The 8 Best Parenting Books for Toddlers

Handle the next tantrum like a pro

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Terrible twos? Terrific twos? Toddlers are wonderful beings, that can be fun, frustrating, challenging, and hilarious all at the same time. As young kids grow, toddlerhood is an important time of exploration.

There are many parenting books that can help guide new (or seasoned) parents on how to raise toddlers into helpful, kind, and smart children. Depending on your mentality, lifestyle, and needs, choose a book that fits your family.

Our Top Picks
Her five-step program is easy to digest and zeroes in on key problem areas including sleep, food, learning, play, and manners
Best for Spirited Tots:
Raising Your Spirited Child at Amazon
Offers a host of advice and strategies for successfully interacting with and disciplining your spirited child.
Best with a Simple Concept:
1-2-3 Magic at Amazon
With a focus on positive routines, the book highlights how to improve behavior around themes like mealtime and morning routines
Best Positive Discipline:
No-Drama Discipline at Amazon
The book is sprinkled with facts about brain development and breaks down what kinds of discipline is best for each age and stage
Best Montessori Approach:
The Montessori Toddler at Amazon
With a focus on curiosity, learning, respect, and discovery, the book is chock full of information
Best for Gifted Toddlers:
Parenting Gifted Kids at Amazon
With clear and practical advice, it does extend past the toddler years, so it’s a helpful guide as your gifted child ages
Relatable, comforting, and LOL funny, this book is for those with a sense of humor that doesn’t mind some gross-out commentary
Packed with funny commentary and real-life situations, this book is a useful guide for parents of two toddlers.
Full of tips, summaries, practical examples, and real-life techniques, parents praise this book
Best for Religious-Based Parenting:
Shepherding a Child's Heart at Amazon

Best Overall: Jo Frost's Toddler Rules: Your 5-Step Guide to Shaping Proper Behavior

Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules

Author Jo Frost is a world-renowned expert and is best known for her TV show Supernanny. The praise is well deserved as this guide focuses on practical advice to help parents during the tough toddler years.

Her five-step program is easy to digest and zeroes in on key problem areas including sleep, food, learning, play, and manners. Easy to remember acronyms like her “S.O.S.” method of Step Back, Observe, Step In will provide parents with straightforward, honest, and easy-to-implement advice.

Best for Spirited Tots: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic

Spirited children are often more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change compared to the average kiddo. If this fits your toddler, turn to this book. The goal is to help parents understand their child’s (and their own) temperamental traits and focus on the positive labels and outcomes.

A simple four-step program will help parents create strategies for common pain points like handling mealtime, sibling struggles, bedtime, school, and other daily situations.

Best with a Simple Concept: 1-2-3 Magic: Gentle 3-Step Child & Toddler Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

Written by a registered Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, parents praise this simple book as life-changing. The guide helps parents learn how to control their own behavior in order to glean the best outcomes in their children’s behavior.  With a focus on positive routines, the book highlights how to improve behavior around common themes like mealtime, bedtime, morning routines, and overall family relationships.

Best Positive Discipline: No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

Praised as a sanity-saving guide, this book teaches parents how to connect with your child, redirect their emotions, and make meltdowns into opportunities for growth. Rooted in science, the book is sprinkled with facts about brain development in children and breaks down what kinds of discipline is best for each age and stage. Parents may find this type of book eye-opening and relatable with the candid stories of real-life situations.

Best Montessori Approach: The Montessori Toddler: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being

Reframing toddler struggles is a key tenant of this Montessori-based guide to raising young children. With a focus on curiosity, learning, respect, and discovery, the book is chock full of information. Many reviewers especially found the parts on how to set up your home for success, learning, and growth to be insightful. Visual learners will appreciate the series of easy-to-read and implement charts that include topics like “Instead of This, Say That.”

Best for Gifted Toddlers: Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Gifted Children

Praised for going beyond identifying gifted children, this book gets to the heart of how to best parent gifted kids. With clear and practical advice, it does extend past the toddler years, so it’s a helpful guide as your gifted child ages. Parents appreciate that there are chapters on working with your school system and how to be an adult role model for your child. 

Best Funny: Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault

Great for a quick read at 176 pages, a gag gift, or a semi-helpful book, this humorous parenting book may not be stuffed with advice, but it’ll likely make parents of toddlers laugh, feel less alone, and provide some moments of relief. Relatable, comforting, and LOL funny, this book is for those with a sense of humor that doesn’t mind some gross-out commentary.

Best for Twins: Ready or Not . . . There We Go!: The REAL Experts' Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins

No one said toddler twins would be easy, including the hilariously honest author of this book. Readers praise the frank challenges presented in raising young twins and appreciate how relatable the book is. Packed with funny commentary and real-life situations that apply to parents of twins, like if room sharing is a good idea or a recipe for disaster, double baby proofing, and so much more, this book is a useful guide for parents of two toddlers.

Best for Siblings: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

A best-selling book for good reason, parent readers may find this book will help improve relationships between siblings, their spouses, and other family members. Full of tips, summaries, practical examples, and real-life techniques, parents praise this book and especially find the sections on peaceful resolutions helpful for sibling conflicts.

A “parenting toolbox” allows moms and dads to quickly reference what they’ve learned and some readers find the toolbox so helpful, it takes up a permanent spot on their fridge.

Best for Religious-Based Parenting: Shepherding a Child's Heart

Religious families with Christian practices will glean insights from this pastor, counselor, school administrator, and father author who uses religion and God as helpful guides for parenting tips. Written with Christian values and ideals in mind, the author seeks to guide parents in child-rearing through the teachings of the bible.

Final Verdict

Most parents of toddlers will be sure to glean some practical, usable nuggets of advice from Jo Frost's Toddler Rules (view on Amazon) book. It is easy to read, humorous and has enough general information to be applicable to any family with a toddler. For a book rooted in communication techniques, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (view on Amazon), is sure to help parents with kids of all ages and may also improve adult to adult communication.

What To Look For When Buying Parenting Books for Toddlers

Credible Author

While the author doesn’t need to be a medical doctor or world-renowned expert, make sure they are credible. Check out the author’s website, other books, or run the name by your pediatrician or trusted parent friend. Avoid taking advice from someone untrustworthy or bogus. Above all else, remember to take all advice with a grain of salt. Whether the author is an expert, medical professional, or just a really experienced parent sharing what they know, all families and children are different.


Aligns With Your Lifestyle

Find the right book for your family and lifestyle. If you are religious, are raising twins or siblings, have a gifted child, or anything else, a book that is catered more toward your needs will be most helpful. If you aren’t a big reader, aim for a short or funny book. If you prefer lists, go with a workbook-style guide. Choose a book that you'll actually want to read so that you can absorb the advice and apply it to your lifestyle.

Why Trust Verywell Family 

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of an 11-year-old son, a 7-year-old son, and a 3-year-old daughter. Maya has lived through the toddler years three times over and has found the most useful book to be How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Somehow she finds herself checking it out from the library once every year or so for a quick refresher. 

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  1. Raising a difficult child? Try a “spirited” spin | psychology today.