Being a parent to a toddler is an emotional roller coaster.
One moment, they are loving, cuddly and happy to play. The next, they are crying over the wrong coloured juice cup or because they can’t get their own way.
Despite their age, toddlers are complex little people who are often misunderstood by their parents.
But how can we understand them and their needs, especially when they can’t always articulate their point or communicate back?
Vacancy.Care knows every parent wants to know the best way to parent their child and raise them to be confident, caring and the best person they can be. We’ve put together a list of books on raising toddlers to help you navigate the journey.
Many of these books are so much more than ‘how-to’ manuals, with scientifically proven facts and information about toddler development, aimed at giving parents a better understanding of how the toddler’s brain works.
This article takes a look at some of the best books for raising toddlers available for parents.
Toddler behaviour books
Toddlers are known for their curiosity, intuitive nature, cheeky smiles…but also their inability to reason, frustration and tantrums.
It is hard for a growing child to make sense of the world as their little bodies and brains continually develop. So what is the best way to control their often challenging behaviour?
The below books take a look at toddler behaviour. Each offer strategies and activities to help parents reason with their child and understand why toddlers don’t always do as they are told.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Neuropsychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson take a look inside the developing brain of children. It is a must-read for any parent who is keen to learn more about why children act the way they do.
The authors explain what is happening in the toddler’s developing brain that results in meltdowns, tantrums and that absolute lack of reasoning.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind offers parents strategies for surviving the toddler years, plus activities for helping children develop healthy brain development.
How to Con Your Kid by David Borgenicht and James Grace
How to Con Your Kid aims at tackling a toddler’s stubborn ways. The authors provide fun and creative ways of getting a toddler to do what the parent wants, while forcing the child to do something outside their comfort zone.
It is all about learning some sneaky ways to ‘con’ children into doing exactly what parents want during meals, at bedtime and bathtime, and any other time they won’t do as they are told.
Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn
This book by educator and author Alfie Kohn asks one very big question:
“What do kids need–and how can we meet those needs?”
Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason offers parents the idea that perhaps they should work with their children, as opposed to simply dictating to them or dishing out punishment.
The book focuses on an approach of acceptance and unconditional love, rather than teaching children that they must earn a parent’s approval.
This is, of course, not the message a parent is intending to send, so parents are provided with alternatives to conventional punishments, along with strategies for learning how to work with their children.
Best parenting books for toddlers
There are parenting books for all stages of raising: from conception, right up to trying to get adult children to leave the family home.
The best parenting books for toddlers are those that focus on strategies to help parents cope with the difficult toddler years, and provide parents with alternatives to punishment and yelling to control behaviour. Some of these are outlined below.
The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One-to-Four-Year-Old: Revised Edition by Harvey Karp
Want a happier toddler? Start reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block before your baby reaches the stage of a toddler.
Of course, that is not always possible, but paediatrician, child development expert and author Dr Harvey Karp will give parents the tools they need to prepare for the toddler years well in advance.
Dr. Karp uses the green/yellow/red light strategy to help parents instantly diffuse a tantrum, calm the child’s mood and even learn how to prevent an outburst before it has even begun.
The outcome is fewer tantrums, less shouting and yelling and happier children and parents.
Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
From the moment children are born, parents are hounded with information about bonding with them as babies. But how do you build meaningful relationships as they grow into strong-willed, challenging toddlers and beyond?
Heart to Heart Parenting focuses on creating a meaningful, joyous bond with your child. Grille introduces parents to techniques that focus on building this connection, as opposed to shaming, punishment and manipulation.
The book takes a look at practical techniques to help parents support their children as they explore their world.
All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior
This book is for every parent who has ever wondered why just how much a child has reshaped their very being, or is questioning their parenting choices after a tough day.
All Joy and No Fun takes a look at how children bring about change, whether it be to marriage, employment, friendships, other relationships, hobbies and of course, to their sense of self.
Rather than providing advice and strategies, Senior uses history, psychology, sociology plus real, ‘ordinary’ families to tell lively stories to make readers rethink the way they think about parenthood.
She also reminds parents of the ways children deepen our existence and bring overwhelming joy and purpose to the lives of parents and families.
The Mighty Toddler, by Robin Barker
Robin Barker’s The Mighty Toddler is a complete guide to ages 1 to 3 years, or the toddler years.
Along with information about age group milestones, The Mighty Toddler contains an ‘ABC of toddler behaviour’ and appropriate parent responses, plus a guide to daily toddler care, toddler health, common medical conditions and illnesses.
It has everything parents need to start toilet training, swimming and even provides information about allergies and food intolerances.
Barker provides parents with practical advice about how to survive day to day life with a toddler or two.
The First Three Years, Revised and Updated Edition: From Infant to Toddler – Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child By Jane Nelson, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy
This book is an updated and revised edition of the popular Positive Disciple: The First Three Years, which addressed the expectations a child is capable of developmentally, and the appropriate discipline required.
The First Three Years, Revised and Updated Edition: From Infant to Toddler – Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child looks deeper into these expectations and provides practical suggestions and advice related to raising a confident, capable child.
The First Three Years takes a look at how parents can identify their child’s disposition and character traits, recognise developmental milestones or readiness and avoid the scrimmages that accompany these challenging times.
