Even before we were ready to have kids I loved learning about parenting and child development. I still do. I find it fascinating as well as comforting because I see how many different approaches there are, i.e. there's no one right way. I love the philosophy and practice of Montessori, which is based in respect for the child as an individual and in creating a prepared environment that enables independence, and so I love reading about that as well. I'm also bolstered by any advice that sincerely acknowledges how difficult, frustrating and absurdly hilarious parenting can be.
And so here's a round up of favorite books, blogs and podcasts on parenting that have shaped my parenting and that I continue to turn to, either for advice, support or just a laugh:
it's been awhile since I read this but I'm bookmarking it for a reread. The author advocates for creating simplified environments (i.e. not a lot of clutter) as well as simplified schedules to ensure that kids have unstructured free time. These philosophies align with the way Chris and I are approaching our household environment and schedules.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
I definitely foresee myself rereading this from time to time as my kids get older. I really liked the emphasis on empowering children to develop the skills of empathy and problem solving instead of immediately jumping in to solve their problems for them.
Siblings Without Rivalry
I read this when I was expecting Cedric and will also reread this at some point. I liked the practical, implementable approaches to sibling disagreements and some of the other insights, such as not characterizing one child or the other in defined roles ("he's the sensitive one" or "she's the athletic one" etc.) which can be easy to do and seem harmless. One warning, the book does include many accounts of really difficult or unhappy sibling relationships collected by authors from their workshops over the years. They aren't terrible but it was sad although I would still highly recommend this book (and remember that I'm super sensitive).
I love the concept of intentional, professional motherhood. I think this is a good read for both working and stay at home parents but it might be a bit more geared towards parents who stay at home in term of structuring your days.
tackles the types of parenting questions that the media love to sensationalize by presenting scientific fact, such as "do siblings have a positive or negative effect on their siblings?" and "is there any significant difference in development between children who go to daycare versus stay at home with a parent?" I read this before I became pregnancy but still find myself returning to things I learned.
Last Child in the Woods
discusses on the vital role that nature plays in childhood and the importance of spending significant, unstructured time outdoors. I grew up playing in the wooded acre yard at my parents house and in the bramble and trees in the empty lots next door and this book spoke strongly to my belief of the necessity of spending time outdoors, especially for children.
The Happiest Baby on the Block
describes the four S's (swaddling, shushing, sucking, swinging) as practical and easy to implement tactics for calming your baby. I would also recommend the video as it's very helpful to watch someone practice what they recommend. I also found the concept of the "fourth trimester" very insightful.
The Happiest Toddler on the Block
I haven't read this book but Chris and I did watch the DVD and found the concept of mirroring toddler emotions as a way to help calm them down helpful and frequently effective with Dashiell.
How We Montessori blog
has tons of ideas for Montessori activities, parenting approaches and prepared environments plus posts on explaining the reasoning behind different aspects of Montessori philosophy.
Sara's parenthood posts on Feeding the Soil
are honest and acknowledge both the joys and frustrations of parenting. Sara is also passionate about Montessori education (she directs the first charter Montessori school in Austin!) and so her posts also include a lot of information about the practice and philosophy of Montessori, which I love and we implement in our home. Fun fact: Sara and I originally "met" through her blog but have since become real-life friends and occasionally get together when I visit Austin.
And Sara's new Purposeful Parenthood
online course is currently open for registration! I haven't taken this yet but years ago I took Sara's Purposeful Conception class and loved it.
Mom and Dad Are Fighting
is one of my favorite podcasts and I look forward to new episodes every other week. I love the wry honesty of the hosts Alison and Dan, the variety of topics they cover, the parenting triumphs and fails segment and the experts they invite on as guests.
Janet Landsbury's Unruffled
is a show that seems to be mostly focused on toddler behavior (perfect!). I'm an occasional listener but each time I listen I hear a gem of advice that I carry with me like, [paraphrasing...] "You have to get comfortable with your child not always being happy and getting what they want."
The Mom Hour
is hosted by two lovely ladies who I consider internet friends, Meagan Francis and Sarah Powers, who is a former Phoenix-area resident. I love their honesty about parenting, obvious friendship and positivity.
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I'd love to know your favorite parenting resources, please share in the comments!