Let’s move away from baby sleep books for a little while and take a look at discipline! I know, it’s a subject everybody dreads, but I am firmly in the camp of seeing discipline as a way of teaching a child how to be happy and productive while living in a society with other humans. Discipline is not punishment for behavior we decide we don’t like, but rather a way to set limits on behavior to keep a child safe and happy. When you view discipline as a way of teaching, it’s much easier to remember that you and your baby are a team, working together to learn about the world and how to function within it. Every parent has an off day, (and so does every baby!) but it’s easier to get back on track when you realize that you and your kids are in this together.
For parents of older babies and toddlers, I really do recommend 1, 2, 3… the Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents & Caregivers by Irene Van Der Zande and the Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center Staff. When I first read this, my son was definitely showing that he had his own ideas about the world, and we were encountering some of the upsets that come along when you discover that your toddler has different opinions about how to spend his time than you do. I wanted a book that had practical methods of discipline based in communication. I don’t want to coerce my kid into doing something through trickery, but rather to establish a relationship based in honesty and open communication. I understand that trickery is more or less necessary occasionally, but I’m not personally interested in approaching my everyday relationship with my child that way.
Anyway, the Santa Cruz Toddler Center is a daycare set up along the philosophy of Magda Gerber, who’s famous for RIE, which is a child-rearing approach designed around respecting childrens’ autonomy, individuality, and ability. You can read more about it on their website here. I personally find the philosophy part a little out there for me at times, but I think the practical result of the philosophy is just great. And 1, 2, 3… the Toddler Years is all practical stuff, with a lot of situational examples and scripts, which I kind of need when my son is screaming at me because I wouldn’t let him play with an electrical socket.
Another important reason that I recommend this for other parents is that it’s an extremely quick read. The book is relatively short, the text is clear and direct, and it’s well-organized. It’s perfect for parents who need some help with discipline, but don’t have time to read a book the size of a dictionary. It’s a great find!
Got a book you’d like me to review? Leave a comment with your suggestions or email me.