These books help parents of newborns, toddlers, and school-aged kids alike

New and expecting parents have a lot of questions. However, so do parents of babies, toddlers, and young children. In the same way that new parents have never raised a newborn before, as the baby grows those same parents will be brand new to raising a child in each of life’s developmental stages.

While there are probably other experienced parents around to offer advice, sometimes parents want to figure things out on their own. If you’re in this boat, you might want to seek the advice of a good, old-fashioned parenting book. Below is a list of time-honored books that continue to offer some standard advice on parenting kids aged 0 – 12.

Traditional books on general newborn and baby care in the first year

At the top of the list of books to add to your bookshelf are traditional books on newborn and baby care. These books offer great advice on things like feeding, sleep practices, how to manage a fever, when to call the doctor, and newborn-to-baby growth stages.

There’s a reason that parents have trusted them for decades. Pick up a copy of some of them and find out why.

  • What to Expect The First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel – This book is a classic tutorial for new parents. It offers a range of advice, some of which fits certain parents better than others. But it is simple to use, easy to understand, and generally consistent with things that most pediatricians advise parents to do.
  • The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears, MD – For decades, Dr. Sears has been one of the most trusted names in babycare. This book provides detailed information on a range of topics and has been known to fit well when used at the same time as other parenting books.
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp – This book is so popular that hospitals have been known to keep it in stock to provide to parents after their delivery. One of its main focus areas is techniques to help parents manage infant crying and to understand how infant swaddling can soothe their bundle of joy.

Books to help babies sleep through the night

When babies are first born, they almost universally confuse their days and their nights. Transitioning to a steady pattern of sleeping through the night takes time and can be a frustrating process, especially since a baby’s night waking can make parents tired and emotional. These books can help make the transition easier.

PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
  • Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber – This popular book, considered by many to be the gold standard for helping babies to sleep soundly through the night, was the first to advocate the “cry it out” method.
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley – This often-referred-to sleep tutorial provides an alternative strategy for parents who don’t feel that the “cry it out” method is right for them.
  • The SleepEasy Solution by Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., and Jill Spivack, L.C.S.W. – This book promises to help get babies sleeping better in as little as three nights. It was written by the same psychotherapists that Hollywood celebrities turn to when they need help with their own baby sleep issues.

Looking for discipline tips? Try these books

As kids get older and become toddlers or young children, discipline becomes a larger factor in their healthy upbringing. There’s no one way to teach young children proper behavior, and options can be confusing and controversial. These books offer great suggestions on what to do.

  • Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen Ed.D – This beloved book, written by a mother of seven, advocates positive respect as a foundation to constructive, effective discipline.
  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – One of the toughest areas of discipline is when a power struggle raises its ugly head. This book offers a range of solutions to avoid that and to help build a positive relationship.
  • The Explosive Child: A New Approach For Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene Ph.D. – As children work to understand how to fit into the world, they can get frustrated, angry, and quickly out of control. This book provides strategies for helping them learn alternate coping while also helping parents maintaining their cool.

Books on other parenting situations

As any parent can tell you, there’s no end to the range of challenging situations that happen during the first years of a child’s life. Here are some well-regarded books on other topics parents may often face.

  • Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki – When it comes to potty training, there’s more than one way to reach the finish line. Generally, it is all about reinforcement, and this book offers helpful tips to make the process as smooth and easy as possible.
  • Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – Parents of more than one child have to teach kids to navigate one of their most important, lifelong relationships. It’s not always easy. This book can help.

A deeper dive – Related reading from the 101: