Monday, September 26, 2011

Books: Bright from the Start

A few weeks ago when Miya was going through a stage of resisting bedtime and many other requests, I went on to the public library website and requested several books on raising toddlers. I am a researcher by nature and often feel a compulsion to understand things I see around me. This applies to such things as politics, basic physics and raising my child.

During my pregnancy and in Miya’s first year, I had time to read and get informed about the various milestones she was going through and headed towards – and the impacts these have on her emotional state. I read several parenting books and generally felt pretty confident about how to handle various issues that came up.

Then, not too long ago, I realized that at some point my little girl had moved out of babyhood into toddler-hood and this was a whole new realm I knew very little about. I could see that she was more volatile at times, that her need to be independent and make her own choices was becoming more pronounced, but I wasn’t sure how best to help and guide her.

One of the books I found has been quite useful in helping me understand how Miya’s brain is developing. Bright from the Start, by Jill Stamm, is a layman’s overview of recent neuroscience findings on infant and toddler brain development. It’s a quick and very interesting read.

This book isn’t geared toward things like how to get your toddler to sit still through dinner, but it does provide a lot of practical tips and ideas for helping your child develop emotionally and cognitively. I found it very encouraging that many of the things she advocates – such as the importance of a strong emotional attachment between baby and caregiver – were things that we have already learned about and are practicing.

Stamm encourages parents to use ABCs with their kids – attention, bonding and communication. She uses science to show how importance these things are, and practical, easy suggestions for developing each of these at various stages from infancy to age 3. Lots of great ideas – I’m going to copy out some notes before returning the book to the library.

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