23 Books You Need to Read as a Parent in 2023
If you’re a parent, educator, grandparent, or childcare provider, this comprehensive list is just for you!
We’ve hand-selected each title listed throughout this article with great thought and care for caregivers living in a digital world where wellness and rest often get pushed to the side in the hustle and bustle of round-the-clock daily living.
Add a kid or two or three into the mix and you’ve got your hands…well, very full. Probably overflowing.
We’re parents ourselves, with a combined gaggle of children ranging in age from 5 months to 8 years. We’re also research-obsessed sleep consultants with backgrounds in Physical Therapy and Child and Family Development, so it’s safe to say we care deeply about the overall health and wellness of your family.
If you’re ready to nerd out with us over our favorite sleep- and parenting-related books, buckle up, and let’s go!
We’re going to list them by topic, and give you a brief synopsis of each one. You can take your own notes, add them to your wishlist in your Audible app, or drive right to the library and check them out.
The Best Sleep Books
You know we would be amiss if we didn’t first introduce our favorite books about our very favorite topic: SLEEP!
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
Dr. Weissbluth's book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child, is an essential guide to getting your child to sleep well and stay healthy.
The book is broken up into three parts:
Part 1 is all about the science behind how sleep works and how it affects our bodies. You'll learn about circadian rhythms, the different stages of sleep, and how the brain can be trained to sleep better.
Part 2 explains how to identify what's keeping your child awake and how you can help them get better rest. It also covers ways to deal with common sleep disorders like insomnia and bedwetting.
Part 3 covers solutions for keeping your kids healthy by sleeping well so they don't develop chronic health problems down the line like obesity or Type 2 Diabetes.
The Happy Sleeper by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright
The Happy Sleeper, by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright, is a guide to helping babies sleep through the night. The authors claim that their techniques are so effective that your baby will sleep through the night within five days. We’ve seen this happen in our own practices, so it’s not unheard of!
The book shows parents how to undo, or even avoid (if you read it soon enough) some no-longer-manageable sleep habits that have become their norm over time. They focus on the baby or child’s abaility and brain structure that supports soothing themselves to sleep rather than the parents inadvertently continuing to get in the way of their children’s capabilities when it comes to learning to sleep independently. They also bring into the forefront of their strategies mindfulness, so that parents are attuned to their child, and utiliziiing these methods in a loving and thoughtful way.
Break the Co-Sleeping Habit by Valeria Levine
This book is a quick read, and the author is pretty light-hearted.
As the title states, the book is about how to break the co-sleeping habit with kids. The author, Valeria Levine, who haas a background as a research psychologist, talks about why it's so hard for parents to break the habit, but then also gives specific ideas for how you can do it.
The author also talks about how to deal with other people's reactions to your decision, which can be quite challenging when you tell people that you're not going to co-sleep anymore. Have you even been on the sidelines of one of those debates in a Facebook mom group??
We think this book would be helpful for anyone who wants to stop co-sleeping with their children but isn't sure how or where to start.
Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi Mindell
Sleeping Through the Night is a book about how to help your child sleep through the night. It is written by Dr. Jodi Mindell, a psychologist who specializes in pediatric sleep. The book covers all the different types of behaviors you might see from your baby or toddler and offers suggestions for how to deal with them. The author also includes stories from her patients and their families from her 25+ years of experience in addressing common sleep problems in children, which helps illustrate some of the issues that can come up when trying to get your own child to sleep through the night.
In this book, Mindell explains how to manage nighttime routines and what kinds of sleep issues are normal for babies and toddlers. She provides helpful tips on how to manage sleep problems and maintain healthy sleep habits.
Sleep Wrecked Kids by Sharon Moore
Sleep-deprived kids are everywhere. And the lack of quality (and quantity of) sleep can lead to a myriad of health problems.
In Sleep Wrecked Kids: Helping Parents Raise Happy, Healthy Kids, One Sleep at a Time, author Sharon Moore shows you how to help your child get enough sleep so that they can be healthy, happy and ready to take on the day.
Moore explains that there are three things you can do to help your child sleep better:
1. Teach them good sleep habit
2. Set limits and boundaries
3. Make sure they get enough exercise
Precious Little Sleep by Alexis Dubief
This book is a must-read for parents of children who are night owls. It's full of helpful tips and tricks to help your child get more sleep, and it'll even help you get more sleep, too!
Alexis Dubief brings a tone of hilarity to accompany seven different strategies for parents to utilize to help their children sleep better.
