It’s not uncommon for expecting parents to want to learn the latest information about parenting before a baby is born. Or, for desperate parents, grandparents or guardians who are trying to lovingly discipline, potty train or communicate better with a fit-pitching toddler to seek answers and help!
But, with all of the overwhelming amount of information, articles and parenting advice on the internet, sometimes it’s easier to turn to books you can trust.
The best parenting books will leave you feeling better than you did when you started even if they don’t have an easy way out or 5-step “plan” guaranteed for success. In fact, some of the top parenting books are both consoling and challenging reminding us to be a parent that is present, forgiving and kind—starting first with ourselves.
Here are 10 of the best parenting books of 2021…
All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior
Award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior tries to tackle the issue of the effects of children on their parents’ lives including marriages, jobs, habits, hobbies, friendships and more. She explains how the last half-century has altered the roles of mothers and fathers making them more complex and less “clear.” She structures the book around the portraits of a handful of American families from all over the country, following them to soccer games and PTA meetings. She interviews them at dinner time, nap time and right in the thick of things to capture the true day-to-day stories of reality. You’ll read about other moms and dads who wrestle with some of parenthood’s most complicated situations, while also reaping some of the greatest rewards parenthood offers.
(Available for $15 on Amazon)
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This book focuses on the communication between parents and children and includes insights, suggestions and time-tested methods to solve common problems and strengthen relationships. It touches on things like how to cope with your child’s negative feelings, how to express strong feelings without being hurtful, engaging your child’s willing cooperation, setting limits, using alternatives to punishment and understanding the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise. Most importantly, it helps parents learn keys to resolving family conflicts peacefully.
(Available for $15.99 at Barnes and Noble)
Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes
A candid feminist approach and personal deep dive into the science and culture of pregnancy and motherhood, Garbes offers a well-researched and compelling look at the physiology, biology and psychology of pregnancy and motherhood. With the curiosity of a journalist, the perspective of a feminist, and the characteristics of a mother, she explores the science behind common questions women have about everything from miscarriage to complicated labors and postpartum changes. Written with humor, appreciation, awe and a deep understanding of the female body, Garbes debunks common myths and offers guidance to women navigating one of the most profound changes in their lives… pregnancy.
(Available for $14.99 at Target)
No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
Magda Gerber compiles her twenty plus years of hands-on experience as a RIE teacher and child specialist to compile some of the best information pertaining to common toddler behaviors and how respectful parenting practices can be used to benefit both the parents and children. This book is a collection of Janet’s most popular articles about common toddler behaviors and how respectful parenting practices can benefit both the parents and children. It covers things like punishment, setting boundaries, tantrums, hitting and more.
(Available for $12 on Amazon)
Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right by Jamie Glowacki
Jamie is the potty training expert! In this book she outlines her proven 6-step plan to help you toilet train your toddler quickly and successfully. It isn’t theory or bribing and gimmicks---just real-word potty training information with all the questions and answers you need to potty train once and for all.
(Available for $12 at Walmart)
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This book is full of practical tools parents need to cope with conflict, reduce competition and encourage cooperation among siblings. Faber and Mazlish use humor and experiences raising their own children to explain how and when to intervene during fights, how to help children channel their hostility and frustration and explain how to treat children fairly.
(Available for $11 on Amazon)
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim freedom and space children need to flourish in a world that is filled with too much stuff, too many choices and too little time for most children. Many children become anxious, have trouble with friends and exhibit behavioral problems when life is too busy and complicated, so this book offers inspiration and ideas for how to streamline a peaceful environment at home (reducing “stuff”), how to establish rhythms and schedules, how to scale back on media and parental involvement and more.
(Available for $15 at Barnes and Noble)
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, M.D.
Neuroscientist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson explain the new science of how a child's brain is wired and how it matures. Different parts of a child's brain develop at different speeds and understanding these help you turn any tantrum, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child's brain to raise calmer, happier children. They offer age-appropriate strategies with clear explanations to help you explain things to your child and help them live more balanced, meaningful and connected lives.
(Available for $13 at Target)
Your Two-Year-Old by Louise Bates Ames & Frances L. Ilg
Are two-year-olds really as terrible as they say? Or does the world have a skewed view of this sometimes difficult age? Drs. Ames and Ilg, recognized worldwide as authorities on child behavior and development, offer parents practical advice and enlightening psychological insights for toddlers around two. What are they feeling? How do they see others around them? The authors use humor and compassion to describe the complexity behind two-year old growth trends, emotional and psychological maturation and more.
(Available for $15 on Amazon)
Precious Little Sleep by Alexis Dubief
Sleep is usually the number one concern for stressed-out modern parents (aside from feeding or development of course). And usually, there is no one sleep solution that works for every family. In this book you will find different clearly organized and deeply researched sleep methods so you can figure out what works best for your situation.
(Available for $15 on Amazon)
Parenting brings difference challenges at different ages and stages. And the struggles also differ from child to child and family to family. Use this list of parenting books for moms, dads and any guardian to help you navigate through your next parenting challenge!
Keep a few books handy in your diaper caddy so you can read on the go, during nap time or in a spare moment you might have sitting in the carpool lane or at tee ball practice.
Need a gift for a new mom to be? A parenting book can be a great gift idea too. Check out the other Top 5 things Every Mom Needs on Her Registry!