Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of books related to child development and parenting. This is partly preparation for Our Baby coming home, and partly supplemental reading to assist me with my work.
I’m not really into writing book reviews. But I do like mentioning books I’ve enjoyed. So rather than summarizing them or giving them a rating, I’m going to list two or three of my favorite parts of each book:
(I’ve referenced this book previously; it shares principles with the Waldorf School philosophy, and it’s all about keeping things simple and helping kids to live a life that is not too cluttered or overwhelming.)
My Favorite Takeways: Sometimes, having fewer choices is simpler and less overwhelming. Having a rhythm to your days (e.g., on Mondays, we visit the park, on Tuesdays, we bake bread together) helps to keep our kids’ lives predictable and easy-flowing.
My Favorite Takeaways: Teaching kids to solve problems rather than just punishing them when they misbehave. AND teaching them to make amends! (Do I want our kids to think “I did wrong and I am punished” when they do something I don’t like? Or do I want them to think, “How can I make amends, and what can I do to keep from making this mistake again?”)
The Whole Brain Child (Daniel J. Siegel and Tine Payne Bryson)
This book talks a lot about brain science, particularly the different parts of the brain and how they work together. I can never remember even the simplest components of brain science; however, after reading this, I think I am finally internalizing that the the Left Brain focuses on logic, analysis, and reasoning. The Left Brain likes thing to be in order and under control, and it loves organization and lists; the Right Brain focuses on creativity and feeling, and uses lots of intuition and nonverbal communication.
My Favorite Takeaways: When a child is in Right Brain mode – focused on emotion and feeling – you have to connect to them, right-brain-to-right-brain, before you can effectively introduce Left Brain logic to them. When a child is throwing a tantrum because she feels you pay more attention to her little brother, it’s not effective to immediately counter this point with an argument about how much attention the child gets; it’s more effective to empathize, to connect nonverbally with the child (e.g., a comforting hug) before introducing Left Brain logic.