Gasp!: Airway Health The Hidden Path to Wellness by Dr. Michael Gelb and Dr. Howard Hindin
Is your baby or child a mouth breather? Do they snore?
This is one you’ll want to look into - Gasp!: Airway Health The Hidden Path to Wellness by Dr. Michael Gelb and Dr. Howard Hindin is a comprehensive guide to one of the most important systems in your body: your respiratory system.
The book provides an overview of airway health, including the anatomy of the respiratory system, the ways in which it can become compromised, and how to prevent those issues from occurring - especially when is affect your or your child’s sleep. It's written in an engaging way, highlightiing the importance of this often overlooked topic, that makes you want to keep reading.
The Best Parenting Books
While sleep plays a huge roll in our child’s - and our - overall wellbeing, there’s much more to parenting than that. Here’s the rest of our list, in no particular order.
No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
No Bad Kids is a guide for parents who want to raise their children with love, understanding, and respect. It's full of practical advice and tips for handling common toddler problems like tantrums, sibling rivalry, and bedtime battles. Lansbury helps parents understand their child’s development and gives rational as to why some children may act the way they do.
This collection of work allows parents and caregivers to see the world through their child’s eyes, giving a unique and powerful perspective that may alter their responses to their child.
Elevating Child Care by Janet Lansbury
Elevating Childcare is a must-read for anyone who's ever had to care for a child. Janet Lansbury takes a deep dive into the emotional, physical, and mental development of children and how to best foster it. She provides practical strategies that are easy to implement in your daily life.
This book may change your life and the way you think about parenting, covering topics like eating, sleeping, diaper changes, communication, separation, focus and attention span, creativity, and boundaries to name a few.
Lansbury addresses some of the most common challenges facing parents today, like how to bring up a children who are able to think for themselves and make good decisions.
This book is not just for parents of young children; it's for anyone who wants to understand what it takes to raise happy and healthy kids in the 21st century.
Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Dr. Becky A. Bailey
Dr. Becky A. Bailey's book, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, takes a look at the ways in which children and parents can have positive relationships that help kids learn social skills and develop into responsible adults. Dr. Bailey examines four different types of parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved. She then discusses specific ways that these styles can be effective or ineffective at helping children learn how to discipline themselves.
The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
The 5 Love Languages of Children is a book about how to love your child so that they feel it, by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.
It's a simple concept: there are five ways that children experience love—and those ways are different from the way that adults experience love. If you want your child to feel loved and secure, it's important to speak their "language." The authors argue that if you do this, they will be happier, more confident, and more successful in life.
The five languages include: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
The authors examine these languages through the lens of how they are important for children to grow into healthy adults. That is, if parents can learn to speak each other's love language and provide that kind of language in their home, it will help them raise children who are happier and more loving adults.
Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner
If you want to be a good consumer, you need to know how to navigate the digital world with it’s challenges…and advantages.
In Screenwise, Devorah Heitner takes you through the process of being a savvy consumer by showing you how to navigate the modern digital world so that you can make informed decisions about what technology is right for you and your family. This title offers a realistic, yet optimistic perspective on how to thoughtfully guide kids in the digital age we’re living and growing in.
The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
The Whole Brain Child is a book that focuses on the importance of developing children's brains in a healthy way. The authors argue that it's important to understand how the brain works and how to nurture it, rather than simply treating children as small adults.
The book covers a variety of topics related to child development, including:
How to help kids learn self-regulation
How to help kids understand their emotions
How to help kids develop empathy
Cribsheet by Emily Oster
Emily Oster's Cribsheet is a guide to the first years of parenthood, written by an economist who is also a mother.
The book covers everything from potty training to understanding the importance of breastfeeding, and it includes advice on how to choose a pediatrician, how to handle crying babies, and how to manage your own stress levels - all with the lense of what research indicates about any of these subjects so that parents can make informed decisions that are best for their family and values.
Strange Situation by Bethany Saltman
The Strange Situation is a famous psychological experiment that tests the attachment theory of the infant-mother relationship. The experiment was designed by developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth and involves observing how a child responds to being placed in an unfamiliar environment with their caregiver, then leaving them alone and returning to see how they react.
In this book, Bethany Saltman discusses not only why this experiment is important but also how it has influenced her work as a psychologist as well as how it relates to other research on childhood development.
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bebe is a book about the cultural differences between French parenting and American parenting. Druckerman, who is American, spent six months living in Paris and noticing the difference between how French children behave and how American children behave - she draws comparisons from sleeping and eating habits to behavior during coffee playdates. She writes about what she learned from that experience and her perception is that French children are not only happier, but also better-behaved and more in command of themselves. She learns that the secret to raising happy kids isn't just about how you raise them—it's about how you live, too.
