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Inside: A book review of the Happy Kid Handbook by Katie Hurley. It's a wonderful addition to any parent's bookshelf!
Have you ever read a book that you couldn’t put down? That you felt compelled to underline and highlighted and put sticky notes all over? This happened to me when I started reading The Happy Kid Handbook. I got it out of the library and as soon as I started, I knew I needed to get my own copy so I could underline and highlight to my heart’s desire.
Here are a few of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much and why I find it to be an extremely valuable resource.
A practical approach to raising children
I have two very different children. My daughter, the first born, is naturally extroverted and gets energy from being around people. She’s never met a stranger, and she enters new places with no fear at all. My son, on the other hand, is slow to warm up, needs time by himself daily, and watches other kids interact for a while before he enters the play in a new spot. What works for one doesn’t work for the other.
Even as infants, they were so different. My daughter loved the car, my son hated it. My daughter loved the swing, my son thought it was torture. By trial and error, I figured out what worked for each child. I love this quote from the book:
“As parents, we recognize that all children are not the same. So why on earth would we parent them in exactly the same manner?”
It’s so true! We need to adjust our parenting styles depending on our children. I’ve seen that with my two children in terms of what we focus on to help them learn to cope with stress. My daughter copes in very different ways than my son. As parents, we are busy and as we go about our day to day tasks, we can lose sight of our children’s individual needs. We need to remember to respect and work with our child’s personality.
The importance of talking about feelings
Sometimes, kids have difficulty identifying what they are feeling or have trouble learning what to do when they have those feelings. The Happy Kid Handbook has so many ideas for fun, useful activities for kids and families to do to encourage conversations about feelings.
I believe, as the author mentions, that play “plays a crucial role in social, emotional and cognitive growth”. Play is necessary for kids to learn to negotiate, take turns, compromise, work as a team and make decisions. Play is the way kids interact with the world, and lessons learned through play tend to make a more lasting impact.
Just as important is the fact that play is a natural way for kids to relieve stress. After a long taxing day at school, taking a break and playing can be a fantastic way for kids to transition into a more relaxed after school mode.
Learning coping skills makes a difference.
I absolutely love this quote from the book:
“When kids learn that they can choose adaptive coping strategies to confront intrusive thoughts and emotional triggers, they free up space to focus, interact in a positive manner, and resolve conflict independently.”
If you’re looking for playful ideas and inspiration for family time to build your child’s emotional intelligence and understanding, this book is a great place to begin.