Testimonials

Here are some letters from parents like you who have used Kids: The Manual in their own homes. If you have a success story (or any feedback at all) that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you! The best way to get in touch is to send an e-mail to me directly at dana@kidsthemanual.com.

“I have found the book Kids: The Manual an easy-to-read and easy-to-use resource. I especially enjoy the workbook. I found the introduction to each section a wonderful “highlight” and reminder of what I should remember to do. It was phrased in an easy manner with key points to focus on.”

Beth Moulton
Infant Preschool Development Educator Alberta Health Services

Kids: The Manual had some different ideas that I had not come across. I have started applying several of the suggestions and they are getting me positive results. I have a 3-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old, all girls. Specific examples are:

With all 3 of my girls, I have used mirroring back their feelings. This has helped significantly because it seems to stop them on their path of complaining or prepping for a tantrum and instead they calm down. It’s also beneficial for me in that it gives me a moment to calm down and reflect on how they are feeling rather than how I am frustrated.

I also have seen results from using choices rather than bribes or threats. I’ve been wanting to get away from threats for a long time and this is a great tool. I’m still learning about what choices to give, but the kids usually opt for the right one.

Another positive has been to listen better and let up on the advice and judgments. This has especially been helpful with my 10-year-old. We can have a conversation and she can walk away feeling good about talking to me rather than regretting it.

Overall, I loved how simple and to the point this book is. I can go back and review easily.”

Monica Gibson

“Thanks for the manual. We went into it again only last week to find some more tips. I especially liked the part about relevant consequences. For our 3-year-old, none of our “consequences” to bad behavior were working – not because we were not following through on them but, I think now, because he didn’t understand why he had them, so the behavior kept repeating.

For example, he was a boomerang in bed! We tried a star chart, the naughty step, and then telling him he couldn’t watch TV in the morning when he got up (at 5 a.m. – which was more of a punishment for us in the end!).

However, when the consequence was having the door shut for five minutes so he would stay in bed, he didn’t like it – and understood after a few times that this would be the consequence of getting out of bed. So now he still gets out of bed, but he calls from the stairs to tell us that he is going to the bathroom, or to get a glass of water and then will get straight back into bed – and he does!

It’s one down, several to go. The big thing for us at the moment is whingeing and whining.

Thanks for this – and I still recommend The Sleep Sense Program to all my new parent friends and family.”

Louise Maxwell

“My son is 3½, and each day he amazes me with his observations of the world and achievement of new skills. At 3½ years old, he is also well into the stage of development that includes pushing the limits, whining, saying “no,” throwing tantrums, and repeating not-so-good phrases and actions that he has observed from TV, other kids and, yes, even his parents. He has also come to realize that he too can have power or control over a situation and is constantly testing how this works.

Although in my professional life I work with children, some with very challenging behaviors, I needed to ground myself in someone else’s expertise in order to better manage how I engage with my own child in those more stressful moments. That is why I decided to purchase Kids: The Manual. I had signed up to receive your e-mails about sleep issues when my son was younger and I found your advice to be practical and made sense.

And that is what I find your new resource to be: practical and makes sense for real life. It is also very easy to follow and visually can be scanned quickly to find the parts I like to refer back to.

Reading your book helped me to pay attention and to realize that yes, I do give choices, but I also bribe and threaten a little too much. I do “listen” to my child, but I also need to remember that just like adults, they more often than not need to have their feelings acknowledged before we can move on.

But I think most of all, Kids: The Manual helped me to realize that when I am tired and stressed by timelines and a multitude of tasks, my fuse gets shorter and my voice rises and I become the authoritarian instead of authoritative parent. Or I become permissive and inconsistent (threatening a time-out and only following through after the behavior was demonstrated not once, but a few more times). And nobody wins or feels better in these situations.

What has become clearer for me as I use Kids: The Manual (and when I say use, I mean that I often revisit it to tune myself back in… it is not meant to be read just once!) is that I don’t like to see my child upset or sad or crying (e.g., because they really do or don’t want something), but I also don’t want my child to be confused or ashamed, which could come from inconsistent/permissive parenting. When I find myself getting frustrated, I recall your book and remind myself that if I keep my voice and emotions even, keep my words concise, and make sure that I follow through even if I don’t like to hear them cry, it all pays off and my son’s behavior (although not perfect) is 10 times better.

Your book helped me to realize my strengths as well as my areas for improvement, which is really important because for all my good praising and listening skills, if I am not calm, concise, and consistent in dealing with the “bad” behavior, then things won’t change or move in a more positive direction. Thank you for putting together this resource. I have recommended it to other parents.”

