Title: Baby Hearts: A Guide to Giving Your Child an Emotional Head Start
Author: Susan Goodwyn and Linda Acredolo
Publication Year: 2005
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Review: I think of the series of three books (Baby Signs, Baby Minds, Baby Hearts), this one is my favorite. Like the other books in the series, it’s easy to read, filled with a lot of useful information, and references several interesting studies. However, like the other books in the series, it’s also at times a little dull and wordy in my opinion and so not a very fast read (for me). What I like about this one is that I think the information it presents is the most essential for a new parent to know about. The content of Baby Minds is interesting, but not crucial in my opinion. Baby signing is extremely useful. I just feel it’s better presented for the average parent in other books.
What this book focuses on is how important for the child that the parent develops a healthy attachment with their child. I’ve definitely read this information several times in other books, my favorite being The Vital Touch, but what’s nice about this book is that it’s very thorough and presents the information in an accessible way that I feel is universally relevant. (The Vital Touch may be too touchy-feely for some.)
The book is divided into two parts, each with 5 main sections. The first part focuses on 5 positive aspects of development being 1) a healthy attachment, 2) expressing emotions effectively, 3) developing empathy, 4) developing friendships, and 5) self-esteem and self-confidence. The second part focuses on 5 developmental challenges being 1) fear and anxiety, 2) shyness and withdrawal, 3) anger and defiance, 4) hostility and aggression, and 5) shame. Other than maybe their pro-timeout stance, I really agree with everything they say. My only issue was that I’ve read about these topics piecemeal before, so instead of thoroughly reading all their advice, at time I would just read the main headings and skim the sub-paragraph descriptions. For example, if a bold tip was “Highlight Positive Behavior”, I wouldn’t feel the need to carefully read the 500 words explaining what that meant. Overall, though, I think this is a good reference and would definitely be worth reading if you’ve not been introduced to the importance of attachment before, specifically the experiments done by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. However, again, a slightly longer and more difficult, but much more interesting and informative read on the same topic, in my opinion, is The Vital Touch. (Personal Rating: 8/10)