Toddler discipline books
Toddler discipline is a divisive issue for parents. Do parents dish out punishment such as a time-out? Use positive reinforcement, or sticker charts? And what is the problem with being reactive when a child is acting poorly?
There are literally thousands of toddler discipline books available. Here is just a snippet of some of these available to parents.
Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage: Effective Strategies to Tame Tantrums, Overcome Challenges, and Help Your Child Grow, by Aubrey Hargis
Mother of two Aubrey Hargis draws on her own experiences with toddlers to help parents understand toddlers and their ‘behavioural challenges’, while also fostering important life skills toddlers need to become independent.
Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage offers proven discipline strategies and techniques to help parents and children grow closer, despite those challenging toddler years.
1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting by Dr. Thomas Phelan
Can discipline really be as simple as counting to 3? Dr. Thomas Phelan thinks so.
In his book 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting Dr Phelan uses the 3-step discipline method to deal with the everyday battles parents face with their children, such as bedtime, bathtime, tantrums and bad behaviour.
1-2-3 Magic is a modern-day manual that helps parents take back control. Learn how to cut out that obnoxious attitude, diffuse tantrums, meltdowns, sibling fighting and live happier lives without the drama.
Best parenting books for preschoolers
As children grow from toddlers to preschoolers, dealing with their behaviour and tantrums doesn’t always get any easier for parents. In this section, we take a look at some of the best parenting books for preschoolers.
The Secret of Happy Children: Why Children Behave the Way They Do – and What You Can Do to Help Them to Be Optimistic, Loving, Capable, and Happy by Steve Biddulph
Parenting expert and prolific writer Steve Biddulph give parents all the information they need to raise happy, healthy and confident children from the early years through to teens.
The book is packed with familiar conversations, scenarios and cartoons which parents will find relatable. It provides advice about negative language, and its impact on children, dealing with shyness, the difference between soft love and tough love and so much more.
Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Giving a child a sibling or two is the natural process for so many parents, but what about when they just don’t get along?
Siblings Without Rivalry is all about the daily or ongoing battles between siblings, and why some siblings fight…constantly.
Written by two mothers, Siblings WIthout Rivalry provides parents with the tools they desperately need to reduce competition between siblings, stop the arguments, encourage them to cooperate and be happy with the special bond they share.
How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King
How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen is all about communicating with children aged 2 -7 years. Just how do parents respond when a child won’t do as they are told or misbehaves?
Communication with children is hard, especially when they can’t always articulate their problem. This book will give parents the best responses to everyday scenarios, conflicts and conversations.
The book also has a chapter dedicated to communicating with children with special needs.
Raising toddlers books
Raising toddlers requires a holistic approach that doesn’t just focus on discipline.
Young children need love and nurturing, stimulation and attention, but what’s the best way to raise a toddler while juggling the pressures of parenthood, work, other families, making time for your spouse….
These raising toddlers books offer parents holistic strategies for bringing up children while making time for whatever else is important to your life.
Fathering your Toddler: A Dad’s Guide to the Second and Third Years by Armin A. Brott
Fathering your Toddler: A Dad’s Guide to the Second and Third Years is a somewhat unusual ‘how to’ guide for parents, in that it is written for dads, by a dad.
Father of 3 Armin A. Brott takes an engaging, positive approach to raising toddlers using personal experiences, advice on everyday situations and even how the child’s physical development can mirror the father’s emotional and psychological development.
The book includes advice for dads of all ages, stages of life and circumstances, including older dads, single dads, stay-at-home dads, stepdads and so many more.
Dads can find advice about everyday challenges, such as helping children grieve after death, safety and caring for children with special needs.
Playful Parenting, by Lawrence J. Cohen
Playful Parenting is all about the art of play with children.
It is about building a connection with children based on play. Get down to their level to play, laugh, be silly and subconsciously nurture close connections by joining in play.
The idea is to follow the child’s lead, build confidence and solve behavioural problems as you nurture your relationship through daily play.
Toddler tantrum books
If there is one thing toddlers do well, it is a temper tantrum. For parents at the end of their tether when it comes to tantrums, these dedicated toddler tantrum books can provide practical advice, tips and strategies to diffusing tantrums.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, by Dr Laura Markham
Every parent will admit to yelling at their child, to losing the power struggle with their child.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids is the ultimate guide for any parent who is tired of the
struggles, tantrums, and the punishments that never work. This book provides parents with a number of practical strategies and tools to transform the way you parent in a positive way.
Parents will learn how to make a real connection with their child. They will also look at their own emotions to understand how to parent within healthy limits.
Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules, by Jo Frost
Jo Frost is best known for her role as the UK’s Supernanny, the no-nonsense nanny with a tough approach to children’s behaviour.
In Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules, Frost takes a look at the underlying reasons why children tantrum and display negative behaviour, and how to identify these reasons.
She teaches parents how to not only diffuse tantrums, but also how to tackle stubborn behaviour without being reactive.
Parents are provided with practical strategies for common toddler challenges, including sleep, mealtimes, sibling squabbles, manners and learning.
Raising toddlers is no easy feat, but there are plenty of books out there to give you a helping hand.
You may need to read more than one book to find the right advice for you and your family. As with any parenting advice, what works for one family may not work for yours.
At the end of the day, whatever you do to get through the toddler years, just know you have done your best for you and your child.
Vacancy.Care hopes this article has given you some helpful resources to get started on your path to raising toddlers.