Since my daughter was born, I have read quite a few parenting books. Some of them have been a complete waste of time yet others actually had some useful information. Before you get all defensive, I believe that most moms are parenting just fine by following their instincts and knowing their own children best. I enjoyed these books because they aren’t the type that make parents feel bad about what they’re doing, but offer alternate ways to view parenting and child development. Although some of these books are more suitable for new moms, others can be used for a much broader age range. Here are my absolute must reads!
Mind in the Making:
While this book is a little “science-y” it is chock full of information that is helpful in understanding how your child is developing. The author gives us some background about the seven essential life skills and how to help your child develop those skills. Hint, it’s not an amazing score on the SAT. Although this book is targeted at new moms, there are definitely some practical ways to help your child develop these essential skills at any age. I really enjoyed it because it had practical applications for parents that didn’t seem off-putting or overwhelming.
This is my absolute favorite book about discipline. If you are anti-time out, this book is definitely not for you. There are helpful suggestions for kids all the way into the teen years! The book helps parents understand the difference between stop behaviors (things you want your child to stop doing like whining and biting) and start behaviors (things you want your child to do like picking up their room or doing chores). At the heart of this book is the idea that we parent better in a calm environment that doesn’t include yelling or temper tantrums. I couldn’t agree more. Since reading this book I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have had to raise my voice in the past three years. It’s not easy, but it truly is magic.
Fifteen Minutes Outside:
This is a fantastic book for those of you who value getting outside each day for some fresh air. It not only explains the benefits of taking your child outside, but also has an extensive list of activities to do throughout the year. Parents can literally pick this book up on any given day and have an idea for getting outside. The ideas are simple and most need little or no preparation (think finding sticks or having breakfast outside). It’s a fabulous book for combating boredom, especially in the winter months.
The Read Aloud Handbook:
As a book nerd, this one is my absolute favorite. The book is has two sections, with the first half being information about the value of reading aloud to your child and the second half being an extensive list of recommendations. If you’re already convinced of the value of reading aloud to your children, then you can skip the first half. The second half will provide the detailed list of recommended books for every age level. This is a really easy read and a great resource to use as your child grows and develops.
French Kids Eat Everything:
This particular book is a narrative about an American family who moves to a small town in France. In doing so, they discover how to encourage their picky eaters to try new foods and cut down on snacking. While this book isn’t an instructional style, the suggestions for taming those picky eaters are embedded within the narrative. I didn’t completely agree with everything in the book, but there were some practical ideas about meals and lots of humorous stories to which any parent could relate. Definitely worth a read if your looking for part humorous narrative and part gentle encouragement.
Brain Rules for Baby:
This book is best suited for newer moms, as it is focused the early years (0-5) of brain development. It’s part anecdotal stories about the author’s own children and part science. It’s a perfect balance if too much science isn’t your thing. There are all kinds of sections including information about screen time and impulse control. Again, I really liked the anecdotal tone of the chapters mixed with a little bit of research and science.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of parenting books but these are my favorites. Would love to hear some of the books you loved! Which would make it onto your top 5?
Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.