You know the phrase ‘babies don’t come with an instruction manual’? Well, these days, it isn’t really true. During my pregnancy, I was actually given a book all about how to care for a baby. If you step into your local library or bookshop, you’ll find shelf after shelf of books on every aspect of parenting that you can think of. But what about the children themselves? Parenting might be a learning curve for us but EVERYTHING is a learning curve for them. There are endless new concepts for them to grasp and sometimes, they do get a bit overwhelmed.
Luckily, there are lots of books to help children through the tough spots, as well as for parents. I’ve personally found these to be brilliant ways of introducing new ideas or approaching a challenging situation from a child’s perspective.
First example, potty training. This was the trickiest stage I’ve faced with Pip and I’m sure its the same for many other parents. Every time we seemed to be getting somewhere, she’d have a day of accidents and it felt like all of the progress had simply disappeared. Until one day, clever husband brought home a book. It was Princess Polly’s Potty.
Its the story of a Princess who’s becoming a big girl and wants to stop wearing nappies and start wearing big girl pants. It worked astonishingly well. Suddenly Pip wanted to be a big girl too! Within weeks of our first read of this book, she was pretty much potty trained. Now whenever parents ask me for advice on this subject, I instantly recommend this book.
We have a large range of Peppa Pig books at home. They’re very good for introducing new ideas. For example, we read the book ‘Dentist Trip’ before Pip’s own first trip to the dentist. It really helped her understand what would happen at the dentists and that it might feel a bit scary but really its nothing to worry about. Our only problem was that Pip seemed a little disappointed to discover that her dentist was a person, rather than an elephant!
Our recent trip to the library also turned up a brilliant find to help with a little issue we were having a while ago. Pip has always been pretty good with eating almost all foods I give her. However, she did go through a little phase of refusing a lot of foods that she’d previously eaten up without any fuss. I knew that simply letting her pick whatever she wanted would lead to bad habits so I tried to persevere but dinner times were becoming a bit stressful. But then we read ‘I will not ever Never eat a tomato’, a Charlie & Lola book. It gave us the brilliant idea of making food sound much more fun and exciting than perhaps it was. Mashed potato was made of magical clouds and fruits & vegetables came from far away planets, the favourite foods of aliens from outer space! It also inspired me to be a bit more creative with food, like making sandwiches into different shapes or making a pizza into a big smiley face. Simple ideas really but it solved the problem – Pip started eating everything again!
If you look around, there are books for many tricky concepts. Although we’ve had no use for it, I know there are books to help children deal with the idea of new siblings arriving, which I imagine must be a difficult thing to accept.
What books have you & your children read to help you through tough parenting times?