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I have to confess that I feel a bit of a fraud writing this post. While I devoured pregnancy-related books throughout the nine months of carrying my son, I haven’t read a parenting book since I threw down Dr. Harvey Karp’s “Happiest Baby on the Block” at 3am when Harry wouldn’t respond to any of Dr. Karp’s tricks. About a year ago, I bought a few books on toddler discipline, only to have them collect dust on the bookshelf.
But then my friend Jill made the comment that she was so impressed that I read anything other than parenting books and I thought that nope, I was the one impressed with her that she did read parenting books. I think there is a lot of value in reading through the different approaches to parenting, but I think the key is to not follow the books to the letter, but rather take them as guidance to find what works for your own individual child. I admit that I could use some real help in the feeding area, so the Weelicious book is now on my Amazon Wish List.
Here are some of the best parenting books out there for toddlers, based on Amazon ratings and friend recommendations:
1. Babyproofing Your Marriage By Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O’Neill, AND Julia Stone
Feel like you’re keeping “score” with your partner? Worrying that the child destroyed the relationship? This is hands-down my favorite parenting book. It has almost nothing to do with interacting with your child, but rather how to interact with your partner about your child. It’s easy to focus on only the child’s behavior, but I think it is equally important to focus on the co-parenting to raise successful kids. Funny, not religious, & not JUST for married couples. It’s for anyone that co-parents.
2. Weelicious By Catherine McCord
Born from the popular food blog, Weelicious is full of delicious, simply recipes for the entire family that toddlers will enjoy! The perfect book for a mom that struggles to feed an entire family AND a picky toddler without losing her sanity or inflating her grocery bill.
3. Raising Your Spirited Child By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
This is a favorite among my friends, both in real life and online. It is a great guide for parents who face a child that seems more willful, stubborn, and wild than his or her peers. This is a fantastic resource for those who feel that traditional methods don’t “speak” to their child and are looking for alternatives that will discipline without breaking the child’s innate personality.
4. 1-2-3 Magic By Thomas W. Phelan
Are you looking for an alternative to spanking? This book teaches the art of discipline without spanking or yelling by exploring the testing behaviors of toddlers and the reason behind them. It focuses on the 1-2-3 count to establish a baseline and expectation of behavior. This is a fantastic book for anyone struggling to discipline the tantrums and stubbornness of a toddler.
5. Positive Discipline: The First Three Years By Jane Nelson, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy
Positive Discipline is a series that has separate books for preschoolers, adolescents, etc. It addresses appropriate expectations and discipline for what the child is developmentally capable of at the time. It also addresses appropriate discipline, like “Should I spank?” and “How do I communicate with a toddler that does not speak?”
6. The No-Cry Sleep Solution For Toddlers and Preschoolers By Elizabeth Parsley
You only thought your sleep training problems were over! Now it’s time to get a willful and energetic toddler in the bed, completely with tantrums. This book is geared to solving sleep problems for toddlers and preschoolers by addressing naps, nighttime feedings, family beds, and routines.
7. Diaper-Free Before 3 By Jill M. Lekovic, M.D.
Looking for potty training advice? Here is a book that helps breakdown when to start training along with the best methods as a guide to early potty training. Because really, who wants to keep buying diapers?
8. The Happiest Toddler on the Block By Harvey Karp, M.D.
Oh, Dr. Karp. Yes, the same Dr. Karp that had you repeating the Five S’s through your baby’s first few months now introduces “Toddler-ese,” a way to communicate through body language and tone of voice with your toddler. He breaks down the communication through six-month age increments.
9. Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid By Gina Gallagher & Patricia Konjoian
While the authors are not experts in parenting children with special needs and encourage you to seek additional expertise, they share the frustration and sadness and joy that comes along with parenting a more difficult child. Hilarious, frank, and full of advice on how to navigate the world of parenting special children. A recommendation for any parent that faces an autism diagnosis, SPD, or severe delay.More On