With all the parenting books out there, it’s hard to know which resources are best for your family. Every parent is at a different stage, with kids at different ages and with varying struggles and goals. So we’ve put together a list of books with an overview. You can quickly select which of these books will help you talk to your kids, give you strategies you need now, and/or help you reach your goals. We’ve focused on baby, toddler, tween and teenage groups:
Best Parenting Book for Babies:
Babywise worked brilliantly for our family. Learning baby sleep-wake-eat-play cycles enabled me to help all my kids learn to sleep through the night within the first three months. The flexibility helped me manage my kids’ routines. These strategies worked extremely well for our family. Plus, I always knew the best window for scheduling appointments. Life. Saver. Now Babywise has a new parenting website as well.
I could go on and on about baby wise because I read a TON of baby books front to back (call me an overachiever), but this was hands-down my favorite. Some of the structures we started years ago still apply to my school-age children. For example, we still do “quiet time” when the kids play by themselves, and we also do “reading time” where they read alone. This magical time enables moms to shower, or just stare into space for a few peaceful minutes! However, this is probably not the book for parents who like to sleep with their babies or have a more organic, uber-flexible approach to their days (and nights). You know your family needs best!
Best Parenting Books for Toddlers:
The Whole Brain Child is the must-read book for parents of toddlers. This book not only shares parenting strategies, but the scientific/developmental reasons why. This book sets up parents for success in the toddler years and well beyond. The human brain doesn’t finish developing until post-high school, after-all!
Bonus book: Raising Human Beings, came highly recommended by developmental specialists in my area. Not all the advice in this book worked for me, but this style of parenting works very well for some families and is worth a mention. If connection and collaboration is your preferred parenting style, Raising Human Beings is the book is for you!
Best Parenting Books for Tweens (ages 8-12 years old):
Boys Body Book: If you specifically want a practical book that focuses on boys and their bodies, this is the one. I read this book with my son, but other kids might just want to read it on their own. We read this in a light, matter-of-fact way … no shame or embarrassment. Now my son regularly comes to me with questions (though I’m sure there’s things he’s not asking me — I’m glad there’s a few things he is).
The Care and Keeping of You is the go-to maturation book for girls. With thousands of reviews (95% are 4-5 stars) this is the top recommendation from parents.
Real Life Rules just hit the shelves. In our ever-increasingly digital world, this interactive book gives kids an opportunity to learn and explore important social aspects of their humanity, including: gratitude, integrity, etiquette, resolving conflict, responsibility, and navigating a social media world. This was written by Playful Learning’s Director who, when her own children became tweens, recorded the things she wanted them to know — and now she’s sharing these concepts with all parents, with her signature, classy style.
Best Parenting Books for Teens:
How to Talk So Teens will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is perfect for busy parents. This book is practical and to the point with illustrations. This book was recommended by a student adviser … and check out the number of 5-star reviews! I can’t recommend this enough — there are multiple strategies in this book so all parents can have a couple of options that work for their particular child. (I even use some of these strategies on my 4th grader. Just sayin’, these strategies work on more than just teens!)
Bonus Book! If you want a very in-depth book about the psychology (and chemistry) of how the teenager’s mind works, The Teenage Brain is for you. This one took me much longer to get through than the above book, but it’s packed with great information. My high school teacher-friends cannot stop talking about how much they love this book!
More Parenting Book Suggestions!
There are so many other great parenting books out there. Please share your favorites in the comments below, along with what makes it great (it will help other parents know if they want to read it, too!).
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