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5 Parenting Books I Love

The parenting books that are helping me parent with purpose. #parentingbooks #intentionalparenting #simplicityavenue

Kids don't come with manuals, they say. So we learn as we go, we experiment, and just when we think we have it figured out, they outgrow the biting and head into No! Parenting, as it turns out, requires a good amount of fumbling and stumbling alongside these little (and not so little) ones we're meant to lead.

And so remember this:

First, dear mama, you are doing better than you think.

Second, watch and learn. Those little bodies are packed with wisdom. Notice where they give their attention, listen to their words, take in their expressions… and you'll be taught something important every day.

Third, a channel of inspiration opens up when you become a parent. With it come gut feelings, strokes of brilliance, and aha moments that fit your child like a glove—a reminder that God knows your little one perfectly and wants success for you both.

And finally, for everything else there are the manuals, of which I’ve found there to be plenty. Grab your library card and you'll have access to all you'll ever need. More parenting books have sat on my nightstand than almost any other type of book. My favorites list is ever-evolving, but here are the ones that I'm currently turning to again and again.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, by Dr. Laura Markham

This has been my go-to parenting book for years. (I love her second book, Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings, just as much and own both.) The basis: love and empathize with your child, above all else. Also, focus your efforts on controlling the only person you can—yourself. I love her philosophy and approach. Plus, both her books are packed with examples, easy-to-implement ideas, and scripts you can use word for word that very minute.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, by Kim John Payne

I found this book early in my parenting journey and I’ve reread it almost every year since. Our schedule, the kids’ bedrooms, our routines, our home—basically the childhood and daily life I’m responsible for building—they’ve all been (and continue to be) shaped by this book for the better. If family life feels full of too much stuff, too many choices and too little time, this book is the inspiration and blueprint for the kind of change you’ll never regret.

The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership, by Richard and Linda Eyre

After the tooth fairy left that first dollar bill under his pillow there was no turning back. This book is helping me navigate kids and money, and the life lessons we hope they pick up along the way. The system it teaches is only a few weeks old in our home but so far it’s a good one. This book also goes beyond just money (ownership of their own values, decisions, goals, bodies, education, relationships and conflict), which makes me love it even more.

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids, by Sarah Mackenzie

We were already a "read-aloud family" before I ever read this book. Still, I love her perspective and how she put into words things I already felt to be true. In a nutshell, books and sharing them together is a powerful thing—and the benefits far out last the reading itself.

French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters, by Karen Le Billon

Part handbook, part memoir this book is long but it was worth sticking with. (For the ones who'd rather skip the stories and get to the point, you'll find a helpful summary and collection of tips at the back of the book.) I'll admit I was skeptical at first but after my picky eater voluntarily opted for spaghetti sauce on his noodles I'm a believer through and through. I don’t know that I’ll implement all her rules but it’s been monumentally helpful in giving me a solid place to start.

May your parenting journey be full of love, peace, and just the right mix of manuals and memory-making—fumbling and stumbling included.

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