By Tracy G. Cassels
Well, this was my initial write-up:
If you have a child under five, if you watch children under five, if you have grandchildren under five, or if you just care about children under five…
GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS BOOK.
I’m not kidding. Do not wait to pass go, forget the $200, just go get it. I don’t care what kind of parenting you do, just get it. That’s all.
Then I was informed that apparently people don’t like reviews like that. People want to know why you’re telling them to get something 🙂 So here goes…
The main asset to this book is how applicable it is to everyone. Sarah Ockwell-Smith has managed to make ToddlerCalm incredibly clear without being rule-based. The suggestions are specific enough that parents have concrete ideas but vague enough that you still have to use the suggestions to work with your own child and the specific problems you may be having. We all know AP in general can be seen as “rules” by some, and what I love here is that I don’t think it’s even possible to do that here. You have to make it fit to your child, which involves parents in ways rule-based books don’t. So I suppose if you simply want someone else to tell you what to do, this book isn’t for you. Sarah respects that you, the parent, are the expert on your child, but that maybe you just need a few more tools in your toolbelt to help you out.
Sarah also manages to use her own experience in the right way. What do I mean? Often in books I read, people’s own experiences overtake the advice coming out. It comes across more as a “do it my way”. Sarah here manages to use her experiences and stories to help parents let their guard down. She shares her mistakes in ways that can completely disarm someone who might be getting their back up, because it can be incredibly hard to accept the ways we’ve been doing things may not be ideal or even good. ToddlerCalm helps you not feel like a bad parent or an idiot for having done things one way, which makes it immeasurably easier to change going forward.
In addition to “help”, the book provides lots of research-based information on normative behaviours for the big issues: Eating, tantrums, hitting, sleeping, sharing, etc. This information alone may help many a parent feel better about their child’s behaviour; realizing something is “normal” goes a long way in alleviating anxiety. However, if you feel you have a problem that isn’t one of the biggies, the method that Sarah sets out is applicable to all cases – as I said before, it’s vague enough and specific enough to help you work through your toddler difficulties.
Practically speaking, it reads incredibly easily and isn’t too long so you can make it through quickly enough (which is huge when you’ve got a problem that you feel you need imminent help with). The chapters are also well organized so once you’ve read it through once, you can store it and go to chapters as necessary.
I know some people will think they are already gentle parents who don’t need help, but there’s more to this. I think having more gentle tricks and tools in our toolbelt is essential to being prepared parents. Like everything, the more you know, the better you do, and this book provides more tools for all parents.
So, back to my original write-up: Go get your hands on this book!