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October 2, 2010 / MrsH

Top Five Favorite Parenting Books

Simplicity Parenting is an overarching belief in the power of less, a way that we strive to live our lives.  Payne lays out different ways to simplify our children’s lives, from reducing toys to making mealtimes simpler, the author discusses insightful ways to lessen the clutter in our parenting environment.  While some of it seems a bit extreme, the more I’ve started working on this approach, the more I see the beauty of it.

Playful Parenting – this style, whenever we muster the humor and playfulness to use it, certainly helps us stay connected to our kids.  They love to giggle and the more fun we have, the easier it is to get our “work” done.  This book has information on why playing with our children matters, as well as a wealth of ideas on how to both play with them and inject playfulness into even the mundane moments of our days.

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline – the main theme here is that we can’t teach our children that which we have not learned ourselves.  Bailey lays out a workable approach for disciplining ourselves as people and parents and details ways to then teach these skills to our children.  It’s a humbling read and I faced numerous moments where I had to admit I’m not as mature as I hoped I was.  It’s a book that gives concrete ideas on how to use positive, love-based parenting strategies and how to identify and avoid both permissive and aggressive parenting.

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, and Listen so Kids Will Talk – a classic, and the first book I ever purchased.  Ten years ago.  I know… the title pretty much says it all.  It’s based on a respectful way of communicating with our kids, giving many suggestions for avoiding power struggles and those stand-offs that are oh so common.  The same authors also wrote Siblings Without Rivalry, and while there isn’t much new stuff in that one, I like the added sibling twist.

Sleepless in America – while not technically a parenting book, I put it here because it has transformed the way we parent around sleep.  Kurcinka teases out the connection between poor behavior and missed sleep.  She teaches her readers how to reduce tension during the day to improve night-time sleep.  How to set our children’s body clocks, and the ways temperament interacts with sleep patterns.    Full of both theoretical and practical information, this book goes well beyond “Cry it Out or not?” and instead focuses on what is necessary for a good night’s sleep.

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