Parenting Books: Some Old Favourites & New Finds


favesToddlerhood is a game-changer. For both the parent and the child.

We as mothers, as parents, need to bring in the reserves, the heavy artillery. The research. The science. The best-selling books.

It seems to be a time (at least for me) wherein my natural instincts and my personal “organic, natural mothering-ways” alone… simply aren’t cutting it.

In knowing that the first five years are the most formative (mentally, emotionally, physically) in a child’s life, I want to do all that I can to not mess that up and maybe even come out on top. (Or the middle? Middle is good.) You know?

We need to dig down deep into our own psyche, acknowledge our own triggers and re-learn how not only to cope with ourselves, but to teach our children how to cope with their own emotions. Or trust them enough to figure it out. (The key is knowing how to ride that fine line.)

It is during such times as these, in which I am neck deep in unconditional love (as both the giver and the receiver), bodily functions, toddler melt-downs, and heart-stopping adorableness, that I am constantly wavering between doubt and confidence.

Normal, right?

Thought so. In any case, I’ve begun to build up a little library of resources that I thought some of you lovely readers might appreciate knowing about. The world of parenting is strife with opinions and research and experts. It can be tough to wade through all of that and find advice and support that you can actually identify with. My list isn’t a generic list for all – but I’m not SO weird that there can’t be a few other mothers out there like me.

Many are already dog-eared and worn and some are on their way to me. I’ll let you know what I think of those when I’m done with them.

  • The Happiest Toddler on the Block (Revised Edition) 1 of 12
    The Happiest Toddler on the Block (Revised Edition)
    An interesting read, I purchased this online from Amazon used (as I do a lot of my books). While I don't agree with all of the authors concepts (little boys being little cave-men and always relating them in that manner), I will agree that there are times when that is JUST what a situation calls for and I never would have thought of communicating to my toddlers exactly how they are with me. Okay, I have - which is why I think it's awesome that this book says it's okay!
    Available on Amazon, new or used
  • Your Self-Confident Baby: How to Encourage Your Child’s Natural Abilities 2 of 12
    Your Self-Confident Baby: How to Encourage Your Child's Natural Abilities
    Don't let the title fool you. This book is about rearing babies yes, but is all about parenting toddlers too! In my humble opinion, the theories of Magda Gerber; founder of Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), is a resource that all parents should have on a shelf at home.
    Available on Amazon
  • A Child Becomes Strong: Journeying Through Each Stage of the Life Cycle 3 of 12
    A Child Becomes Strong: Journeying Through Each Stage of the Life Cycle
    While this free online resource is written from a First Nations perspective, many parents will learn much about their toddler's developmental milestones in respect to supporting families that come from diverse cultural values and beliefs.
    Find the PDF manual via Best Start
  • Raising Your Spirited Child (Revised Edition) 4 of 12
    Raising Your Spirited Child (Revised Edition)
    My first reaction upon reading this title was, what toddler isn't "spirited"? At any rate, the many high reviews are what led me to ordering this book used on Amazon last month and I highly recommend it. Some may not like that it covers the many ages of childhood, rather a solely on the toddler-years - but I am in fact grateful for it. I'm fully aware that the challenges of parenting will last long past this stage of the game!
    Available on Amazon
  • Discipline Without Distress 5 of 12
    Discipline Without Distress
    This is another book that features tips, strategies, skills, and ideas for parents of children of all ages, with a heavy focus towards the most formative years (the 1st five). The 5 star reviews are hard to ignore, and I can't wait to dig into this one. Yes, I am a nerd who is passionate about early childhood education and parenting.
    Available on Amazon, new or used
  • Keepers of the Children 6 of 12
    Keepers of the Children
    I admire the poetic prose of this book; just as much as the focus on the parent equally to that of the child.
    Available on Amazon, new or used
  • The No Cry Discipline Solution 7 of 12
    The No Cry Discipline Solution
    As a mother who doesn't heavily prescribe to any one parenting theory or title (UGH those titles), I embrace many schools of thought, research and science, coupled with my own natural/personal instinct. This one was passed on to me by a good friend when I was pregnant and everyone else was talking pregnancy books and this particular friend was all, "pregnancy is nothing. Take this." I refer to it often and it knows my highlighter well. Although that picture, I know. PHHHHT.
    Available on Amazon, new or used
  • 1,2,3…The Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents and Caregivers 8 of 12
    1,2,3...The Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents and Caregivers
    For those of you looking for a focus on toddlers and nothing else, this is your jam. It incorporates much of Magda Gerber's theories (whom I spoke about in slide #1 and you can find a link to her website at the end of this post). It is boasted as being easy to read, informative and very practical for everyday life with a toddler. I ordered it today!
    Available on Amazon, new and used
  • Secret of Childhood 9 of 12
    Secret of Childhood
    Written by the brilliant Maria Montessori; founder of Montessori, a holistic education approach for the early years. I found this book at a garage sale way back in the day when I was a nanny on an airforce reserve. I referred to it then, fell in love with much of the theory and fall back on it often today for Montessori in the home.
    Available on Amazon, new or used
  • Children at Play: Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development 10 of 12
    Children at Play: Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development
    Before you scoff at this - keep in mind that no one's saying that you have to live the Waldorf Way. I happen to agree with the main principal behind the Waldorf school of thought, that imaginative play is vital for early childhood development. Which on its own, contrasts with the Montessori way. There are parts that I adore about each method and I take what I (and my children), identify with from each to incorporate into our own home. Because I can. Because I'm the mom. This book is at once unexpected, philosophical and simple. Yes, philosophy can be simple and not pompous psycho-babble.
    Available on Amazon, new or used
  • Seven Times the Sun: Guiding Your Child Through the Rhythms of the Day 11 of 12
    Seven Times the Sun: Guiding Your Child Through the Rhythms of the Day
    This book is all about establishing rituals and traditons with your child in the everyday, from a Waldorf perspective. Which doesn't mean to say that the teachings and songs in this book can't be included for those who don't solely prescribe to Waldorf parenting. We certainly don't. I've found great comfort and ideas in the book.
    Available on Amazon, new or used
  • Innocence Revisited: A Tale in Parts 12 of 12
    Innocence Revisited: A Tale in Parts
    This one may cross you as not belonging in this round-up. Which for you, may very well be the case. But this is a collection of books that speaks to me, that I would recommend to anyone who is similar to myslef, has similar values in parenting or has experienced similar things in life. Everything about where I come from and my childhood impacts who I am as a mother and a parent. The same is true for all mothers. I know there are other survivors of childhood abuse out there who are mothers now, who are often quiet about how having such a childhood impacts their parenting. Whether it's from shame, or embarrassment or a fear of making others uncomfortable - it's a silence I strive to break each and every day. This book in particular has been an inspiration to me, a reference point and a guide during many stages of both woman-hood and mothering. The author, Dr. CATHY KEZELMAN is a doctor and the chairperson of ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse), with 4 children of her own.
    Available on Amazon, new or used

What are your favourites? I would love to hear…

These are some favoured online resources that I go to now and then for nuggets of wisdom:

Four Directions Parenting (Sarah Blackwell)

Janet Lansbury

Supporting the Sacred Journey

Magda Gerger

Dr. Sears

The Science of Kids (Heather Turgeon)


More Babbles From Selena…

Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Creative Director. Social Media & Branding Consultant. Regular writer on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

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