Parents often complain that their children should have come with an instruction manual. Never does this feel more necessary than when you leave the hospital with your newborn. Sure you know how to change a diaper, in theory, but how do you do it while sleep deprived and warming a bottle. Then you master that and your child starts moving around or standing up during diaper changes. Just when you think you are winning the game, the game changes.
In clinic, I love giving out parenting advice. Some of it is more in the realm of do what I say, not what I do, since I know some of these parents will run into me at Target bribing my children with toys. Often though I am asked for additional resources– books, websites, and classes– to help supplement their parenting knowledge. I often refer to healthychildren.org, which is an educational site by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Right now they have some great resources on talking to kids about tragic news. As it is run by a medical organization, the content is very health oriented. Another favorite is a book by my college mentor, Dr. Tovah Klein, called How Toddlers Thrive. As a psychologist and toddler expert, Tovah helps parents navigate what can sometimes be a battleground and instead puts parents and toddlers on the same team. Unfortunately though, Tovah’s book is geared toward the under five crowd. And as my children are under six, my parenting expertise gets a little fuzzy in the older years. That’s why I was excited to find the newly revamped Parent Toolkit website, produced by NBC News Education Nation. This site is more broad, in that it covers pre-K to 12th grade and a variety of topics.
The Parent Toolkit is written by a variety of experts, including psychologists, teachers, and physicians. You can find everything from current event news articles to immunization advice to college prep materials. The website is easy to navigate too because you can search by grade level or by topic. As the parent of a kindergartener, I looked at the resources for that grade level and loved how it was divided into academics, social and emotional, and health and wellness. The site feels comprehensive and yet not overwhelming.
As a pediatrician, I am always viewing resources through the lens of my patients’ families. I loved that the Parent Toolkit is available in Spanish! I also saw images of children of all races and abilities, as many dads as moms in pictures. This all made me feel better about referring my patients’ parents to this site, knowing that they would see inclusive images and language.
So while your child didn’t come with step-by-step instructions, there are many places to look for credible advice. Nothing replaces the advice of your pediatrician, friend, or mother, but when they all disagree, the Parent Toolkit may be a good tie-breaker.
[I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer. I am not affiliated with the Parent Toolkit or NBC News Education Nation.]