5 Minutes for Books — Just Tell Me What to Say

Thanks to Shannon for hosting the Bloggy Giveaway carnival. To find many other giveaways, click on over.

Betsy Brown Braun has written a wonderful book aimed at parents of 2 to 6 year olds (and beneficial to parents of older school children as well). Just Tell Me What to Say offers “sensible tips and scripts for perplexed parents.” I would offer humorous to the mix as well, but otherwise that subtitle sums it up quite well.

The first two chapters address general communication principles, and discipline do’s and don’ts. These chapters in particular are especially applicable to children older than six as well as the targeted age group. Several of her tips were arrows aimed right at me pointing out communication mistakes that I regularly make:

  • demanding eye contact (which requires so much effort for some kids that your message is actually lost)
  • spelling or talking about your child in front of them as if they aren’t there (which shows disrespect)
  • ignoring or tuning out (as much as that preschool flow of words requires of me, I need to take advantage of the communication, because unanswered questions eventually become unasked questions)

Other sections are devoted to sibling rivalry, tantrums (how to handle them and why they are a normal stage of development), food issues and nutrition, and social gracejust-tell-me.jpgs. The last few chapters offer help talking about difficult topics, such as the birds and the bees, a serious illness in the family, death, and natural disasters and war.

In each chapter, Braun first explains her take on the issue at hand (which is gleaned from thirty-seven years in practice as a child development specialist and raising her own triplets to adulthood). Then she offers bulleted lists in a “tips and scripts” section addressing the issue. I love the scripts! For example, if you have trouble standing firm on discipline (as I admit that I do) and not giving in to your child’s diversionary tactics, it’s much easier if you have an answer ready to go:

  • I have made my decision, and I am not going to change my mind.
  • You choose your behavior, you choose your consequence.
  • I am done talking about this.

If you’ve ever wondered what to say or what to do while dealing with the normal development of a preschooler, you will find this book helpful and encouraging. To find out more about the author or the book, visit her website, JustTellMeWhattoSay.com.

One reader who leaves a comment will win a copy of Just Tell Me What to Say (that can ship to the U.S. or Canada). Be sure to check back next week to see if you are a winner so that you can be on the lookout for an email from me with the book title in the subject line.

These lucky readers have won Trail of Crumbs, the book we featured last week. You should have an email in your inbox (or your spam filter) to which you can respond with your name and address.

#35 Laura K.
#68 Marlene Rugg
#56 Corina Smith


  1. says

    I have a toddler, but I know I’ll need all the help I can get when she hits preschool age. I’d love to win this goodie! I love to read books on parenting–the only experience I have so far is my one year of mothering, and that’s not much!

  2. Jill H. says

    I so need this book too…..and I also demand eye contact, and frequently tune out. And I forgot how it made me feel as a kid…..I guess you do tend to raise your kids the way you were!

  3. says

    That is a great idea for a book! Knowing what to say is half the battle in parenting, it helps you stick to your guns, and your kids actually respect you more for that.

  4. says

    Our son has 3 children – boy 6 from first marriage, and 2 girls from present marriage. All parties on great terms, thankfully. But, when daughter-in-law 2 has all 3 kids all weekend, it is sometimes “bedlam” to say the least. She tries so hard to be equal in her discipline, and doesn’t want to “rock any boats”. Some fresh ideas would be helpful.

  5. says

    I think most any mom would benefit from this book….but I sure hope it is me. I need a few special ‘go to ‘ phrases like the ones above…my 4 year old is a lawyer in training…I need all the help I can get.

    Thank you!

  6. says

    I really need this book. I read just a few of the tips and am sad to say that I do all of those things at times. Now I am going to get off of this computer and go play with the kids.

  7. Jessi N says

    I would love to read this book. There are days when my three year old says things to me that make my mouth drop open and I have no idea how to reply to her.

  8. says

    What an awesome prize. I would love this for my creative little girl who says the most random things. Sometimes I just laugh when I should be discplining. Thanks

  9. says

    This would come handy! My two year old is an incrediable commicatior, and many times I forget he’s only 2…The first point you brought up, demanding eye contact when it is probably too much effort for them, really sold me!

  10. Michelle says

    The book looks really interesting — could always use help when it comes to parenting! :) mlciavola(at)yahoo(dot)com.

  11. Peter S says

    Sounds like something that would be really helpful around my house with my daughter. She chats up a storm at times and it’s really hard to stay on target. She also has a really hard time with eye contact. :-)

  12. says

    Will the books tell me how to deal with my 6 year old’s tendency to launch in 30 minute monologues about random things while I’m trying to read, watch something, or talk on the phone or stop my 11 month old’s loud, ear-piercing shrieks when he doesn’t get his way? LOL

  13. Laura says

    I’d love this book – after years of teaching fifth grade, sometimes I still really don’t have a clue how to respond to them!

  14. Dana Noga says

    Oh boy do I need this book –
    I have two boys (my oldest 3 are girls) so this has been a learning experience…and right now I’m dealing with behaviors I’m not sure how to handle.

  15. says

    Okay, I have 2 unruly children in that age group! :) Perhaps if I don’t win, I will go ahead and buy this one…..do they have it on tape?? I have 2 unruly little ones and very little time to read! :) LOL

  16. Cam & Devs Mom says

    Just when you think you have all the answers…you wake up! Having children comes with new questions and no answers everyday. Although no one has all the answers, some help and direction would be great.

  17. Talitha Lee says

    Finally something that might be a bit more useful than my smile and nod tactic I’ve had to use with my kids.

  18. says

    This looks like a very interesting book that I could use ideas from. I have a creative five year old who manages to finagle her way around a lot of things I say. Some days, giving her directions is like writing a how-to manual. :)

  19. Lori says

    My lil girl is about to be turning 2 years old , I really have needed something to read on terrible 2’s . Count me in please!

  20. says

    Thanks for offering this great giveaway and making me aware of this book. If I don’t win this copy I may have to look into buying this book on my own, with one year old twins we are rapidly approaching all this issues. Thanks for the heads up.

  21. Sylvia says

    Looks like a great book- as the mom of an 8 month old and an MFT intern, this addresses my most prevalent interests! :)

  22. aa says

    I could use this book. I have two five y/o’s and a three y/o. Some days, I need to just dive into a book like this. 😉

  23. says

    I could definitely use this! I especially am interested in the NOT demanding eye contact…we’ve always required our kids to look at us when we’re talking, so I”m interested what they have to say about it.

  24. says

    Wow, given the day I’ve had today with my 4 year old, I NEED this book. If I don’t win I think I will have to buy it! Winning it would be better though! :-)


  25. says

    Oh my gosh….have read my mind? my blog? seen my life?? I NEED THIS BOOK!!!! Thank you for telling me about it no matter what happens.

    You girls add sparkle to my life! Thanks for all you do.

  26. Heather C says

    This is something I need to read. When my daughter knew how to spell at 4, our days of spelling communication were OVER! :-)

  27. Donna L. says

    My daughter is a pre-school teacher and could use this book. Some days her 10 2-3yo just bounce off the walls.!

  28. BrendaS says

    I certainly would love to read this book! I think it gets tougher when they get past 6 and start to try to outsmart you!

  29. Felicia Reynolds says

    I need this very so, I’m a new mom and a part time baby sitter to younger siblings that are out of control!


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