"The Whole-Brain Child" is an Our Neighborhood favorite. We appreciate the authors deep and insightful break down of the current brain research. "The Whole-Brain Child" shares practical tools without straying from the heart of the research being shared. This book is geared for children who are a bit older. The early chapters are helpful for the toddler age but by age three children can likely manage most of the "Whole-Brain Strategies".
As you have work to diligently reflect and accept your children’s emotions, it can become common for your conversations to be filled with the roller coaster of big emotions children have. In these moments we sometimes forget to reflect on the moments of celebration when our needs our met and our values are clearly present. Those moments when you explain something to your toddler and they are able to regulate their big emotions, respond to your reason, and delay gratification are times for celebration. Reflecting back your values is as simple as saying, “Wow, we figured this out by working together.” or “You used strong words to tell me what you needed and I listened to you.” or “We negotiated and came up with a plan to meet both of our needs.” It is in those times of celebration that we are able to point out things that are going well. Non-judgmental celebration simply acknowledges an observation and connects that to our under-lying needs and values. We can share our positive feelings in this way, too. We might say, “We were both smiling a lot playing together this afternoon. I’m feeling relieved. I really needed to have some joy time together.” Sometimes as we move away from judgmental praise, we hold back on reflecting the positive. Reflecting your values is not praising. If you notice your children working together and you say, “Wow you guys carried that heavy box, you couldn’t have done that on your own. That’s what I call team-work!”, your child will adopt this language and say, “Mom, it’s teamwork.” When children are able to see themselves reflecting a value, they learn about good choices. This is very different than if you say, “Good job.” because the child who hears good job will likely ask ask, “Is this good?” Reflecting values without judgment gives children information through observations and values. In this way, children can take ownership for these values and learn to see them in their experiences.