Food For Thoughtful Parenting

food-for-thoughtful-parenting.jpgToday, parent educator Hetti Wohlgemuth of Alphabet Soup 4 Parents shares a review of food for thoughtful parenting. Read on for Hetti's review, as well as to learn how to be one of three winners to receive a copy of food for thoughtful parenting:

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When Christine asked me whether I was interested in evaluating Nina Coslov and Tara Keppler's food for thoughtful parenting: 12 must-have lists for new parents & young families, I admit that I was skeptical at first. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about a book that uses 12 lists for parenting new babies and small children. But mama, was I ever wrong!

This is not just a book that provides thoughtful and legitimate lists for caring parents. This book also offers its advice in an accessible, comforting tone that totally gets that we all parent differently, and takes that vision into account when offering up ideas. There were three things that struck me in reading this book.

First, there is helpful, practical advice in every easy-to-read chapter. For example, in their chapter on "Tips for Talking," the authors suggest leaving the superlatives behind when praising your child: "Noticing specifics will be more meaningful than having everything they do labeled as wonderful." Case in point: our younger daughter now reports back to us that our use of superlatives gave her a (slightly) inflated view of herself that can work against her in the dog eat dog world of New York City. And in their chapter on "Feeding the Family," the authors suggest a wonderful dinner time ritual: At the dinner table, hold hands and say, "Yay, for our family." As a parent educator, I hear often how dinner time can be challenging for families with small children. If parents can create simple routines and rituals for children to look forward to and enjoy, getting to -- and staying at -- the dinner table may become more fun. Throughout the book, there is delight in the details as the authors weave in their personal parenting stories as illustration of various points.

Second, Coslov and Keppler's ideas serve as reminders and bring back fond memories. On page 30, the authors suggest that we share responsibilities with our children and Keppler relates how she couldn't believe how excited her children were to wash windows. That reminded me of the smile on my younger daughter's face the first time she placed a neatly folded pile of clean laundry just outside my bedroom door. She was thrilled to be included in doing chores and thrilled with her accomplishment. Sometimes we forget how much children want to belong to all aspects of family life and the charge they get from so doing.

And third, the book offers up plenty of good parenting techniques, and also offers some profound parenting philosophies by which to live. For example, again in their chapter on Teaching and Learning, the authors suggest we "share our thinking" about our own mishaps and mistakes. I certainly learned that it's far better to teach our children how we deal with our own imperfections than to claim that we are always right. My older daughter was a bit of a perfectionist and only relaxed when she saw that I made mistakes, too, and laughed and learned from them.

In short, I love this book, enjoyed reading it, and will use it in my parenting groups. And in the interest of full disclosure, Nina Coslov took part in a new moms group I facilitated at WarmLines in Newton. I had no idea she wrote this book until I received the book and a note from her. Congratulations to Nina and Tara for all that they've learned about parenting and all they impart in this book.

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Congrats to winners Deborah, Ashley, and Rachel!
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Now, want to be one of three winners to receive a copy of food for thoughtful parenting? Here's how:

  • Visit the food for thoughtful parenting website, then email (with 'Thoughtful Parenting' in the subject), and name one of Coslov & Keppler's 12 food for thoughtful parenting lists you'd love to read more about.

  • One entry permitted per person; US/Canada entrants welcome to enter.

  • Entry period closes at midnight EST, Thursday, June 3, 2010.

    *Three lucky winners (drawn using each will receive a copy of food for thoughtful parenting ($14.95 value).