Our Favorite Parenting Books: 2019 Edition

There’s no better time than Fall to cozy up with a good book.

We are huge book lovers in our family; at any given point during the day, one of us can be found reading. Whether it’s a drool-safe board book, an early reader chapter book, or the latest bestselling novel, books of all kinds are permanent fixtures in our home.

Is there such thing as too many books? Our crowded, sagging bookshelves say yes, but we say no. We love that our kids have developed an early love of literature. As a homeschooling family, we use books as not just entertainment but as tools for research and learning. We’re on a first name basis with our local librarians, but we have still managed to accumulate a hefty personal library of our own - especially when it comes to children’s books.

Beginning in the baby years and moving through adulthood, learning through reading is a lifelong journey. And because reading is only as fun as sharing your latest favorite read with a friend, we are very excited to begin a little mini blog series showcasing some of our favorite books!

For the first post in the series, we’d love to share a few of our favorite books that have shed some light on this crazy thing called parenting. From child development to sibling rivalry to discipline and beyond, you’ll find a variety of topics and “parenting styles” covered in this list. Among these parenting books, we’ve found some of the most helpful advice and wisdom to get us through even the most challenging stages of parenting.

Disclaimer: As with most things in life, there is no perfect way to go about parenting, and there certainly isn’t one book that gets it all right. What works for one child surely won’t work for another, and goodness knows there is a plethora of “parenting philosophies” out there to choose from. Still, it sure does help to get some advice from the “experts” when you’re in need! We hope you find something useful that works for your family in this list.

Without further adieu… here are a few of our favorite picks for parenting books to get reading this Fall!

The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

By Daniel J. Siegel

Top of the list because this book really is extraordinary at explaining the science behind how our children’s brains are wired and how it matures. This New York Times Bestseller by Siegel, a neuropsychiatrist, and Bryson, a parenting expert, offers a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies for fostering healthy brain development. This book is a wonderful resource to keep around. Filled with useful illustrations, The Whole-Brain Child demonstrates strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and cultivates healthy emotional and intellectual development. Big fans over here!

1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

by Thomas Phelan and Tina Payne Bryson

One of the first parenting books recommended to me, 1-2-3 Magic has been a super popular choice among experienced parents for decades. Phelan has developed a quick, simple, and scientifically proven way to curb obnoxious tantrums, whining, back talk, and more, while strengthening the bond with your child. Sound amazing? Wait ‘til you read the reviews. Dr. Phelan also covers establishing positive routines around dinnertime, bedtime, homework and mornings.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids

By Kim John Payne

This is a lovely book full of dozens of suggestions on how to create a calmer, happier family environment. Payne is a highly regarded Waldorf educator, but you need not be a Waldorf enthusiast to benefit from this book. Among the topics discussed are methods of streamlining your home environment (less toys!), developing rhythms and rituals, scaling back on media, and more. This book is the equivalent of an Epsom salt bath for parents. If you love this one, be sure to check out Payne’s other discipline-focused book, The Soul of Discipline.

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting

by John Gottman, PhD

Dr. Gottman is an acclaimed psychologist and researcher best known for his fantastic body of work on adult relationships and marriage, but this book is a must read for any parent who has an interest in equipping their child with tools to build emotional intelligence. I think that is all of us! This groundbreaking book is a guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotional world.

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

By Dr. Shefali Tsbary

This widely popular book advocates thinking about parenting from a perspective of mindfulness. Dr. Tsbary encourages parents to look within to establish a relationship of wholeness first, establishing that as a foundation for their relationship with their child, and effectively shifting away from a “parent-to-child” approach to more of a “parent-with-child” relationship.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Called “the ultimate parenting bible,” this bestselling book has more reviews than just about any of the other books on this list. Faber and Mazlish are internationally acclaimed experts on parent-child communication. In this well-loved classic they offer innovative suggestions to help you cope with your child’s negative feelings, express your own feelings without being hurtful, set firm limits, maintain goodwill, resolve family conflicts peacefully and more. It is worth its weight in gold and definitely a must-read!

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Another great choice from Faber and Mazlish. Just as you get your rhythm down with one child, along comes a sibling to spice things up. This #1 New York Times Bestselling book is a guide to reducing hostility and generating goodwill between siblings. Chock full of tools to cope with conflict, encourage cooperation, reduce competition, and make it possible for children to experience the joys of that special relationship.

Just looking at this list of titles makes me feel more calm, balanced, and ready to navigate the next tantrum that comes my way. We hope this list of favorite parenting books gives you something to add to your wish list or library holds list!

Have you read a parenting book that changed your life for the better? Leave a comment below and share the wealth!


Sarah Smith

Sarah is a copywriter and homeschooling mama of 3 in East Nashville, TN. When she's not writing or cleaning her walls with Magic Eraser, she can usually be found with her nose in a book, petting a stray cat, or concocting organic lotions & potions in her kitchen.

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