Books on How to Raise Kids

by Maggie McCormick
Parenting books can teach you how to handle your little ones.

Parenting books can teach you how to handle your little ones.

No one is born knowing all the answers to every child rearing situation, despite what your mother-in-law says. You can solve your problems by talking to professionals, like teachers or pediatricians, getting advice from friends or visiting experts' websites. According to Hart Research Associates, 78 percent of parents have made use of parenting books, though only 38 percent use them regularly. If you're going to turn to books, it's smart to find one that fits your needs.


At the very basic level, all parents want to know what to expect with their child's development and whether their child is on track. Your child might only go to his doctor once a year, so books on child development can help you spot potential problems earlier. They'll also help you to see that the behavior you find so annoying -- temper tantrums, lying and picky eating, for example -- are completely normal. The "What to Expect" series that you may have used during your pregnancy also offers "What to Expect the Toddler Years." Alternatively, you might enjoy "Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care" by Benjamin Spock or "The Baby Book" by William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N. "What's Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life" by Lise Eliot offers an interesting look at how your child's mind is developing.


Getting a little one to sleep is a common problem for parents, and there are many books written on this topic alone. In "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Richard Ferber, M.D., you'll learn about the process often referred to as "Ferberizing," which helps you to train your child to go to sleep on her own while still respecting her needs. "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth, M.D., focuses on recognizing your child's natural sleep signals and following through on them to promote lifelong healthy sleep habits.

Discipline and Behavior

Discipline is a hot topic issue for many parents, as the toddler years are frequently trying. Though many parents still use spanking as a means of discipline, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using "gentle discipline" techniques instead. "1-2-3 Magic" by Thomas W. Phelan specifies a way to effectively use the "time out" strategy. "Parenting With Love and Logic" by Foster Cline and Jim Fey focuses on using natural and logical consequences for bad behavior, such as feeling hungry after not finishing dinner.


Toddlers can't entertain themselves all the time. Part of being a good parent is planning the right activities to develop your child's intellectual and physical abilities. "Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder" by Mariah Bruehl and "Fun On the Run" by Cynthia L. Copeland are good for this, according to Parenting. You might also try "The Toddler's Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 1 1/2- to 3-Year-Old Busy" by Trish Kuffner or "Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child" by Maja Pitamic.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

Photo Credits

  • Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images