Baby and toddler book review
As Little O grows and is moving into a new phase of toddlerdom, I’ve been reading a lot more books to try and find ways to deal with the new challenges that we are facing; not that Little O is a difficult toddler, just that he has inherited a bit of a stubborn streak from both Husband and I.
I’ve been reading a range of different books, both English and Swedish, covering very different styles of parenting. So I thought I’d do a quick run-through and say which I found good and which I thought was less useful.
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Trotsboken – Malin Alfvén & Kristina Hofsten. Malin Alfvén is a well-known child psychologist here in Sweden and has written a number of books, but I think that this is one of the best known. It focuses on the “trotsåldern” (obstinate ages) throughout childhood: 9 months, 2-3 years, 4 years, 6 years, 9 years, 12 years and, of course, the teenage years.
I focused on reading the chapters on 9 months and 2-3 years as these are the most relevant to me. I’m not really so sure about needing to worry about obstinacy for a 9-month old – they are still babies. But the section on 2-3 year olds was interesting. One thing that stood out was that she says that children learn and develop better when they discover that they cannot always get their way – very interesting as this is something that I find hard to get the right balance with. She also says that this age is all about picking your battles, deciding what is worth putting your foot down about and what to let slide. She suggests using deflection at this age to avoid too much strife but to be consistent in whatever you decide.
I really liked this book. I like how it is written and I like what Malin Alfvén has to say.
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Linda frågar Louise om Överlivnadstips för småbarnsmamman – Louise Hallin & Linda Nyberg. This book by psychotherapist Louise Hallin and journalist Linda Nyberg is aimed at “småbarnsmamma” – mothers to small children, but I wonder, just when you are expected to read this? I avoided books like this during pregnancy and before birth because I did not really want to read about that then; I wanted to experience it first and then consult books if I felt I needed to. I think if you read this while still pregnant it would terrify you! And after birth you don’t really have the time to read a book like this, which is done in the form of a “conversation” between the two of them, from start to finish to discover what they have to say. And if you read it when you have a little more time, say when your little one is at preschool, by then it is too late for most of the information in the book.
Perhaps if it had an index that related to the little bits of margin text, it might be more useful as you could dip in and out and find out the information that you want.
I also have to say that I objected to the term that she uses throughout for a mother: “stationary mothership”! She says that babies require a mother who sits still with them and concentrates on them. Yes, that I agree with wholeheartedly, for your first child. But this just isn’t an option for anyone with more than one. With a baby and a toddler, you just don’t have the same number of hours to dedicate to sitting still. It would be lovely if you did, but you just don’t.
Also, being really picky… I don’t like the cover of the book. It irritates me. Perhaps the irritation came after I began to dislike the book though.
(Interestingly, I just read in a magazine that Louise Hallin and Malin Alfvén now have a slot together on Swedish radio discussing children and parenting.)
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501 Tips som Underlättar Föräldraskapet – Katarina Markiewicz. This book of tips covers everything: sleep, feeding, preschool, tantrums, travel, parties. And the tips cover every type of parenting: babies sleeping in your bed, babies sleeping in their own rooms, babies in disposable nappies, babies in cloth nappies, babies being potty trained before one. Some of the tips are really good and the wide range means that you can pick and choose which you believe are interesting.
Definitely a book for first-time parents, as most of the tips are things that you have heard from others or discovered for yourself by the time you’ve had two or more children.
A bit of a theme developing here, but I don’t really like the cover of this book either, or the illustrations inside. I found them a bit silly really.
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Nya Barnliv – Katerina Janouch. This is a big bible of a book (more than 700 pages), starting with pregnancy and going through to the teenage years. I like her writing style: relaxed, slightly chatty, open without sounding too bossy. Katerina Janouch has five children and uses many examples from her own life to illustrate her points, which makes you feel like she knows what she is talking about and has been through it too. The index in book is good, which I believe is key with such a large book as this. I read long sections of the book and also dipped in and out of it.
Another great feature is that every few pages there is a box of useful or summarised information, such as 10 tips for sick children or 10 tips for parental leave.
I really liked this book and think that I might buy it now that I have had to take it back to the library.
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New Toddler Taming – Dr Christopher Green. I read this book first after it was recommended to me by a friend. The title suggests that it is the parents who need to reign in toddler behaviour but actually the book is about changing parents’ opinions to find a way for toddlers to grow and develop without picking up bad habits. Dr Green believes that toddler behaviour is no worse now than it was in the past, just that we are more aware of ways to deal with it now. He talks about discipline rather than punishment and pinpointing the five triggers that can set a toddler off before they have an impact.
I really enjoyed this book as it makes sense to me to try and work with a toddler rather than against them. He also compares a toddler to a busy international airport without any flight control. This really stuck in my mind and I come back to this phrase every time that Little O starts on a meltdown, and really try to help him through his tantrum.
I read this one as a Kindle book and it is useful to have it on there to refer to every so often. Again though, I did not like the silly little illustrations in the book, but it is easy to overlook them as there are only a couple in each chapter.
I have to say this one is highly recommended!
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So, three good and two bad, in my opinion.
What toddler books have you read and found helpful? And what ones should be avoided?