I thoroughly enjoyed "Food For Thoughtful Parenting: 12 Must-Have Lists for New Parents and Young Families", written by Nina Coslov and Tara Keppler.
The book is a collection of handy lists for parents, interspersed with the authors' own experiences and anecdotes, and meets my number one criteria: PRACTICALITY.
List topics include "Thoughts For Newbies", "Toys That Aren't" and "Smoothing the Bumps" (not a reference to postpartum weight, this list actually gives tips for getting through some of the trickiest parenting moments).
My favorite section was "Tips For Talking", and my favorite such tip was to reference details when praising children. (In current education-speak, we call that "descriptive feedback". What does "good effort" mean? How can they actually do better next time?) Kids need fewer generalizations and more specifics, especially when it comes to our fast-flowing praise. If every piece of artwork, athletic activity, and musical performance is "the best", they either get a very warped self-image, or learn quickly that we're lying to them.
I had a few "you understand me!" moments while devouring this book. For example, the authors write that although new moms may be advised not to worry about cleaning the house, for some people a messy home can cause distress and anxiety...so "take the time to figure out what brings you peace and enjoyment in these changing times." Thank you! For me, sleep would not come when the house was a disaster, so the whole "sleep while the baby sleeps" mantra was nothing but annoying.
The book is available for $14.95 through the Food For Thoughtful Parenting website, or Amazon.com, and would make the perfect gift for a new or expectant mom. I've been on the job almost five years, and I gleaned a great deal of insight from it as well. (There's even a summary at the back, so you don't have to flip through the whole book to locate your favorite tip - especially handy when writing a blog review!)
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