Book Review: The Social Toddler

Published by the Children’s Project


Following on from the social baby, this DVD partners The Social Toddler book but can just as easily be used on its own, writes Fiona Sandilands.

I would find it particularly useful to show to parents as part of a general talk about understanding and managing their child’s behaviour. It would also be helpful to show to those parents who are already having problems.

It succeeds in letting the adult imagine what it must be like to be a toddler with a limited vocabulary, no concept of fear and not yet understanding boundaries. It shows how the toddler learns through play and exploration, and how confusing and frustrating it can be when they are unable to articulate their needs. It also sensitively shows how they need their parents to calm them down and guide them in a respectful way through a tantrum. The focus is on the one-to three-year-old and looks at the changes that are taking place in the developing child.

Although the DVD insists it is not a “how to parent” programme, I feel parents would benefit from some of the suggestions it makes such as using distraction to divert the toddler’s attention during a tantrum, ignoring negative behaviour and praising the positive.

Some clear examples are given, and I like the case study showing the despairing mother trying to keep her toddler under control in a supermarket, then returning after the behavioural management programme has been implemented and seeing the transformation in their relationship.

There is no training for parents, and no book of rules, but understanding their child’s behaviour means parents can respond more appropriately to their toddlers. The Social Toddler will help parents achieve this.

Fiona Sandilands is a health visitor in Kent

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