There’s a lot of value in reading through the different methods for wrangling raising toddlers. These perspectives can validate our own struggles, help us feel less isolated, and make it seem like we’re proactively seeking answers on days when all our toddlers do is melt down over sandwiches cut the wrong way.
Books can help us understand our children that little bit better, perhaps even facilitate their learning and development at times when our own sleep-deprived grip on parenting fails us.
Some books are written by child psychologists, others are penned by straight up comedians, and some are just the thoughts of well-meaning parents and educators. As you read, try not to take everything as gospel. Instead, try to remember that every child is different and you need to adopt the approaches that work for you.
Check out our top tomes for navigating the early years below.
The Emotional Life of a Toddler
Written by US-based psychiatrist Alicia F. Lieberman, The Emotional Life of a Toddler breaks down the physical and cognitive abilities of children aged one to three to reveal their varied and intense emotional life.
Drawing on her own extensive experience and research, Dr. Lieberman explores the burning questions we all have, such as why toddlers just love to say “no”.
With the help of numerous case studies that illuminate the fervent, contradictory, and deeply erratic behaviour of toddlers, Lieberman is able to give us a clear and helpful insight into our own crazy children. You know, so that we can understand that it ain’t easy being three. Buy the book here.
If you’re deep into toddler training then this book is for you. Aussie parenting expert Pinky McKay focuses on ways to deal with every stage of development, from communicating with your little person, to discipline and manners, good eating habits, toilet training, and effective nighttime routines. The book offers judgment-free advice for transforming the toddler years from purgatory to party time. Buy the book here.
Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic
Don’t we all feel that our three-year-old is the most spirited child on the block? Who are these ‘chilled’ toddlers? Lucky for us, teacher and author Mary Sheedy Kurcinka offers a straightforward perspective on understanding those toddlers with a little more oomph.
Spirited children (often considered strong-willed as adults but difficult as children) are more sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change. Kurcinka combines research with real life strategies for dealing with your child’s more temperamental moments and turning these intense traits into a hugely positive outcome for the whole family. Topics include sibling rivalries, bedtime, school, and a range of other situations. Buy the book here.
Toddlers are A**holes (It’s Not Your Fault)
Even the name of this book brings us comfort. Predicated on the idea that toddlers are villainous because their brains are developing so rapidly, the book explores themes of toddler ‘puberty’ that involve mood swings, lashing out, and general awfulness that are definitely “not your fault”.
Chapters cover everything from feeding, potty training, tantrums, and holidays. There’s even a wonderful (and super welcome) chapter titled, “How not to die inside”. Buy the book here.
The Happiest Baby on the Block
This international bestseller by paediatrician and child development guru Dr. Harvey Karp is all about promoting healthy sleep and soothing crying babies. Geared at early infants, the book is also relevant for calming older children, too.
Karp combines modern science with ancient wisdom to show parents exactly how to soothe a colicky baby, the five S’s that trigger the calming reflex, and how to approach the dreaded witching hour. Buy the book here.