Just Tell Me What To Say by Betsy Brown Braun

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Stars: *****

I received this book for review from HarperCollins way back when but never got around to it. Now I wish I had!

Summary: What to say when your 2-6 year old doesn’t listen, throws tantrums, is a picky eater, misbehaves at the table, worries about bad things happening, fights with siblings, whines, talks back, swears, uses potty talk, burps, farts, picks his nose, needs to be told about illness, divorce or death, asks about sex and more.

The summary I put above is what it says on the FRONT of the book which is unusual. This book was released March 2008 and it was an ARC copy that I have.

This. Book. Was. Awesome. Those four words could be the review right there. I’ve read lots of parenting books and I’ve seen some specialize in toddlers, some in preschoolers and some in elementary kids but none for ages 2-6. The book made me understand what is so similar about those ages. Before 2 a child doesn’t understand much and explanations are not needed. After 6 they understand a LOT more so it’s often easier to explain things. In between your dealing with a child with limited understanding but who wants to know about everything. They are also very self-centric, worried about how things affect them.

The book is separated into chapters subtitled: Communicating With Your Children, Discipline Dos and Don’ts, Sibling Issues, Children’s Eating Habits and Behaviors, Dealing with Boogers, Burps, Farts – Manners and Social Graces, Day-to-Day Parenting Dilemmas, Learning about the Birds and the Bees, Talking about Serious Illness, Learning About Death, Talking with Your Children about Divorce, and Answering Questions about Natural Disasters, Terrorism and War.

Those last five chapters were the ones that I thought were the best. They’re the topics we are most afraid to talk about. Speaking of Sex and More Speaking of Sex by Meg Hickling are awesome books for talking to all kids about sex but Betsy Brown Braun does an awesome job of telling you exactly what to say to your 2-6 year old. That’s what this book is all about, giving you the actual words you can say to your children. I’ve not seen much about talking about serious illness, death or divorce with your children except probably in books made especially about those subjects. I’ve never seen a book about talking to your kids about Natural Disasters, Terrorism and War. In fact I was wondering to myself why you would need to talk about that at all. The scripts aren’t for those with family members involved in war and such though. It’s for the rest of us. Kids who perhaps accidentally saw a feature of it on the news.

Like I said, what also makes this book different is that it gives you specific scripts to say to your children. You may need to customize some of them of course but for the most part, they can be said as is.

Since this was an ARC, I can’t quote the book so here is a rundown on the chapter on manners and social graces…. first there is a little introductory information, then some tips and scripts for encouraging your child’s use of manners, then an info section on “Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, and Other Social Graces,” and tips and scripts for eliciting please from your child, info on thank you, tips and scripts in the event of noncompliance, info on burps and farts, interrupting, greetings and farewells and kisses and hugs. Then tips and scripts for kisses and hugs, info on I’m Sorry, tips and scripts for I’m sorry, info on telephone manners, tips and scripts for the telephone, info on dealing with rudeness in public, tips and scripts for dealing with embarrassing exclamations from your child in public, info on boogers and nose picking, and tips and scripts for dealing with nose picking.

I HIGHLY recommend this book for parents with kids ages 2-6.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.