Books for raising toddlers?
January 3, 2018 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Our precious monster is 18 months old and developing so fast! We had a lot of books on what to do that first year, but less on what to do now. Help me find some.

I'm looking for books I can read, not podcasts and blogs.

Our first year, we had "What to Expect the First Year" and the Dr. Ferber sleep book, which were really helpful in terms of what to expect and how to manage the problems we had with getting her to sleep well.

As she moves well into toddlerhood, and the twos people keep warning me about, approach, I'd like some guides on how to manage what's happening. I'm interested in how to support development (especially speech development), but especially in discipline/dealing with her big emotions. My inclinations are toward books with a solid research/medical background if they exist. If there's a research backed "system" for handling two year old behaviors, that would be my dream book.

Obviously there's a huge diversity of approaches for any parenting question, but if a book worked for you, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos to Human Relations (10 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I quite liked No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame.
posted by toby_ann at 9:55 AM on January 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen is a good one too. As is The Incredible Years, Too Small to Fail and (tons of resources about child development and encouraging learning).
posted by goggie at 10:05 AM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Everything by Ellyn Satter about feeding children.

Also, do all the work that the Gottman Institute recommends for a healthy marriage. John Gottman’s initial research was on parent child relationships, and he found that kids raised in the most stable and loving parental relationships had great outcomes. Make your marriage a super duper priority so you can demonstrate for your daughter conflict resolution, appropriate touch, bids and responses, repairs, and all kinds of skills she’ll need all over the lifespan.

Listen to the One Bad Morher podcast from the begining. If you don’t think they’re funny, relatable don’t keep listening, but both women talk about raising kids from birth and their insights on all ages (that they’ve gotten to) are (in my childless opinion) comforting and great. They also do a good job of supporting each other and other parents. (They’re working on getting a more diverse pool of guests!)
posted by bilabial at 10:11 AM on January 3, 2018

I asked a similar question a couple years ago. Toddler 411 and The Happiest Toddler on the Block were pretty helpful. 1-2-3 Magic gets a lot of raves, and I second How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen (the original is worth a read but it isn't toddler-focused). No Bad Kids was decent but I didn't find it groundbreaking. There's some overlap in how to communicate with toddlers with a lot of these books, which I found helpful and reassuring.

I've personally found that the toddler years are considerably less mysterious than the first year. Not necessarily less difficult, but it feels a bit less like you need an operating manual for the day-to-day stuff. Your child isn't changing quite as dramatically as in the first year, and she's becoming more self-sufficient and figuring out how to communicate better, so you might find you don't need to consult the books as often.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:14 AM on January 3, 2018

The book How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success is research-based information for this exact age group. It does a very good job at both the big picture of brain and physical development of toddlers, as well as giving you tips for specific issues (how to handle tantrums, how to help your kid deal with transitions, how to handle picky eating, etc.). It's really good, although you might not always like the answers the book gives (e.g. you need to recognize that your toddler - even at 4 or 5 - is still a really little person, and is only beginning to learn how to cope with big emotions. It really is emotionally devastating to them that they can't wear the red shirt because it's dirty, and it's perfectly normal for a 4 year old to have a melt down over this sort of issue).

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind is also great, and research-based, but I felt like it had less "here's a typical problem parents have in [x area], here are strategies to deal with it". The author has follow-up books that I think handle that better.

The "Your One Year Old", "Your Two Year Old", etc. books by Louise Bates Ames are pretty dated in a lot of ways, but give a *great* overview of what you can expect your child to be capable of & what they'll be struggling with, development-wise. I like how it, for example, talks about the age of 18 months to 2 years as being the age with the greatest gap between what a child *wants* to do and what he's capable of actually achieving - which explains why toddlers this age get frustrated so easily.

I also appreciate Janet Lansbury (No Bad Kids), How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, Ellyn Satter, the Gottman Institute, and the One Bad Mother podcast, all mentioned above, but How Toddlers Thrive is the absolutely best "one book" for this age group.
posted by Jaclyn at 10:35 AM on January 3, 2018

I found the Ames books to be fantastic. I agree that they are somewhat dated, but when the book about three year old (your friend or enemy) suggested that the mother outsource the daily tasks that cause the three year old to scream and throw things (like bathing), I have never felt so relieved in my life. Not that I actually was going to do that but it helped to understand that I'm not alone and also how the kid was developing so that I could make sense of what was happening.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:07 AM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thirding the recommendation for the Ames books. I found it relatively easy to correct mentally for the datedness (if that makes sense: what I mean is, translate their dated concepts and language into something more appropriate for my values and principles) and their frankness and honesty about the practicalities of living with a small child were refreshing.

Ellyn Satter gets a lot of love, and a lot of people find her work to be extremely valuable, but I will say that her approach failed utterly with my extraordinarily selective eater. If she works for you, great, but do keep in mind that she doesn't work for all kids.
posted by spamloaf at 11:13 AM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Happiest toddler on the block was very helpful. I also recommend the Ames books for each age.
posted by gryphonlover at 12:52 PM on January 3, 2018

I second No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame.

The Happiest Toddler book had some very useful tricks, though I found it really annoying to read for some reason.

I'm a huge proponent of a blog called Hand in Hand and the approach they recommend. They have a useful facebook group, too. In general, I've found Facebook groups to be an interesting way to learn from other's experiences and challenges.

And I'm now reading Raising Human Beings, Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child. You might put this one on your list lower down, as it seems more applicable for later years. I think it's the source (or one of them) of the advice that I now hear a lot, about not using praise or time-outs. The book itself is a bit of a slog -- about six chapters of what not to do before you get to what it recommends doing. But it's been enlightening, and I'm hoping that its recommendations will be amazing after all the reading it's taken to get there.
posted by slidell at 9:51 PM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Soooooo, I'll own up to doing basically... no reading up about parenting stuff unless there's something actively going wrong. That said, having a "child-rearing desk reference" has been invaluable. I present the American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5. Highly recommended!
posted by duffell at 3:20 PM on January 4, 2018

« Older What's the best simple website construction and...   |   Korean drama prank video Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.