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Book Review: 50 Things You Need to Know: Brilliantly Behaved Toddler by Lorraine Thomas


Ah, toddler tantrums. Gotta love a good ‘un, eh? Usually in the middle of Tesco as they try to take EVERY box of Matchmakers off the shelf – true story! Then there’s the food throwing, not to mention the desire to play with ANYTHING dangerous over and above their own toys. Oh and don’t get me started on the ‘I want to walk, put me down. No I don’t, pick me up’ hokey pokey!

Does this book help? Is it really 50 things you need to know? Do I now have a brilliantly behaved toddler who has no tantrums?

First up, the book is arranged really well. Chapters are short and punchy, making it easy to dip in and out of during nap times. It does cover a wide spectrum of toddler-hood so whether you have a newbie toddler or one whose getting into their toddler golden years will depend which parts of the book you find most useful. It covers topics including: food, TV, biting, toilet training, independence and social skills, as well as looking at how your parenting style affects your little ones. It also talks about taking time for yourself and what to do in the case of more babies, separation from your partner or a new blended family. It covers a lot of bases and, for that reason, doesn’t go massively in-depth with any of them. That said, it makes it a good way-pointer to discover the areas you need to brush up on. One for me, is taking time for myself which I am rubbish at (but in my defence whenever I try to I wind up being ill instead!).

Chapters all follow the same format, with some body copy on the subject area. A ‘top tips’ type box and a condensed idea at the end of the chapter. I personally loved the condensed idea at the end of the final chapter:

Be a pioneer parent who teaches a toddler not only how to behave, but how to live!-2.png

Whilst not ground-breaking this book is a comfort. If only to understand that everything your toddler is going through – and putting you through – is completely normal. The writing, as with most parenting books, is a little twee in places but it doesn’t talk, down, lecture or boss you around (a la Gina Ford).

The parts I found most useful were understanding why Elliott is doing what he’s doing. It’s so easy to think a toddler is being naughty for the sake of it. But now I understand how short is attention span is and how he is struggling with all these new emotions and doesn’t comprehend that he’s not the centre of the universe it makes those moments of madness a little easier to bear.

It’s also helped in terms of understanding how I communicate to Elliott. After reading this book I’ve been trying to make a clear distinction between Elliott and his behaviour. Elliott isn’t naughty, or unkind (or bat-shit crazy), but sometimes his behaviour is. Apparently it’s important to make this distinction which kind of makes sense. I was always branded as a shy child and that’s what I became. If you keep branding a child as ‘naughty’, well…

I also now try to praise him for specific things so he knows what he’s doing well, rather than using the generic ‘good boy’.

Will reading this book make me into the perfect parent and Elliott into an angel? No, it won’t and that’s partly what the book explains to embrace. Family life is chaos but enjoy it, because soon kids will grow and order will be restored and that will be blooming boring!

A good overview of toddlers and why they do what they do. Handy for a snapshot and pinpointing areas you need help on, but not in-depth enough to sort out all your tantrum woes. I have some other books to read which will hopefully help with that one and until then… there’s always Gin!

Buy 50 Things You Really Need to Know: Brilliantly Behaved Toddler by Lorraine Thomas from Amazon!

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