Go-To Resources For Parenting Toddlers

TODDLERS, man. Right? We get lots of listener emails asking us to tackle this topic on the podcast. While we have discussed discipline and toddlers before (see list of podcast episodes at the end of this post), I wanted to round up some of my favorite books and online resources from parenting writers I’ve been reading for years.

Books About Toddler Discipline & Behavior

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Positive Discipline: The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving Skills
This book is 30 years old and the gold standard for the parenting and discipline style that works for me. Other writers I’ll mention in this post all have been schooled in this philosophy. There are spinoff books like Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, etc., but I think reading the original is best. This is the book for starting to explore if this basic foundational philosophy is right for you.

The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grownups

This book has a lot about early childhood education (preschools), but I found it so transformative that I wish I’d read it when my kids were toddlers. Maybe not so much about day to day behavior stuff with your toddler now, but I know that many of you you like to think ahead.

The Case For Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World

I read this book when my oldest was a baby and it really influenced how I think about kids and media. It might read a little dated now, but it’s a quick read, and the material about the commercialization of kids’ play is as important as ever (the media and tech itself has changed so much in the last 10 years, but the concepts hold up). Highly, highly recommend this book.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting (The Peaceful Parent Series)
This book is by my hands-down favorite online writer, Dr. Laura Markham. I’ll link to a bunch of her website articles in the next section, but this is the paper book version. I’d put it 4th after the books above, because I think you can get a lot of the same ideas from the articles on her site. If you ever want someone else to understand this type of parenting (husband, caregivers), this would be a great book to read.

Online Resources About Toddlers

Aha! Parenting / Dr. Laura Markham

This website is a one-stop-shop. Dr. Laura Markham (who is the author of that last book mentioned) is just SO DANG GOOD at explaining the difference between punishment/consequences and setting limits. She also always includes actually ideas for what to SAY to your kids, which is so helpful. I will link to a few places to start:

Meghan Leahy

Meghan Leahy writes a parenting advice column for The Washington Post and I love her thoughtful responses to common parenting questions. I personally really enjoy following her on Facebook, but fair warning: she’s outspoken, political, and swears on her page there. She’s also, in my opinion, very funny as well as smart when it comes to parenting. A few great examples of her column:

Amy McCready / Positive Parenting Solutions

I have not spent as much time reading Amy McCready’s work, but I know it to be right in line with others mentioned here, and she has a lot of classes and resources for parents who want to learn about positive parenting.

Funny Stuff

Honestly? I got through the baby and toddler years in part because they’re so hilarious. I love reading parenting humor writers, and there are some gems out there when it comes to toddlers:

The Mom Hour Episodes

Here are the episodes we’ve done that deal with toddlers:

I think if I have one thing to encourage you to remember, it’s that “positive” parenting is not the same as “permissive” parenting. It doesn’t mean letting your kids get away with stuff or telling them all the time that they’re amazing. It’s actually really structured and emphasizes setting limits, but there’s a misconception out there when you say things like “we don’t do time outs” that it’s all permissive all the time. Not true.

As we always say on the podcast, there is no one right way to do any of this. My recommendations here are simply the ones that have worked for me. You do you!


  1. Thank you so much for providing this list of resources! I’m loving listening to the Mom Hour episodes specifically on toddlers and have totally delved into Aha! Parenting.

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