Druckerman's book is a fascinating look at what it means to be a parent in France versus America. While Americans tend to worry about helicopter parenting and overscheduling, the French believe that kids need time to develop on their own, with limits. It seems we can all learn a bit from the French, oui?
Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Siblings without Rivalry is a book about how to raise children so that they love each other and enjoy each other's company, rather than fight with each other. It teaches you how to make sure your children are happy, confident and secure by setting up a system of mutual respect and fair treatment for all. Families can learn to communicate with eachother openly and effectively.
Expecting Better by Emily Oster
The book Expecting Better by Emily Oster is an easy read with a lot of helpful information for women who are expecting. Oster covers everything from the basics of pregnancy and birth to more advanced topics like pregnancy complications, labor induction, and cesarean sections. She also addresses issues of race and income in relation to pregnancy outcomes, which is especially important given that the United States has some of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world.
Oster's writing style makes it easy for readers to get through this book quickly, but she does not sacrifice accuracy or quality for brevity. She provides lots of citations throughout the text so you can dig deeper into any topic that interests you.
Overall, we would recommend this book to anyone who is expecting or knows someone who is expecting—it will provide them with all they need to know about pregnancy!
Emily delves into the research to answer questions like:
Can a pregnant person enjoy an occasioinal glass of wine?
Must a pregnant person really avoid cold-cuts and sushi?
How much caffeine is too much caffeine when you’re growing a tiny human?
How to Talk so Kids Will Listen by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Here's the deal: your kid is not going to listen to you just because you ask them to.
But there are ways to get your kid to listen without becoming a dictator or making them feel like they're being punished. The book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish has some great techniques that will help you teach your kids how to cooperate and communicate.
Their down-to-earth, respectful tone delivers a refreshing message for caregivers everywhere.
No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
This book is all about how to raise your kid without drama…and change your mindset about what the word discipline actually means.
The authors are child psychologists, so they've done their research. They've found that kids need a lot of limits and structure, but they also need to learn how to handle those limits and structure in a healthy way.
They have some great suggestions for how you can achieve this balance:
Create a safe environment where your child feels free to express feelings and emotions
Set rules together with your kids that everyone can follow
Teach kids how to solve problems themselves, rather than always swooping in and solving them for them
Parent Like a Pediatrician: A Guide to Caring for Your Child's Health and Well-Being by Rebekah Diamond
Parent Like a Pediatrician: A Guide to Caring for Your Chilid’s Health and Well-Being by Rebekah Diamond is the perfect book for any parent who's looking to make their first year of life as a parent just a little bit easier.
In this quick read, Diamond offers tips and tricks for helping raise your kids in a way that will make them more likely to grow up healthy and happy, no matter what kind of parenting style you choose.
She highlights methods for making sure your kids eat right, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and even how to deal with common issues like potty training or getting along with friends at school.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham
If you're like most parents, you're probably yelling at your kids way more than you'd like to.
But that's okay! Dr. Laura Markham understands that, and she's here to help. In her book, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, she offers tips for parents on how to stop yelling at their children and start connecting with them instead. Fostering emotional connection can build real and lasting change that you can use throughout the parenting years.
She also provides a list of ways in which you can connect with your kids: by being mindful of your own emotions, being physically present with them when they need you (and not just when they want something), and setting up rules that allow them space to be themselves while still maintaining boundaries for safety.
Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
The Happiest Baby on the Block is a book that helps parents understand the science behind how to soothe, calm, and comfort their babies. Dr. Harvey Karp has spent years researching infant behavior and development, and he's developed a series of techniques for helping parents figure out what's going on with their babies and how to soothe them.
The Happiest Baby on the Block is a book that aims to help parents get their babies to sleep, and be more content in general. The book focuses on four main concepts:
The Fourth Trimester: Why babies still yearn for a womb-like atmosphere…even after birth
The Caalming Reflex: An “off switch” all babies are boorn with
The 5 S’s: Five easy steps to turn on your baby’s amazing calming reflex
The Cuddle Cure: How to combine the 5 S’s to calm even colicky babies
We’d love to hear which books you’ll be diving into this year, or if you have already read any on our list! Follow along with us on Instagram, one of our favorite places to hang out!
We’re also willing to bet, that if you’ve found that you have already read and enjoyed many of these titles, you would be a great fit for our Sleep Consultant Academy from the Collective for Family Rest and Wellness. You can learn more by spending time on our website or setting up a free consultation with us.
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