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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ready for the Day and Ready for Bed

Honestly what parent hasn't struggled at some point with morning or bedtime rituals? In our house we sometimes struggle with both. Hence I'm always on the lookout for kids books about going to bed. Maybe my kids will subconsciously get the message. I hadn't heard of a book about kids getting ready for the day, so I was intrigued when the Parent Bloggers Network looked for bloggers to review Ready for Bed A Tale of Cleaning Up, Tucking In, and Hardly Any Complaining and Ready for the Day A Tale of Teamwork and Toast, and Hardly Any Foot-Dragging both by Stacey R. Kaye. They are published by Free Spirit Publications which specializes in books that promote social and emotional well being.

I was expecting to read traditional story books for kids, with some sort of cutesy story about kids putting on pjs and getting all warm and cozy as they jump into bed at night and some sort of cutesy story about kids jumping out of bed and looking forward to a bright sunny day in the morning. These stories have far more depth. Not only do they provide a story line about the struggle between following ritual and doing what they are told, but they offer parenting examples about how to positively steer children through these transitions.

When my older son first decided to exert his own independence or in layman's terms, have temper tantrums, I was surprised how much easier it was to redirect him when I offered him two choices. Of course I got this advice from friends. Too many choices would overwhelm him, but two gave him (and me for that matter) a sense of control. This approach to parenting always seems easier said than done, which is why I enjoy seeing real world examples that remind me how I can personally follow this approach in real life. That's exactly what both of these books do. For example when Marco doesn't want to get ready for bed, his mother offers him a choice between swimming like a fish or flying like an airplane to get to bed. Similarly the dad offers Maya the choice of a shirt and shorts or a daisy dress when she doesn't want to get dressed.

In addition to providing me with new ways to present choices and new ideas for what choices I may offer, the books helped me focus on realistic parental responses that validate a child's feelings. There aren't any fairies or cuddly bunnies in these books. Instead, each book has a parent and a child interacting to go through a couple of daily rituals.

In the front of both books is a page that describes how words in the books are color coded to make it easy to identify phrases that validate feelings, offer choices or give encouragement. In addition, there are a few pages in the back of each book for the parents explaining how preschoolers process feelings and offering advice on supporting children through positive parenting. I liked that the characters in these books were African American, and I liked that they paired off a mother and son and a father and daughter.

The first time we offered to read these books, the kids did turn them down, and they protested when we put our feet down. They wanted to choose their typical books about bunnies and puppies. However, after listening to one story, both boys were excited to hear the second, and each one of them chose one of the books to take to bed. They were both a hit.
posted by Alex Elliot @ 11:16 PM   1 comments
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Name:Alex Elliot
Home:MA, United States
About Me:Professional Mom of two cats, a dog, an ant farm, and oh yeah...two boys: a 6 year old and a 3 year old. Also found in my house is my husband who is known on this blog as The Big Giraffe.
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