People love to give unsolicited parenting advice, but the wisdom from your mother-in-law or your great aunt Bertha may not be what you need when your new baby refuses to sleep through the night or you’re struggling to get your teenager to do his homework. For that kind of advice, you want to turn to the experts. To help you up your parenting game, we’ve rounded up some of the best books from the top parenting experts. These must reads offer something for parents at every stage in the game.
Parenting Babies and Toddlers
Call Dr. Harvey Karp the baby soother. His book The Happiest Baby on the Block provides strategies to help calm crying babies and provide parents with peace of mind. Best of all, the advice in the book can also help babies sleep during the night. Score!
Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina provides parents with advice on a child’s brain development and shares strategies on how handle emotions, teach self-control, and even how to take steps during pregnancy to improve a child’s future development.
Even more than a happy baby or a smart baby, parents want a baby who sleeps through the night. Dr. Robert Buckman and Gary Ezzo help make that happen through their book On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep. The methods used in the book are sometimes seen as controversial, but many parents have experienced their positive effects. Look for ways to make the suggestions in the book fit well for your family.
Although the title sounds questionable, Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid by Shaun Gallagher actually helps parents connect with their babies and promote emotional, social, and intellectual development in babies. Many experiments relate to common milestones babies need to reach and require very few materials and little preparation to implement.
There’s no magic formula for potty training, but the advice found in Jamie Glowaki’s Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right comes close. The book helps parents determine if their kids are ready for potty training, and then shares a proven 6-step method to get the job done.
Parenting All Ages
Teaching kids goes beyond the basics of reading and arithmetic. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson helps parents learn how their children’s brains are wired and maximize their learning potential. Best of all, the strategies found in the book can help with behavior management and discipline.
As parents, it’s often difficult to communicate with kids, especially when they’re unhappy or choose to disobey instructions. “Didn’t I tell you to pick up your shoes three times?!” Adele Faber’s How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk helps improve the lines of communication between kids and parents. Advice includes tips for peaceful conflict resolution.
Some kids and teens get good grades at school and show exceptional intelligence, but when it comes to completing everyday tasks, their brains seem to shut down. Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare focuses on executive functioning skills, regular habits of the mind that help kids focus and complete daily routines.
Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze takes the principles found in Dave Ramsey’s popular Financial Peace University and adapts them to help parents talk to their kids about money. The book covers topics such as giving kids an allowance (or commission), teaching them to give, spend, and save, and how to model strong money habits
Christian parents may find help in Paul David Tripp’s Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family which encourages parents to see the bigger picture and get away from the stressful to-do list filled method of parenting. Even non-Christian parents may find the book helpful to regain some of the joy that can be found in parenting.
Parenting can often be a thankless job and, sometimes, you can’t help but feel like you’re dooming your children to spend hours on a psychiatrist’s couch as adults. You’re Doing a Great Job!: 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn helps give parents a boost of confidence. There are plenty of things you’re doing well, such as the fact that you left the house with everyone clothed. And if you didn’t do that, well maybe there’s something else in the book to cheer you up.