Navigating the parenting section of a bookstore can be a little overwhelming. There are so many parenting books available! That’s because they offer more than just facts about what it takes to help a little person grow. They also offer companionship, support, and a road map for parents who are looking for some guidance. And this can vary greatly depending on where you are in the parenting game. Each age and stage brings with it a whole new list of questions. For many, parenting books are also a source of reassurance: Is it really normal to be potty training for six months? (Just, you know, asking for a friend.) On top of it all, some parenting books have topped the best-seller list for decades, while others are hot off the press. How’s a new mom to choose?
To help, we’ve come up with a quick list that highlights the best of the classics—the books your parents read when you were little—and some modern books that take more of a 2018 approach to parenting.
Why it’s a classic: The “What to Expect Series” started with What to Expect When You’re Expecting and was the go-to for several generations of parents. It still holds up because it’s updated frequently, and the information is solid. From “Does my child have an ear infection?” to “When will my baby start walking?,” these books cover it all, with practical advice that’s broken down into easy-to-read sections that allow you to browse by topic.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Why it’s a classic: Chances are that you received this as a baby shower gift from a well-meaning aunt and then set it aside, thinking that you wouldn’t need it yet. Give it a try, even if you haven’t entered the oh-so-fun toddler years. Whether or not your child is talking, they’re always listening. The book, first published in 1980, has real-life explanations and examples that help to transform the behavior of toddlers, preschoolers, and even school-age kids.
Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Baby’s First Year by Ari Brown and Denise Fields
Why we like it: This practical, logical book is packed with information, mostly in a conversational question and answer format. The authors are funny and relatable, and the topics are comprehensive. One of the authors is a well-known pediatrician, so this book’s got some cred.
Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn – and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
Why we like it: Looking to give your child a leg up before they start school? Then don’t push the popular accelerated learning process. Instead, invest in some serious play! Since this book published in 2004, millions of parents have enjoyed the games in this book that are for creative play. Not a flashcard to be found.
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury
Why we like it: This book offers some sanity during the moments when you wondered why you thought it would be a great idea to grow a little human (don’t worry, we all feel that way at some point). You’ll learn how to connect with your child, even while navigating the terrible twos and threes together, with examples of respectful parenting that can help you continue mom-child bonding.
Parenting with Purpose: How to Raise Well-Behaved Children and Build a Strong Parent-Child Relationship by Nina V Garcia
Why we like it: If your child is acting up – or acting out – this book gives you the tools that you’ll need to discipline using connection, respect, and positive reinforcement. It’s the same kind of tools that adults are taught to use with other adults – and the author believes that kids deserve a similar approach with the mom-child relationship.