BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bea Reviews How to Parent Your Anxious Toddler by Natasha Daniels

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 21, 2015
Challenges: NetGalley and Edelweiss ARCs
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit*Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Everything you need to know about how to parent an anxious toddler and provide them with the life skills and coping mechanisms to help them thrive as they develop. Bath time, bedtime, mealtime and playtime are all covered in detailed chapters which explain common misunderstandings. Specific fears, phobias and separation anxiety are also addressed.

Why does your toddler get upset when his or her routine is disrupted? Why do they follow you from room to room and refuse to play on their own? Why are daily routines such as mealtimes, bath time, and bed time such a struggle?

This accessible guide demystifies the difficult behaviors of anxious toddlers, offering tried-and-tested practical solutions to common parenting dilemmas. Each chapter begins with a real life example, clearly illustrating the behavior from the parent's and the toddler's perspective. Once the toddler's anxious behavior has been demystified and explained, new and effective parenting approaches are introduced to help parents tackle everyday difficulties and build up their child's resilience, independence, and coping mechanisms. Common difficulties with bath time, toileting, sleep, eating, transitions, social anxiety, separation anxiety, and sensory issues are solved, along with specific fears and phobias, and more extreme behaviors such as skin picking and hair pulling.

A must-read for all parents of anxious toddlers, as well as for the professionals involved in supporting them.

Bea's Thoughts:

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I have worked with several toddlers over the twenty plus years I've been teaching who were anxious and they were a challenge for me in the classroom. I hoped that the book, though aimed at parents, would also have practical ideas for the classroom, and help me better understand the anxious toddler. It was successful on both counts.

Each chapter focuses on a particular area of difficulty e.g. sensory issues, water phobia, etc. The chapters start with two vignettes: one from the parents POV and one from that of the toddler. The toddlers perspectives were eye-opening; some of it, I knew and expected but there were things I didn't.

The chapters were enlightening, containing information about why toddlers are anxious, the different ways they can be anxious, and how to help them. Additionally, Daniels explains what not to do and why. Again, much of that was expected, given my experience, but there were a few eye-openers. I did have a problems with Daniels's reliance on using a reward system; I would tweak that in the classroom, find other ways to encourage the child, individualize it for the child in question. Otherwise, the book was useful, full of information and practical suggestions.

I did take exception to one statement the author made:

The majority of toddlers cry for a brief period of time after they are left and are able to go on to have a fun productive day.

My immediate reaction to that statement was, "Oh f*** no. What crap daycares has she been visiting?" That behavior should only occur when starting a new program and should clear up after a few weeks, possibly a little longer. If the majority of toddlers continue to cry at drop-off longer than that, there's a problem with the teachers and/or the program. Other than that one grossly false statement, her information concerning daycare is pretty accurate. Communication with your child's caregiver is important; don't hesitate to talk with them, ask questions, and ask for help.

I recommend this book to parents and caregivers dealing with an anxious toddler.

4 comments:

  1. Good review. I used to work in Special Ed. kindergarten/1st for a couple of years before moving up a few grades. Some of the same issues present.

    I would, as a parent, always investigate if a child cried every time at drop-off: physical discipline? loud yelling? inappropriate touching? just a new staff member the child was not familiar with? Could be a small thing or not, but always trust your gut on this.

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    1. Yes, parents should ask and investigate. No parent or teacher should simply go, "Oh, that's okay. It's normal to always cry at drop-off time." There are many reasons why a child might cry then, you and Katherine touched on some of them. But it's never okay to just think that's normal and do nothing about it.

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  2. This does sound interesting and while the Tornado is no longer a toddler we are just starting to have some anxiety problems with him so this might be helpful. I agree that the crying at EVERY drop off seems unusual. Maybe if it's a new program or if there's some kind of upheaval but it's not a normal reaction for everyday. With my daughter she only cried at drop off if she wasn't feeling well. It was basically a sign that she'd be running a fever by the evening!

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    1. A lot of the information and suggestions would be applicable to preschoolers and young elementary age children. That's interesting about your daughter and good on you for paying attention and picking up on it.

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