8 Parenting Books for Surviving the Toddler Years

The best advice for parents of toddlers

The toddler years are an intense time for development for your child. Not only will they develop motor skills at an alarming rate during this time, but the two years your child is a toddler, from age 1 to 3, their brains will develop more than any other time in life. Maximizing the toddlers years for your child's lifelong success is an important task for you as his or her parent. While there never seems to be a shortage of ​baby books or those for preschoolers or older kids, toddler books seem hard to come by. Here are some interesting offerings from writers and publishers who have stepped up to the plate to share pertinent information and help you get through the toddler years. Here are some of our top picks for you.


Toddler 411

Woman with her toddler daughter
images by Tang Ming Tung/Moment/Getty Images

This book offers the most comprehensive look at your child's toddler years. Parenting author Denise Fields brings her knowledge of in-the-trenches parenting and Dr. Ari Brown touches on just about every medical issue that's bound to crop up in that 1-3 year age range. Both do a great job of breaking everything down in a no-nonsense way. The appendix on toddler medication is invaluable and full of answers to common questions. It will certainly save you some late night calls to your pediatrician.


What to Expect the Toddler Years

If you enjoyed other books in the "What to Expect" series, you'll love this one as well. It's formatted in the same way, month-by-month, and it runs all the way from month 12 through your child's third year. It has over 900 pages with practical information on potty training, discipline, nutrition, daycare and more for your little tot. Good advice on how to use this book: Utilize the index.


Caring for Your Baby and Young Child

If it's medical information you want, what better source than the American Academy of Pediatrics? This book covers children from birth to 5 years old. But there their coverage for specific toddler issues is very extensive. It covers basic care information in a couple of brief chapters, so don't expect a lot about day-to-day life or suggestions for play and learning. Do, however, expect comprehensive information about a variety of illnesses and medical conditions your toddler may encounter. It's a bit on the cold, clinical side and gets a tad preachy in parts, but it's a worthwhile addition to your parenting library for accurate medical advice for parenting a toddler.


Mothering Your Nursing Toddler

The number of women who are choosing to breastfeed is on the rise, yet there are precious few resources for those moms who wish to nurse beyond the popular six month to one year recommendation. Thousands upon thousands are breastfeeding into toddlerhood, however, and you'll find reassurance and support from many of them in this book. It is an essential resource for all mothers who are taking the next steps in the nursing relationship with their toddlers.


The Toddler Owner's Manual

I thoroughly enjoyed The Baby Owner's Manual and found this book just as funny yet practical. If you don't like all the fluff of your typical parenting tome, take a little snark and get down to business already with this book on your shelf.


Food for Tots

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. This book works to help you combat the pickiness by involving your toddler in the preparation process. It's loaded with recipes that are packed with the necessary nutrients you're always afraid your toddler isn't getting. With all that plus tons of practical food tips, it's a book you'll be using again and again.


The Girlfriend's Guide to Toddlers

Another in the "Girlfriend" series, this book is the one you'll want to turn to when all the "expert" advice isn't working. The writing is down to earth, coming at you from a real mom who has been there and done that. 


Active Learning for Twos

This book is a book found more often in child care centers than in homes. It's written specifically for child care providers, but it has so many great activities to stimulate growth and learning, I couldn't leave it off the list. Stay-at-home moms and moms in charge of the occasional playgroup will find this book especially helpful.

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