired nannies. I read. Ferociously.
Now I’m going to share with you my top five toddler books. I hope they help you like they helped me.
1. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Also, Between Parent and Child has very similar views and advice. The author of ‘How to Talk’ is a protege of ‘Between Parent and Child’. These books give you the vocabulary you need to express yourself. Like how to advise without criticism. Or how to teach values not punish misbehavior.
2. The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee. Again this teaches kind parenting. The best thing I took away from this book was the chapter which explained that your child’s worst trait is also their best. Example: Your obsessive child is detail-oriented.
3. Potty Training. Technically there is no book here. But I felt it needed a mention as it’s such an important and confusing part of being a toddler. I read two or three on potty training. All were pretty strict, or overkill. In the end what I learned is that your child will not learn before he is ready. If you think they are and you want to try, or need to get it done before school starts, I’ll save you the money. Here is all you need to know. a) Let them walk around naked for a while. Like two or three days. Summer in your backyard with a kiddie potty is ideal. b) Ask them often if they need to potty. c) patience, patience, patience.
4. NurtureShock. Rethinking everything you believed was normal and true. The first chapter, which explained that I was praising my kid the wrong way was a real eye opener.
5. 1-2-3 Magic. Amazing that they could write an entire book on such a simple concept. How many pages does it take to tell you to tell your kid to stop, then count to 3, then punish? For my kid, very effective. We still do time outs but it quelches a lot of them and more importantly I can give fair warning then punish before I get all red in the face and screamy.
Want more? I read other books that were helpful but didn’t make it to the top five for one reason or another. Mind in the Making was a great read. But high level. I kept falling asleep. Still I took some important lessons away from it, like the importance of putting yourself in another person’s shoes (perspective taking). Also Happiest Toddler on the Block. His ‘Toddler-ese’ was kind of annoying, but effective.
These books helped me get through the very difficult ‘terrible twos’, which started when my first born turned three and lasted about 1 and 1/2 years.
I won’t say I don’t yell anymore. I’m human. This is the hardest challenge I’ve ever had in my life. It’s a job with hours so long that if the department of labor regulated it, it would be illegal. Still it is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.