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Monday, July 2, 2012

ParentSmart/KidHappy Book Series Review

New Study Shows Children's Books Can Effectively Teach Parenting Skills

A study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics shows that children’s books may be an effective tool in educating parents on how to foster appropriate behavior in children. In "A Pilot Study Using Children's Books to Understand Caregiver Perceptions of Parenting Practices," researchers report that the ParentSmart/KidHappy series by Stacey Kaye (2008 and 2009, Free Spirit Publishing) was used to evaluate if children’s books can help pediatricians deliver parenting support and advice. The results show that parents who read one of the three picture books, which use specific language and illustrate positive parenting strategies, were more likely to report changes in interactions with their children one month after.

Every parent of a young child has experienced moments of exasperation in trying to get a child to sleep or ready for school in the morning. Where can parents turn for advice? While well-child visits are an ideal time for pediatricians to discuss parenting practices and offer support, time constraints and the complex nature of children’s behavior issues make it difficult for them to do so effectively. Dr. Nerissa Bauer, a behavioral pediatrician, assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, and the lead author of the study, wanted to test a possible way to overcome these challenges. In the study, one of the three ParentSmart/KidHappy books (Ready for the Day!, Ready to Play!, or Ready for Bed!) was read aloud to the parent and child by a research assistant while waiting for the pediatrician, then given to parents to take home. Parents were called one month later to find out if they used the books and if they perceived any changes in interactions with their child.

The research team chose the ParentSmart/KidHappy series for the study because the books illustrate everyday scenarios that can challenge parents and young children: getting ready in the morning, sharing toys, and going to bed at night. Along with simple dialogue and full-color illustrations, the books include color-coded text to cue parents about positive language to use with their children.

The pilot study concluded that distributing children’s books with parenting content is a practical and innovative way for pediatricians to positively influence how parents deal with common behavior challenges and warrants further study. The ParentSmart/KidHappy series has since been used in a second study, which builds on these findings. The results are forthcoming.

Book Description:

Ready for the Day! A Tale of Teamwork and Toast, and Hardly Any Foot-Dragging

Getting a preschooler out the door in the morning can be a frustrating battle of wills complete with crying and complaining—by parents and kids alike. Ready for the Day! offers healthy, lasting solutions.

Ready to Play! A Tale of Toys and Friends, and Barely Any Bickering

Trouble sharing. Haggles over what to play. Jealousy, hurt feelings and of course tears when playtime ends. For kids just learning to get along, playtime can be riddled with conflict. Ready to Play! offers healthy, lasting ways to help kids cooperate, develop social skills, and have fun.

Ready for Bed! A Tale of Cleaning Up, Tucking In, and Hardly Any Complaining

“I don’t want to go to bed!” If you’re a parent of a preschool-age child, you've probably heard this before. And you probably know about the crying fits and complaining (by both of you) that can follow. Ready for Bed! offers healthy, lasting solutions.

My Review:

These three books are one the solutions to help little Brandon understand about behaviour. When I read aloud to him the stories, I substitute the character's names with his name. It helps him feel more engaged in the stories.

The ParentSmart/KidHappy series teaches 4 positive parenting techniques:
- how to validate a child's feelings
- how to offer choices
- how to promote problem-solving skills
- how to encourage alternative behavior


The author’s website has coloring pages from the books. You can download them at

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from Free Spirit Publishing at no charge in exchange for a review of my opinion. The opinions expressed are my own personal and honest thoughts. No other compensation was given.

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Robert Kinney said...

My kid would definitely love these books. If they have it on the internet now, I'd probably get it and I don't have to worry since I have parental control software for kids just in case.

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