Something I often wish I’d had when my eldest was a babe is another mom to offer gentle support. I had instincts about what was right and wrong, but I was so unsure because Ryleigh was my first child, and those years would have been made much less confusing had I known someone who felt the way I did about my relationship with my daughter, and who had shared with me the many benefits of intentional, connected parenting.
L. R. Knost’s ‘Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through The Ages & Stages’ reads as just that – a gentle nudge from a fellow momma who’s been there, done that; and who happens to also be a parenting author and child development researcher. A mother six times over, it quickly becomes clear that her point of view is based not only on biology and sound evidence – these practices have actually enriched her own family life and her latest book is a letter to other parents detailing how we too can strengthen our family’s connection as well, when applied with practicality.
As Linda (of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources) writes, “Infants, children, and adults alike all share this life-long need for connection. Over time that need will also be met through friendships, business engagements, social interactions, and the like; but family relationships are the steady and sure bedrock of secure connection and belonging that ground us and assure us that our needs will not go unmet even in the darkest of times.”
Two Thousand Kisses is full of guidance and information supporting a family’s need to connect throughout the various stages of child development and the changes those stages present for a family. I appreciate that Knost acknowledges, “…Gentle, attachment-style parenting is often misconstrued to be simply about breastfeeding, babywearing, and co-sleeping. …While those are possible choices for creating a secure parent/child connection in the early years, they are just a small sampling of the relationship-building and maintaining choices that parents can make throughout their children’s lives.”
This book goes beyond the first five years and Knost shares the wisdom she has gained through 25 years of child-rearing, helping us to appreciate that “gentle parenting is a journey, not a destination;” and the information in the book reads as a road map to help make our journey less unsure.
Peppered with relatable moments from her family’s life, the advice in the book is practical and the work feels doable. Linda never suggests we go against what many of us feel in our hearts we should do – respond to our children when they show us the need us to – and she takes into accounts the needs of parents as well. And, something I truly appreciated because of my opposition to childism in our society, she is an adult voice for toddlers and children, reminding us to open our minds and to try to view the world from their perspective.
From help dealing with less adventerous eaters (she’s included meal ideas for toddlers), to helping children cope with anxiety, to tackling our own guilt as parents, this book serves as a great foundation into the world of gentle parenting for those who have always know they would parent this way, or for those who have more recently discovered the idea.
One of my favorite chapters is Chapter 15: Bucket List for a Happy Childhood. Packed with two hundred simple ideas for showing our children we are truly invested, Knost inspires us to “be in our children’s memories tomorrow” by being in their lives today.
Two Thousand Kisses covers a child’s life from the womb to adulthood; helping to prepare us to nurture and respond to the whole child, the whole human being; and to find fulfillment and satisfaction in our family life through remaining deeply connected. Chapter 26, Too Late For Teens?, stresses that it is never to late to decide to parent positively, and the last chapter is a helpful ’12-step plan’ to breaking old habits and incorporating healthier routines into our lives for our family. It is broken down so that a new process can be worked on each month for twelve months, and reading it, I’d say it’s a wonderful start for anyone attempting to change their thinking about what children need.
‘A Gentle Beginning’ is the second chapter of Two Thousand Kisses; fitting because that’s what this book is. It’s an inviting introduction to the ideals of evidence-based parenting and I would feel comfortable recommending it to parents regardless of whether they have chosen attachment-style parenting or not.
This post is part of the Virtual Book Tour for the launch of L.R.Knost’s Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages. Click here if you’d like to check out all of the other stops on the tour!