I get asked about what books I recommend all the time. Because you have so much time to read, right?? Well, if you have a moment, or if you're feeling stuck and need some professional help via written form, check out these titles. These are my "foundational" book recommendations.
- Brain Rules for Baby - John Medina
Easy to read, conversational-style writing, speaks to expecting parents' fears and concerns in relation to having a baby. Provides guidelines for early brain development and creating the environment that support optimal brain growth.
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn - Penny Simkin
Very comprehensive, cannonical book. Provides reliable information about all aspects of pregnancy, birth/labor, and the early infancy/newborn stage
- And Baby Makes Three - John and Julie Gottman
Great foundation for considering how baby will impact your partnership/relationship with your partner. Read it together, talk about how to build in habit and rituals of connection that can continue after baby arrives. Learn how to lean on each other in ways that feel helpful and restorative now so that those muscles can begin to flex and grow stronger
- Happiest Baby on the Block - Harvey Karp
Watch the movie. Simple, easy to follow steps on how to soothe baby in the first weeks of life. Watch this movie. Practice on a teddy bear now, feel like a superhero later.
Parents with children 0-5:
- No Bad Kids - Janet Lansbury
Helpful, practical guidance on managing difficult toddler behaviors. A great read even for parents with children under one year old, to set foundations in infancy and prepare parents for the normal challenging behaviors that are expected in this stage of development. Also provides guidance on how to create systems of parental response that do not elicit shame or perpetuate negative patterns with children.
- Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child - John and Julie Gottman
Lays out the importance of developing emotional intelligence for children and how parents can become "emotion coaches" and teach their children how to name, express, contain, and share their emotional experiences. Great for building effective communication skills in small children and provides language for parents who sometimes feel stuck in the face of their little one's big feelings.
- No Drama Discipline - Daniel Siegel
Brain/neuro-science backed guidance on creating boundaries and systems of discipline for children. Extremely helpful for all parents who want to learn the best way to support their child's brain development while in states of heightened emotion (when they know they are "in trouble")
- Janet Lansbury Blog
Sometimes more in depth than the book, answers parent questions with case examples and easy-to-use language.
Parents with older children:
- Parent Effectiveness Training - Thomas Gordon
Helpful for parents with older children (5+) who are developing more autonomy and self-determination. Parents learn how to speak to children so that they listen, and listen to children so that their children share more. This is the precursor to the title Talk so Kids Listen, and Listen so Kids Talk. Some of the material is also helpful for some younger children.
- Hold On to Your Kids - Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld
Great book on the importance of keeping and continuing to developmental parental attachments as children venture out into the world and seek out peer relationships. Guides parents on the normal developmental patterns of peer socialization and attachments, encouraging parent to support these relationships while simultaneously making sure the adult relationships children have are prioritized.