David Elkind has created a short but far reaching book for parents on various subjects in an A to Z guide. In Parenting on the go: Birth to Six, A to Z, Elkind presents the reader with short, to the point advice on subjects ranging from ADHD and homework to junk food and second languages. The book is written in response to what Elkind names a "time famine" (p. xvii) in which parents have little time "…to consult parenting books, but they could use a short, to-the-point discussion of the challenges they meet daily" (p. xviii). Most parents would probably appreciate the fact that Elkind acknowledges the notion that they have less time to consult and go through books on subjects relating to children while still caring deeply for, loving their child (or children) and wanting their best. Another upside with the book is the fact that Elkind presents so many varied topics that parents can use when needing help and assistance relating to concerns that may arise or that have already been an issue of theirs. At the same time, those who wish for further, more extensive information on certain topics may have to look elsewhere, but Parenting on the go is certainly a beneficial starting point.
Readers will appreciate Elkind's matter of fact, easy to understand and non-judgmental attitude and language in the book. Elkind also includes his own personal stories based on being a parent and a grandparent, and readers can certainly relate to many of these stories and concerns presented by the author. Throughout the book, Elkind also readily points out that it is important not to rush education and learning. He believes that education is not a race and that children learn at different times in their lives as they grown and mature. Elkind points out that just as adolescents go through puberty at varying ages, none of which can be rushed to include and earlier date, so do young children go through various processes when it comes to toilet training, spelling their names or learning the ABCs, among other things. Curriculums that enforce or expect all children to learn certain things by a certain time are not beneficial to children. Another point Elkind also makes is that learning through play is the most beneficial and fun way for children to acquire skills. At this age, learning should not be a chore, but should be fun as well as educational. Elkind is also critical when it comes to various forms of technology, mainly letting ones child or children spend long hours watching television, and playing with toys that are battery operated and that only serve one function. Instead, Elkind states that toys that can be manipulated and used for more than one purpose, such as Legos, blocks and art supplies, are more beneficial and provide more of a learning experience for children.
The target audience of the book is, as mentioned, parents to young children (from birth to the age of six), but Elkind provides much information and advice to parents with children who are preschool aged. Offering advice on day care centers, preschool, toys and education, parents with children this age who are thinking about group care would certainly benefit from the book. Elkind has provided his readers with an easy to understand guide about children for the first few years of their lives.
© 2014 Hennie Weiss
Hennie Weiss has a Master's degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Her academic interests include women's studies, gender, sexuality and feminism.