Many people say to just go with your instincts and do what makes sense to you when it comes to raising kids, but honestly I don't always know. Or I might think that I know, but then I read something and realize that there is a better or easier way. I see so many parents that are confused, lost and frustrated with how to handle their crazy kids, and I want to avoid feeling that way as much as possible. I also want to avoid raising a little hellion. I don't feel like I need a book to tell me how to raise my kids, but I want to get a good feel for the different ideas, theories, and tricks out there. I feel confident disciplining and teaching a 10 year old that I can reason with and understand, but I don't feel so confident with a toddler. I want to have a good understanding of age appropriate behaviors, consequences, and expectations because I don't completely know where a 2 or 3 year old is at developmentally. I usually turn to Amazon reviews to find books that seem interesting and that I can relate to. Then I order the used copies because I can get several books for the price of one. Here is a little review of some of the books I have read so far:
Free Range Kids by Lenore Skinazy
I'm putting this at the top of my list because it is by far, the most helpful book I have read yet. I think that every parent raising kids of any age should read it. I don't want to raise my children constantly worrying and being in fear of their safety. This book has given me the confidence to let my kids have freedom, independence, and the kind of fun childhood I want for them, without always being afraid that something bad is going to happen. She uses facts, statistics, and humor to help you realize how important it is for kids to have some freedom and independence in order to prepare themselves for being adults.
The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy and The Girlfriends Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Lovine
If you are pregnant for this first time, this book is a must. It was very informative, especially about the stuff that no one talks about. But more importantly, I laughed my head off through the entire thing. Once Beckett was born, I read the second book, Surviving the First Year of Motherhood. I didn't find anything too informative in that one, but it was nice to know I wasn't alone and have some good laughs.
On Becoming Baby Wise and the Baby Wise series by Ezzo Bucknam
I have written several posts over the last year on this book. If you would like to read them just click the Baby Wise link on the right column. This book saved me during the newborn stages. I had no idea when or how much a baby eats or sleeps, and this book gave me some guidelines to follow. It was like my little baby manual. I didn't always do exactly as it said, but it sure was nice to have something to refer to. I read it when I was first pregnant, and I think it would have been more helpful if I would have waited until the end of my pregnancy. I had a hard time relating to it or really understanding it, until I had a baby. Once I did, I referred to it often. Even more helpful than the book are the Baby Wise communities online. There are Facebook groups and blogs that I don't know what I would have done without. There are also lots of anti-Baby Wise communities out there. I don't think this style works for everyone, which is fine, but it definitely worked well for us. I also read Baby II and Pre-Toddler Wise. These books were ok, but after a few chapters I just skimmed to the end. The information in them was good, but the first book is definitely the most helpful.
Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley
This is another book I have already written a lot about (see the link on the right). Many people are skeptical, but all I know is Beckett is such a good little eater and I think Baby-Led Weaning deserves a lot of the credit. Also, he is mine and Mark's son so of course he loves food, but he is great about trying new things and eating a variety of foods.
Elevating Childcare by Janet Lansbury
I wish I would have read this book right after Beckett was born rather than waiting until he was a little older. There was nothing very earth-shattering in this book, but it gave me a new perspective on really enjoying and taking time caring for a little baby. Activities like diaper changes, bath time and meal time are often looked at as tasks that need to get finished as quickly as possible. This book helps you see those things as a time to nurture and bond with your little ones. There were a few things in it that seemed silly to me, but overall it was a good, stressless read.
The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp
Of all the books I have read, these two have been my least favorite. The Happiest Baby on the Block had some good ideas for calming fussy babies that could have been condensed into a 2 page brochure. Instead, it's a 100 page book that just drags on and on and on. I'm in the middle of reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and this one seems to have more useful information than the first, but it's very repetitive has some definite dragging qualities so I am now in skim mode.