The sheer number of parenting books available today can be tough to navigate. It’s hard to know which are worth the read and which are better off left on the shelf. As a childcare worker turned parent, I’ve had the opportunity to read more than my fair share. These 15 books every parent should read are my absolute favorites.
While many of these books cater to parents of young children, even the seasoned parent will find something worth reading in this collection. I wish that I would have known about some of these long before I found them. This is why I felt that I needed to share them with you.
15 Books Every Parent Should Read
I highly recommend each of these books. They are in no particular order and are all equally indispensable to me. Most of these are well written scholarly books that back up what they claim with solid research.
I recommend that you search for these at your local library or used bookstore first. If you can’t find them, I have provided Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support this blog!
1. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.
This is my go to book for everything sleep related. Weissbluth delivers facts and suggestions allowing each parent to make their own choices about which sleep training techniques to use (or not to use) with their child. He also covers the colicky infant in-depth.
2. The Baby Book, Revised Edition: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Sears Parenting Library) by William Sears et all.
This book presents a practical approach to parenting that reflects the way we live today. Focusing on the essential needs of babies–eating, sleeping, development, health, and comfort–it addresses the questions of greatest concern to parents. The authors acknowledge that there is no one way to parent a baby, and they offer the basic guidance and inspiration you need to develop the parenting style that best suits you and your child.
3. Becoming the Parent You Want to Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years by Laura Davis.
This book is a comprehensive resource for parents as it delivers solid information on many aspects of child development. It gives specific tips covering many area’s of parenting; sleep issues, discipline, toilet learning, etc. Reading it will help you discover and work with your own parenting philosophy.
4. Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting by Janet Lansbury
Inspired by the pioneering parenting philosophy of her friend and mentor, Magda Gerber, Janet’s influential voice encourages parents and child care professionals to perceive babies as unique and capable human beings. Once we are able to view our children in this light, even the most common daily parenting experiences become stimulating opportunities to learn, discover, and to connect with our child.
5. You Are Your Child’s First Teacher, Third Edition: Encouraging Your Child’s Natural Development from Birth to Age Six by Rahima Baldwin Dancy.
This book explains the different stages of learning that children go through from birth to age six, giving parents the wisdom and understanding to enrich their children’s natural development in the right way at the right time.
6. How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success by Tovah P Klein.
This book reveals what you can do to help your toddler grow into a more fulfilled child and adult—while helping you and your toddler live more happily together, every day. It offers practical advice and indispensable tips covering many aspects of child care and development.
7. Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky.
This book serves as a great one-stop shop for helping children develop life skills that help them reach their full potential and unleash their passion to learn. She backs up each of her claims with solid research and real world examples. She synthesizes all of the information provided into 7 life skills that are really easy to understand, and can be useful with children of any age — not just young children.
8. Brain Rules for Baby (Updated and Expanded): How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina
This book shows us how our brains really work and what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five. The author backs up his claims with solid research and practical advice.
9. The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary, PhD.
This book suggests a parenting style that recognizes the child’s potential to assist the parent’s development and healing. Reading it will open your eyes and help you grow to be both the parent and the person you want to be. She also touches upon a method of discipline that she goes into more depth in another book she has authored titled, “Out of Control: Why Disciplining You Child Won’t Work And What Will” that I recommend in Positive Discipline Books for Parents and Caregivers.
10. Parenting from the Inside Out 10th Anniversary edition: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell
This book also explores the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. It offers parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.
11. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne.
This book discusses the impact of parenting on brain development. It offers powerful tools for helping children develop the ability to be successful in the world by describing specific techniques to help parents assist their children in the development of emotional intelligence.
12. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne M.Ed. and Lisa Ross.
With today’s emphasis on too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time this book offers parents a solution to reclaim the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish.
13. Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer
This book balances a theoretical understanding of child development with practical ideas, resources, and tips that can transform family life. The author suggests wonderful ways to make the home environment warm, loving, and consistent with your highest ideals.
14. The 5 Love Languages of Children and The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively by
Learn about your child’s unique love language and how to help them feel loved in a way that they understand. Reading one or both of these will help you build a strong foundation of unconditional love for your child.
Bonus Book: Raising Your Spirited Child, Third Edition: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
This book is not necessarily for every parent unless you were blessed with a spirited [read willful and difficult] child like we were. This book is our bible. It provides a lot of helpful real-world advice for dealing with the challenges of Spirit. With that said all parents can find good information here, especially those of us with the spirited ones.
I hope this list makes finding the right parenting books for you a lot easier than it was for me. I love these books so much I have even read some of them twice! Yes… they are all that good. Enjoy!
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