Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Last night, I attended the book launch party for Dr. Tovah P. Klein’s latest work How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success to be released on shelves February 18. Dr. Klein is the director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development (aka the Toddler Center) in New York City and a mother of three who has been studying, observing, and analyzing toddlers for over twenty years. Tovah (as I know her) also happens to have been my college advisor at Barnard and my professor when I enrolled in the Toddler Center seminar as a senior undergrad interested in child development.
How Toddlers Thrive is the culmination of Tovah’s research and experiences, divulging to the masses the coveted Toddler Center philosophy to raise successful, well-adjusted kids—a philosophy that actress and Toddler Center mom alumnus Sarah Jessica Parker treasures.
All three of Parker’s children graduated the Toddler Center program, which operates like a preschool on campus. As a student in the seminar, I spent one morning a week as a student-teacher in the 2-year-old class and one afternoon a week under Tovah’s tutelage about the toddler brain. By the end of a year, I have to say that I felt ahead of the curve (seeing as my child-bearing years were far off). In her forward to the book, Parker describes how working with Tovah and the Toddler Center allowed her to transition from an overwhelmed parent to a confident one, equipping her with “the tools to parent each of them that works in ways for them [the kids].”
Parker and I chatted about how eye-opening the Toddler Center was for her as a parent and myself as a student. “This idea that you praise effort, and when your child comes home with art from school you don’t say to them ‘What is that?’ but instead say ‘Oh, I see you used the color orange. Why did you choose that color?’” Parker said is empowering. She explained that in an exchange like this the parent lets go of adult interpretations and relieves the pressure that a toddler may feel to answer a question they weren’t prepared for. According to Tovah’s work, asking a question like “What is that?” to a child that didn’t intend it to be anything may cause him to be confused or concerned that he didn’t do it “right.” But asking questions about what he did do (use the color orange) allows him to feel pride.
How Toddlers Thrive illustrates numerous teachable moments like this one, from understanding the toddler mind in Part I to working through the day to day of toddlerhood in Part II. Reading it brought back memories of sitting in class: Tovah’s voice truly shines through as a comforting but firm guide to your child’s formative years.
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Pictured: Me with Dr. Tovah P. Klein, author-professor-mom, and Sherry Huang, Features Editor at parents.comAdd a Comment