How to Hold a Glue Stick: and other clues to parenting

Froukje M. Matthews

Publisher: Balboa Press Pages: 114 Price: (paperback) $11.99 ISBN: 9781982295561 Reviewed: May, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

In this practical guide to parenting, Froukje M. Matthews shares techniques for developing healthy social skills and personal confidence in young children.

After her career as a Montessori teacher, Matthews compiled her years of experience into this concise collection of strategies for new parents. She states, “Like a gardener who creates the right conditions for her plants to grow, parents can create the environment for their children to flourish.”

Covering topics like sharing, manners, discipline, the word “no” and more, Matthews presents each strategy with “real-life” scenarios showcasing proper and improper ways to correct the child. She follows up with a summary or “What happened here?” moment where she reviews and clarifies the concepts she’s teaching. For example, after a scenario of older boys scaring a younger boy with a joke about ripping off his leg, Matthews offers several insightful takeaways, including: “Making older children aware of their actions without the addition of guilt is far more effective and it will help them becoming mindful of others in the future.”

Matthews’ writing is never preachy. A mom herself, she extends warm compassion to parents, acknowledging that “children instinctively view their parents as ‘leaders of the pack,’” yet most new parents are ill-equipped for the job. She encourages parents to “practice self-regulation” and “understand that their child depends on them…to calm one’s own emotions.” In this way, her guide is not only for bettering the child but reforming the parent—a refreshing notion.

The model teachers throughout Matthews’ guide tend to be stoic, unruffled grandmas or calm, well-seasoned schoolteachers. More passionate personalities might find their quiet, unemotional responses to misbehaving children unrealistic. However, much can be gleaned by any caregiver from Matthews’ advice, especially her explanations of how toddlers minds interpret the world around them.

For any expecting or new parents, Matthews’ guide will be an insightful addition to their library of early child-rearing how-tos.

Also available as an ebook.

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