Book Review Time

We know everyone can struggle to find time to read books from cover to cover, so here is a summary for you (brought to you by Virginia!) of a great read for all parents.

 ‘Keeping Your Child in Mind’ by Claudia M, Gold, MD is the kind of book that addresses various issues of childhood, explains why the problem is occurring, then gives practical advice of what to do.  I have just read it for the second time to be able to better help parents whose children have behavioural problems.

OTs talk about ‘Attachment’, ‘Circle of Security’ and ‘Regulation of Emotions’.  This book is about all of these, but in layman’s terms.  It allows the reader to hear the same messages in a different and very accessible format.

This example is from the ‘Manging Sleep’ chapter.  “Managing sleep is one of the greatest challenges of being a parent…… it represents the first major separation for both parent and baby.”  Gold describes the process of ‘holding your child in mind’ (thinking about the situation from the child’s perspective) and offering secure attachment as an underlying precursor to enable separation, allowing night-time separation.  The key to this is for the parent to be well-regulated emotionally, to feel calm and put aside their own anxiety – very difficult if sleep deprived, as we all know!  Early secure attachment is very important for the child’s identity and future relationships.

The mother’s ‘emotional availability and attentiveness’ to her baby are what help a child feel settled and secure, to be able to cope when his/her mother is not there. Children who have what is called ‘insecure attachment’ will often show angry, aggressive, clingy or demanding behaviour. Gold believes ‘The way a parent thinks about letting a child learn to sleep independently is very closely linked to her own early sense of security.’  It is therefore important to explore, as a parent, your own feelings in relation to attachment. If you are not anxious and know your child has a secure attachment to you, it will not hurt the child to cry before going to sleep.  Babies benefit from a soft toy they can hold, or can suck a thumb to self-soothe.  The temporary distress of the baby is a stepping stone to the long term goal of being able to fall asleep independently.  The ideal time to teach a baby to fall asleep independently is between 5 and 9 months, and the transitional object should be introduced before that – put with the baby every night and during naps.

A fabulous little book addressing all the childhood hurdles in a practical, easy to digest way.

By Virginia Arnott