Unfortunately, children don’t come with printed instructions. Daily experience is the only real way to master the art of raising a child. However, there are books that provide reliable guidance and information to parents. These five books help parents navigate challenges, build stronger bonds, and gain a better understanding of your child’s inner world. They may not give you all the answers, but you can certainly incorporate elements that will allow you to grow in your role.
“Touchpoints” by T. Berry Brazelton and Joshua D. Sparrow
This two-volume set is a thorough course in early childhood development. The first volume covers birth to age three, while the second discusses ages three to six. In a readable and accessible style, the authors present information on the mental, behavioral, emotional, and physical development of children. Sections also examine some of the issues modern children face, like the effects of stress on families, the role of fathers in child development, and the epidemic of overscheduling. These books are a great reference for all caregivers.
“Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
In this classic parenting guide, the authors challenge guardians to see the benefits of having a strong-willed child. Characteristics like high-sensitivity, persistence, and intensity are reexamined as positive traits that can be used to help children achieve their best lives. The book also contains practical information on how to diffuse tantrums, smoothing out rough bedtimes, and what to do when your spirited child is having a hard time at school.
“Parenting From the Inside Out” by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell
Parenting is a learned skill. Our own experiences in early life have a profound influence on how we interact with our offspring. In this book, a child psychologist and early childhood expert combine neurology with behavioral science to create a unique understanding of parenthood. Readers explore how early childhood bonds affect neurobiology and how to make the most positive impression on their young ones.
“Ketchup is a Vegetable” by Robin O’Bryant
Humor can diffuse escalating situations, relieve stress, and distract us from unpleasant and unproductive emotions. When times get tough, this book will remind you that parenting is hard for everyone. The author shares personal stories of her struggle to maintain her family, household, and sanity. Every parent can relate to her hilariously realistic accounts.
“Glow Kids” by Nicholas Kardaras
Technology is a vital part of our daily lives. However, current research shows that unrestricted access to smartphones, laptops, and other screen devices is physically harmful to developing young brains. Dr. Kardaras presents his research on how screen time affects brain development and contributes to conditions like ADHD, depression, and increased aggression. The doctor also discusses the social, psychological, cultural, and economic factors that drive the trend toward screen addiction.
While no book can give you all the answers, works like these are a valuable source of guidance when you need it most. Read frequently to keep your perspective fresh, find new ideas, and strengthen your parenting skillsets.