Brushing teeth

Parenting book review:

The gist: this isn’t a book of rules to follow. It follows the premise that you’ll be the best parent you can be if you learn the stages of development for your child, and apply your own knowledge/morals/intuition–tailoring your parenting to who you and your child are.

I found the book while looking for information on Waldorf education.

From ages 0-7, we use our bodies (senses unfiltered) to experience the world. We also learn about our bodies (like learning to eat and walk).

As parents, we have to model appropriate behavior, since our actions mean more than our words (this rings true to me, as I am more successful if I gesture as I explain things to 80).

Some of the theories used in the book are a bit beyond what I’m willing to accept. For example, the explanation for why very young children are fascinated with simple objects has to do with the “unspoken ‘soul language’ by which simple items speak to the qualities in the spiritual world and the nature of the soul’s journey to earth”.

The book isn’t written in a way that makes me roll my eyes when I encounter passages like the above. I like what Dancy gives as actionable ways to think about parenting, so I’m happy to skip the deep explanation for something I’m willing to just believe exists because it does.

On discipline and negative behavior, be loving but firm. Punishing doesn’t work on a toddler, they don’t understand cause and effect well enough for next time.

Make your home a “yes” place, so you don’t have to say “no” all the time, but be firm and consistent about the nos.

Keeping things the same works well for toddlers, since they are attached to order.

Use statements “it’s time for bed.” rather than questions “do you want to brush your teeth?”

When they get all “No!” on you, you can physically move them, or remove them from the situation. Follow through on the action that sparked the problem, don’t give in. If you remove them, be firmly boring, so they want to calm down and get back to the action. This works better than ignoring, and can take a few minutes to kick in.

On tantrums, when they first happen, firmly remove the child from the situation, calmly tell them to stop screaming/kicking/etc, and after settling down (5-10 min), go back to the activity. If they flare up, remove them again. Perseverance early on can nip the tantrum thing in the bud. [I like the sound of that.] Keep calm and insist on good behavior.

Take discipline action in the moment, or the child will forget. Make it stick now, and the payoff will last.

On getting them to do things: do it with them, model it. Use imaginative play as you do.

On books and reading, in the second year, read only one book in a sitting. Too many “clutters the child’s soul” and sticking to one keeps the images and words from the book in the child’s mind. [I have trouble with this, but I understand the idea. I’ll take it under advisement.]

Draw your own book [zine!]. It doesn’t have to be great, that’s what imagination is for. [Channel The Little Prince, with an elephant who’s swallowed a boa constrictor.]

On toys: real-looking and simple toys lend themselves to imagination.

This gets us halfway through the book. The rest is for older (2 and up) children, that I’m not going to read yet.

It is good enough to revisit for more advice when 80 gets to 2. In the meantime, how what I’ve read applies to her will affect how willing I am to read more.

Brushing teeth,
originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

Abby came to visit,
and spent one glorious, shining day. 80 took to her right away, naturally. Between the two of them, the amount of effervescence and happy-go-luckiness is more than the state of Nevada.

Via Flickr:
80 was thrilled to find out Abby also brushes her teeth in the morning, and insisted on helping.

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