Jenny Neill from Connect Emotional Education shares five books that can help you to better understand your tiny human. *this blog post contains affiliate links – if you use our links to buy the books mentioned here, we receive a small commission.
You’ve got through the pregnancy part, the birth bit, the first year (woohoo!) and now you’re into your little one’s second year (how did that happen!). You might have a two-year-old and be reading this – you’ve got even further along – but with increased age comes greater challenges.
The baby books didn’t tell us that they would develop their own personalities and preferences and, shock horror, not do everything we ask them to do in a timely manner. I went into our local bookshop to see what books there were available on parenting a toddler – there were around 10. Online shopping offers an even more bewildering range, so how do you know which one to choose?
The following five books are ones that I have read or are highly recommended by Cheshire Parenting Collective community members. Check out Cheshire Parenting Collective’s online catalogue if you’d like to borrow one. If you are wondering how to fit reading in while parenting a toddler and juggling one hundred other things, then audio books might be the way forward!
So much has been discovered about the human brain in the last twenty or so years. That’s why you will find most of these books talking about parenting in relation to what we know about child development and how our brains develop over time.
ToddlerCalm is a comprehensive guide to some of the common challenges that toddlers and toddler parents face. The basis of the approach is firmly rooted in helping parents understand child neuropsychology and broader child psychology thus giving realistic expectations of what we can expect from our toddlers and not just what we think they should be doing.
Using the CRUCIAL (Control, Rhythm, Understanding, Communication, Individual, Avoiding, Love) approach the book works towards helping parents to form their own action plan for their own parenting concerns. Above all, I know that it has been reassuring for many parents to know that their child is acting in a developmentally appropriate way as well as having some strategies for how to deal with typical
The tagline to this book is ’12 proven strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind’. This is a great book that will help throughout your parenting journey. There isn’t lots it that is toddler specific but the simple way that Drs Siegel and Bryson explain the emotions in the brain is, in my opinion, the crucial part of the book which makes lots of toddler behaviour fall into place.
A short video explanation by Dr Siegel can be found here:
It’s a very accessible book with pictures and scenarios of how you might react and what a better response might be. I know lots of parents find this useful.
This is another book that combines scientific research with the author’s clinical experience as a child and family psychologist to offer parents a practical resource with effective strategies. It shows parents why connection and communication are so important when helping to guide our children and offers advice on how parents can regulate their children’s behaviours in constructive ways.
The book is highly regarded by Dr Lapointe’s fellow parenting authors.
This book has been around for a while and is a classic when helping parents to understand effective communication with children. It has been adapted into teenage-specific and young child-specific versions. The young child book (How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King) deals with children from 2 – 7 years and starts with a great quote from Peggy O’Mara, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice,” which is so true and is the premise of all the books.
It provides parents with a toolkit of communication strategies such as ‘acknowledge feelings with words’. It is then organised into chapters based on common, everyday challenges faced by parents of young children.
This is quite a new book but deserves a mention. I was lucky enough to see Dr Laura Jana talk at a conference last year. She is a paediatrician who runs a large daycare centre in the US so she really knows about young children. Her book is such an interesting one: it borrows from the business world (to consider the skills that children will need to grow to be able to participate in adult life) and combines the science of wellbeing with parenting.
I include it in this list as I think it might really speak to some parents who are firmly embedded in the business world whilst also needing a guide on how to adjust to their relatively new role of parent. It takes a skills-based approach to parenting,
looking at the key skills (or Qi skills as they are called in the book) that children need to develop to become well-rounded individuals and then examining what this looks like in early childhood. It’s a very comprehensive book, offering lots of practical examples of ways that you can support your child.
One thing that all the books in this list have in common is that they are taking a long-term view of each child’s development, helping to lay foundations for lifelong communication, problem-solving and relationship building that will support our children into adulthood.
When you’re dealing with a ‘wild’ toddler it is easy to slip into thinking that you are somehow ‘failing’ as a parent, which can lead to resorting to stricter or harsher ways of communicating. Taking a long-term approach and arming yourself with a range of strategies can really help to get through those tough, toddler times. Research and strategies from most of these books form the basis of the Understanding Your Toddler workshop that I designed and deliver on behalf of Cheshire Parenting Collective.