Mae is throwing some tantrums, saying “No!”, and just being totally irrational–she’s a toddler. And as Jimmy and I always have done, we turn to books for guidance and insight. However, there is a lot of junk out there when it comes to parenting. The one book I’ve found really helpful as we navigate toddlerhood is Tracey Hogg’s Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers. Ignore the cheesy title. It really is full of practical, good advice.
I found this book because I also read the first one, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, which really did help us some with sleep.
Anyways, I thought I’d give you the highlights from her second book on toddlers and then maybe you’d share your finds, too.
One of the main pieces of advice she gives is based on the acronym HELP (don’t we all need that).
H: Hold back. This means don’t do everything FOR your toddler. Hold back and let them try first. See what they are interested in or see if they can navigate a situation. If they begin to show signs of frustration, then help them.
E: Encouragement. This is all about giving your child specific encouragement, not just “good job,” but also not overpraising. She also has a section for setting up encouraging environments in your home. Environments that encourage them to explore and that they can navigate on their own.
L: Limits. Limit choices, meaning give them two choices. Do you want apples or peaches? Giving them a choice helps, but giving them too many choices is just overwhelming. Also, limits means to limit over-stimulation, which sets them up for failure. If I keep Mae fed and well-rested, she’s a pretty decent kid. Unless. she is getting a molar. Then it doesn’t matter what I do!
P: Praise. Praise only for a job well done, so that your praise actually means something to your child. If you are always praising for everything, your child won’t hear it as praise. An example Hogg gives of good praise is “You are doing a good job with that spoon.” An example of not as helpful praise, in my opinion, is “You look so cute in that outfit.”
I also REALLY like her section on offering choices and I need to work on this. She gives examples of how to word and NOT word certain things:
Not Good: If you don’t eat, we’re not going to the pool.
Better: When you’re finished eating, we can go to the pool.
See that simple shift? It makes for a much more positive interaction.
I highly recommend this book. There’s much more to it that I can’t cover here. She has a great section on what “time-out” should really be about.
What parenting books do you find helpful?