Father and a child reading a book together

Can Books Tell You What’s Going Inside Your Toddler’s Mind?

"After reading a few paragraphs describing all the ways in which I could damage my child, and subsequently dissolving into a sobbing mess in the middle of my kitchen, I made a pact with myself: From that day forward, I would not read any more parenting books."

This is how Anna Lane, writer, editor, and blogger, describes her experience with parenting books in her article "Why you should never read a parenting book."

Parenting books give parents comfort and guidance, but not every book portrays validity, and some of them even scare the living daylight out of new parents. 

According to Forbes, the "new mom economy" market size stands at $46 billion today. It's an enormous market with a great deal of content that needs filtering, research, and a lot of effort to find something truly accurate. 

And thanks to the internet, every self-proclaimed expert, mommy blogger, or ghostwriter can give out parenting tips. 

The truth is, everyone's winging it at parenting, and there's nothing bad about it. You can read all the tips and tricks you can find, but unless you understand what's really going on in the mind of that tiny little stranger that lives in your house, you won't be able to make sense of those tips and tricks that you adopt. 

Read these 5 books to understand what's going on in your toddlers' minds.

1) How To Talk, So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk   

Do you know how to calm down a screaming child in the middle of the grocery store? Is there a correct way to encourage kids to try new things, praise them for good and punish them for bad behavior? 

This book talks a lot about understanding your children, dealing with their feelings, and responding to them. 

Communicating with children is like learning a new language. You can recognize the letters more or less, read and write, but can't form full sentences yet. 

Children speak another language, and we need to learn to understand them before they start understanding us. This book teaches parents the native language of their kids with illustrations, psychological arguments, examples, and exercises. 

2) The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind 

Whenever I want to understand something, I dig deeper and find scientific explanations of why things happen. 

Written by neuropsychiatrist, Daniel J. Siegel, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson, "The whole-brain child" explains how the child's brain develops, functions, and goes through maturity. 

Writers talk a lot about how children deal with their emotions and teach parents the age-appropriate responses and strategies to things that kids throw at them. 

You will read a lot about the extent of physical activities and toys in children's life. We have a great piece about Essential Toys for Toddlers, where you can find out about the importance of playtime and different types of preschool toys. 

3) Windows to Our Children: A Gestalt Approach to Children and Adolescents

Children say the craziest things that make us go either "aww" or "where in the world did that come from?" It's even crazier when they draw a stick figure with freakishly large arms and a creepy look on its face. 

What do these odd ideas and drawings mean? If you're a parent, I'm sure you've wondered where's the vault that these ideas are coming from. 

Violet Oaklander, child and adolescent therapist and certified Gestalt therapist, wanted to share her experience and knowledge with parents, teachers, and therapists. She wrote this book to help others understand the minds of children. 

This book will help you understand that kids have a completely different universe in their minds. It almost seems like a window that we need to open. Violet describes this window in detail and talks about the passage through it to help us understand what our kids are thinking and feeling. 

4) Between Parent and Child

"Where do we start if we are to improve communication with children? By examining how we respond. We even know the words. We heard our parents use them with guests and strangers. It is a language that is protective of feelings, not critical of behavior."

Here’s a little sneak peek for you. 

Reviews say that this book has revolutionized parent-child communication. It explains the strategies of practical parenting and the pitfalls to avoid. 

Parenting is a journey, and it's remarkable to observe how children mirror their parents as they view them as role models. This book teaches parents how to become "the best" role models for their babies and build strong long-term relationships with them. 

5) Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five

You might've already noticed how we love talking about the psychology of children and how we dig deeper to find the meanings in their actions and words. But enough about psychology. 

John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, and a father talks about the brain's development process and what you can do as a parent to optimize it for your child. 

In this book, you can find answers to some of the questions that might linger in your mind. You'll learn about the effects of TV on babies, how talking to your child improves IQ and more. 

Ok, what's next? 

Raising a child is truly a challenge, and books alone, without a doubt, can't do it for you. But they can be a lot of help when it comes to understanding the mind of children. 

They grow at an enormous pace, and no parent wants to misunderstand their kid. So find a comfortable place, take a sip of your favorite beverage and start reading. Create a comfortable environment and give your child an example; read together. If you'd like to learn about books for toddlers, we have an article about Books that Engage and Entertain Preschoolers. Have a fun reading session with your little one.