Jennifer MacKendrick Weber

“Firstly, I would like to take this chance to say THANK YOU, as I’ve not only read and used Kids: The Manual, but also the Sleep Sense and Food Sense programs. I love your clear and common-sense approach to parenting. Often, it is reassuring to read someone else’s ideas and know that you’re not too far off track, or need to look at a situation from a different perspective.

Our children are 4, 2, and 4 months. Alecia, our eldest, has been the “guinea pig,” and has been the first to benefit from what I’ve learned in each of your programs, and it’s become standard procedure for Taya, our second, and now Daniel, who will also benefit as the time comes.

In regards to Kids: The Manual, I’m a chronic over-talker, so have really turned my over-talking down to the bare minimum when needed. I’ve also taken more time to listen to the kids and show them attention, rather than just continuing on with what I was doing and trying to listen. Alecia and now Taya respond better to requests, and there are fewer battles going on than a few months ago.

Specifically, the girls have one room in the house that they are responsible for keeping tidy – the rumpus room. Earlier in the year, it was a constant source of angst between the kids and I to get them to keep this area tidy. There were many threats made, and much yelling, bribing, and frustration. More often than not, the room would be left in a mess and I would be cleaning it up after the girls had gone to bed.

After following the methods and guidelines in Kids: The Manual, our girls need very little asking to keep their room tidy, or they know there will be appropriate consequences. Even though Taya is only 2, she sees Alecia tidying up and is starting to help and accepts this as normal behavior to keep their play area tidy. This behavior has also extended to their bedrooms. If they know there are friends coming over and the rumpus room has to be tidy, they also voluntarily tidy their rooms as well.

I think your programs are great in that it’s “common-sense parenting” – nothing fancy or difficult. Simple, easy to follow, and back to basics – love it!”

Narelle Bormann
South Australia

“I’m the mother of 15-month-old Jack. Although this book is geared towards children older than Jack, I wanted to read the book to “be prepared”!! Despite Jack’s age, I’ve taken the advice of being better organized. If I have a morning and evening plan, things seem to work a lot better… less frustration for all of us! Thanks, Dana, for being such a wonderful teacher.”

Sarah
Sherbrooke, QC

“Kids: the Manual helped me to be a more mindful parent. I try to acknowledge my child’s feelings, and gently show him a more acceptable way. Using the timer during time-out has helped my child to calm down more quickly and stay in his chair for the duration without screaming or telling me I’m mean. He also loves to redeem his completed star chart for a prize at the toy store. He has learned to appreciate the things he has earned, and I hear less whining for new things.”

Mary
Parent to 4-year-old Drew

“I just wanted to thank you for the manual. It is absolutely full of great ideas which work. When in doubt, I always double-check what you suggest for specific problems. It seems to work a treat! Thanks again very much for your help!”

Fabienne Chatelis

“I actually purchased your book not for my own two kids, but because I am a classroom teacher and I thought that some of your strategies would work in the classroom. Knowing that you were an educator, I knew that you may have advice that could be used in this situation. I am in the process of implementing some of your ideas with a few of the children. I will keep you posted on this. I had used your Sleep Sense Program for my two children with fantastic results. I am sure that I will have the same with this!”

Karyn Hamilton

“There were so many “a-ha” moments when I read Kids: The Manual. My husband and I were at the ends of our ropes. My 4½-year-old son is very strong-willed. It seemed like nothing we said to him broke through. He wasn’t listening to us or his teachers at school. There were constant power struggles in our house. After I read Kids: The Manual, light bulbs went on left and right. I had to share the book with my husband. We realized that there were many methods we were using that were counter-productive (yelling, threatening, and bribing). We have begun using the methods presented in Kids: The Manual, and we are starting to see some positive results.

My son likes to hoard toys. Last night, he was collecting all his Bob The Builder action figures. He already had four Bobs, and he was asking for his Dad to get him a fifth one that he knew was somewhere upstairs. My husband pointed out that he already had four, but my son was adamant about getting that fifth Bob. My husband asked my son, “Would you rather have four Bobs, or no Bobs?” That immediately got my son thinking, and he responded that he was fine with the four Bobs.

Your book also helped me realize that I shouldn’t really treat my son any differently than I treat anyone else. Treating my son with more respect really worked with him. I could see that he just wanted to be loved and encouraged. He has been much more cooperative because I stay calm and patient, and he can see that I’m listening to him.

