Calm-Down Time (Anglais) Cartonné – 1 mai 2010
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We've taken a cue from the books and differentiated nap time, bed time, and "calm down time". My son still naps in the morning, but has given up his afternoon sleep. However, he still gets tired and needs to rest in the afternoons. The "calm down time" book has helped demonstrate what it means, to have alone time and rest (without having it be punishment or "time out".
Somehow, my 2 year old takes the lessons less personally when we read about it in the books. We have the sharing, calm down time, hands are not for hitting and nap time. The books are simply stated so that a 2 year old can understand. They are vague enough that they apply to most children and situations. A bonus, the colors and patterns are vintage/nostalgic and fun to look at.
When I tell him it's calm down time, he gets very defensive and argumentative. So, my strategy has changed. Now, we sit down to read this book. The mommy in the book tells the boy calm down time. My son can see how the little boy in the book responds and sits or plays nicely. I can then leave him on the floor of his room to play solo for a bit. It may only last 5 minutes, but it's a positive start! I like the idea of teaching him to recognize when he needs to take a break and how to handle that. "1, 2, 3, taking care of me." (Mommies can learn from this lesson, too:)
It loses a star because I really can't figure out what they were doing in terms of rhyme scheme or rhythm. Your average toddler-targeted book has a rhyme scheme or at least a sing-songy rhythm. This book does too, but only in fits and starts. The opening two pages rhyme just fine. The third and fourth pages rhyme, but with a longer phrasing. I *think* the fifth/sixth pages are *supposed to* rhyme, but it's a stretch. Eventually you get down into the part about the child finding a calm down space and the rhyming/rhythm is completely haphazard - sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not. This may seem like a silly thing to yank a star over, but it makes reading aloud a bit stilted, jerky, and more complicated than it needs to be.
Regardless of my hang-ups over rhythm, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with a young child with temper management difficulties (heh - I guess that means everyone). It's accessible to them and makes sense to them, teaches them a real-life calming technique, and best of all, it actually does calm them down.
He started improving around 2 years old which is when we bought this book. Because we bought it after he started improving anyway, it is hard to judge its true efficacy. Having said that, we started to read him this book when he was melting down (or right after in cases when during was impossible) and I think it helped him understand that strong emotions are ok but that it is important to learn how to cope and calm yourself down.
Was it a magical cure? No. At 4, he still struggles with coping with disappointment and he is still more demanding and temperamental that most but his tantrums are not long anymore. We have all learned to handle them better and they have improved as he has gained increased verbal ability as the pediatrician said would happen.
I don't know if this would have helped him much younger than two because his tantrums were so severe and he was so difficult to reach. Maybe in calmer moments it could have but I don't believe it would have worked in the midst of one of his major tantrums.
My much more easy-going 2.5 year old daughter also likes this book. In many ways, it is probably best suited to more normal kids like her who can be reached and taught calm-down skills while in a tantrum.
If you child suffers from severe tantrums like mine did, this may provide a little relief and help him or her understand that emotions are normal and learn some techniques to calm down (that s/he will likely not use anyway during a meltdown) but it is not going to solve the problem. All you can do is hang in there, give that child love, and try to be as calm and understanding as possible. From my experience, removing the child from the situation helps most of all. Letting him get it out on his own in a safe place worked best (as hard as it is to do nothing when you want so badly to help but can't).
Anyway, if you are struggling with this, you will be happy to know that my son is quite normal now. He is extremely intelligent (probably part of his problem). He is doing great in school, is gregarious and has a great sense of humor. He is still controlling and inflexible but is miles ahead of where he was.
I don't think I can credit this book with these developments but it didn't hurt and maybe even helped him a little.
If you look closely, the characters and objects illustrated are not only hand drawn, they are also actual textures used to replace the clothings, toys, even the wallpapers in the book are from the actual thing! It's very cute and has that added touch!
With this book, I'm trying to teach Ben that yes, there are times we get sad, mad and angry and that we want to vent out the frustrations, but we can also take steps to calm ourselves down. And there are easy, positive and healthy choices we can take to calm down such as taking a deep breath, relaxing and taking a break in a quiet place, or even just a nice little hug!
In my opinion, the Toddler Tools series are a good choice for parents to use with their children because of the positive message they brings! No wonder this book is the "Gold Mom's Choice Award® Winner"!