Thanks for your help!”

Michele Hawkins

“There were a couple things here that really stood out for me. The tips for using time-out were different from other books I’ve read out there (which are a LOT!). I really like that you suggest not using the bedroom – I always had a feeling it wasn’t a good idea, but had reached the end of my rope so I started trying it. It was such a hassle! And to top if off, they’d mess up their rooms. Having somewhere close enough to be convenient, but still away from the “action” was a great tip! I also went out and bought a timer, so I don’t have to again go back and let them know they are out of time-out. As a busy homeschooling mom of 4, every little bit of time and effort I can save is important!

I also really like the explanation regarding children “listening” to us. I was wanting them to “do,” not “listen.” Just that little tidbit made a difference. I am also really “listening” to them now, parroting what they say to let them know I’ve heard them and just generally filling up their “love tank” with quality time, so we have less reason to discipline in the first place. I’ve been using the technique to get them to do certain chores they are supposed to and it’s really working.

These days, most of the time, I only have to say “1” and they stop what they are not supposed to be doing, with no yelling or frustration on my part! Awesome!

Having the videos was the BEST, because I could get some quick info without having to read it right away, what a blessing!

Thank you so much for this – it’s really needed. I was part of a parenting group and we’d all discuss discipline, but mostly it was a discussion of what we tried and didn’t work! No one was really getting anywhere, so I sent them to your website.

I bought your Sleep Sense Program 2 years ago and it was THE SINGLE MOST AMAZING parenting-related item I have ever purchased! And that was after THREE kids!! You literally saved my sanity when it was hanging by a thread because of no sleep. No exaggeration. So when you came out with a discipline book I had to have it. Thanks, Dana.”

Manal K.

“Thank you so much for putting together Kids: The Manual! It was very helpful in learning different ways to cope with my very energetic and strong-willed 2-year-old! I soon realized that I was doing the same thing as many other parents and not using the correct punishment to fit the crime!

I have noticed that when he breaks certain rules, he seems to know what the punishment will be, and I feel like he is thinking about things before he does them! I didn’t think he really understood that he was doing things wrong before, now he seems to know that he will be punished and has stopped the behavior before he is punished! Thank you so much and I look forward to years of referring back to the manual as he gets older!”

Brooke Stokes

“Reading Kids: The Manual was so helpful as it’s helped me to set a “mind framework” to prepare for the next steps in my son’s development. He is only 20 months, but already I can put at least some of the advice in your manual into practice. Hopefully it puts us both in good stead for the months ahead.”

Nikki

“The part that struck me the most was one of the first parts of the book, about listening to your kids. I liked how you showed how silly some situations would look if those were 2 adults: making sure they wear a jacket, etc. But the big “a-ha!” moment for me was when you mentioned that if kids cry or act out, we tell them that it’s because they’re tired, thus invalidating their feelings. My mom used to ALWAYS do that to me, blaming any emotion on the fact that I was tired, and it DROVE ME NUTS! And, I guess I have been doing that a bit with my son. So now I try to be more careful about invalidating feelings. It doesn’t mean that he’s not tired, but it doesn’t help for me to just point that out.

I also liked the “When nothing works” chapter. Very helpful!

Other than that, I found that the book had many good tips that I’ll be able to use… later. My son just turned 2, he’s not even talking yet, and has no sibling yet, so I found some of the situations/tips were for when he’ll be a bit older. Like, reward and homework charts, the “consequences” chapter.”

Marie-Claude

“I have a 3½ -year-old, 2½-year-old, and 6-month-old – so I’m a little busy to say the least! Thanks for your great advice in Kids: The Manual. I found that I’m already doing a lot of the “right” things, so that was reassuring! I feel a lot of the strategies in the book are more appropriate for older children, so hopefully they will help me avoid making parenting mistakes as the kids get older.

A few ideas I’ve found helpful include:

– Using natural consequences more. If they won’t eat, then I don’t force the issue anymore – they eat what’s offered or go hungry. (If they genuinely don’t like something I’m a bit more lenient – but they have to at least taste it first!) Allowing them to be more involved in meal preparation and giving them greater control over what they choose to eat has made an enormous difference – my boys will actually eat salad sandwiches for lunch by choice!
– Using a timer for time-out.
– Automatic time-outs have been helpful for my 3½ -year-old, who insists on standing right in front of the TV to watch it – he gets one warning, then every time after that he goes to time-out for 1 minute.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work!”

Jehanne Upton