Best parenting advice books for 2020

Parenting books are a great way to learn new strategies, learn about the psychological components of parenting, and keep your parenting skills sharpened.

Parenting is tough! But today there are so many tools to empower you. Parenting advice is everywhere, it seems, so good parenting book recommendations are gold.

Books like the classic Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, Heidi Murkoff’s What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and Dr. James Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child were fundamental to me as a new parent (back in ‘the day’) and I found it comforting to have these materials on hand, readily offering me inspiration, information, and helpful tips.

I learned a lot from books like these and it helped me to sort out the piles of advice that seemed to be coming at me from all directions–and this was before the days of the internet!

There are a great many parenting books out there by doctors and child psychologists, educators, celebrities, and by parents just like you.

Here are 5 of the best– must-have parenting books that you will want to read, earmark, and put into practice.

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The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively

Author: Gary Chapman, Ross Campbell

Formats available: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, audio cd

Price on Amazon: 0.00 (free with Audible trial), 8.35-17.99 (pricing as of April 2020)
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 ⭐

There’s no question that The 5 Love Languages is a fantastic book for relationships and communication, but there’s also one for parenting! Gary Chapman has helped thousands of couples to deepen their relationship through a greater understanding of the “love languages” that we all have and “speak.” The same can be done for our parenting relationship with our children. This book will help you to understand your child better and to communicate love to your child in a way that he or she can understand and feel.

Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell help you:

  • Discover your child’s love language
  • Assist your child in successful learning
  • Use the love languages to correct and discipline more effectively
  • Build a foundation of unconditional love for your child

Some great quotes from the book:

  • It may surprise you that the primary lifetime threat to your child is his or her own anger.
  • Positive Eye Contact Quality time should include loving eye contact. Looking in your child’s eyes with care is a powerful way to convey love from your heart to the heart of your child.
  • You can simply remember that behavioral expressions of love can be divided into physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation.
  • Discipline is not a negative word. It comes from the Greek word “to train.

Playful Parenting: An Exciting New Approach to Raising Children That Will Help You Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems, and Encourage Confidence

Author: Lawrence J. Cohen

Formats available: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback

Price on Amazon: 0.00 (free with Audible trial), 8.99-30.00 (pricing as of April 2020)
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 ⭐

When I was growing up kids were sent outside to play or thrust into umpteen social engagements to get kids to play together–but what I remember most were the moments of play that involved my parents. What a better way to encourage joyful living, a curious nature, and a general feeling of love and satisfaction in a child than to get down to their level and just play?

Play does not mean that you have to play with toys or be someone you are not, but to experience a playful nature with your children…and yes, if you want, play! This book talks about all the ways your children communicate with you through their play, what they need most from you, and how you can be more playful in your parenting. The result is a well-bonded and happy family structure where your kids feel safe and loved.

Through play we join our kids in their world–and help them to:

  • Express and understand complex emotions
  • Break through shyness, anger, and fear
  • Empower themselves and respect diversity
  • Play their way through sibling rivalry
  • Cooperate without power struggles


Some great quotes from the book:

  • I’m always amazed when adults say that children “just did that to get attention”. Naturally children who need attention will do all kinds of things to get it. Why not just give it to them?
  • We adults have unhealed hurts from our own childhoods, which sometimes get in the way right when our children need our support. Our own piles of old feelings interfere with parenting playfully. In turn, that makes it hard to help children with their emotional difficulties.
  • Children don’t say, “I had a hard day at school today; can I talk to you about it?” They say, “Will you play with me?
  • As children discover the world, and discover what they are able to do in the world, they develop confidence and mastery.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

Author: Richard Louv

Formats available: Kindle, audiobook, paperback

Price on Amazon: 0.00 (free with Audible trial), 9.61-11.39 (pricing as of April 2020)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐

OK so this book may be stretching it a little–as it is not necessarily a parenting book, but I assert, it will make you a better parent. It is for any adult who interacts with children and cares about how children interact in this world. As a parent, addressing nature deficit disorder may be something you feel ill-equipped to do. It is easy to raise kids who are more plugged into electronic devices than they are to the environment in which they are raised.

I’ve personally written on this concept many times before (Are We Nature-Depleted and Suffering for It?) and as a “student of nature” raised in a nature-loving southern family, I learned from a very young age how to “be” outside. I taught this to my children as well.

Nature-learning isn’t something reserved for those “outdoorsy” people or nature professionals–it is something every parent can share with their children. This book is an excellent, encouraging resource for parents and educators to bring children into the outdoors and parent them with a sense of natural community, outdoor health, and inner wellness.

Some great quotes from the book:

  • An environment-based education movement–at all levels of education–will help students realize that school isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world.
  • We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.
  • Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).
  • An indoor (or backseat) childhood does reduce some dangers to children; but other risks are heightened, including risks to physical and psychological health, risk to children’s concept and perception of community, risk to self-confidence and the ability to discern true danger

The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year (New Father Series)

Author: Armin A. Brott

Formats available: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, audio cd

Price on Amazon: 0.00 (free with Audible trial), 8.58-22.90 (pricing as of April 2020)
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 ⭐

Finally, a great parenting book written for fathers! Many men and women are touting the importance and significance of this book. Each chapter focuses on a different month of the child’s first year and Brott, author of The Expectant Father, “charts the physical, intellectual, verbal, and emotional changes the child is going through, and examines the emotional and psychological development the father may experience” according to the Amazon description of the book.

This book is currently ranking #21 in Fatherhood (Books) and #80 in Baby & Toddler Parenting books on Amazon.

“In this third of his perfectly targeted book series for the modern dad, Brott demystifies child development … and make[s] fathers… enjoy the vital role they play in their kids’ lives even more. A great addition to any parenthood library.” —Child magazine

“This book would make a great gift for any new dad.” —Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D., columnist, Parents magazine

Some great quotes from the book:

  • You get spread out. All the demands on your time and energy leave you feeling like there isn’t enough of you left to be a good dad, friend, spouse, and employee at the same time.
  • Being out of control is hard for anyone, but it’s especially discombobulating for men, who are supposed to know everything and be in control all the time.
  • Going from man to father is one of the most dramatic changes you’ll ever experience. It’ll force you to rethink who you are, what you do, and what it means to be a man. Your relationships—with your partner, your parents, your friends, your coworkers—will change forever as you begin to reevaluate what’s important to you and reorder your priorities.

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

Author: Dr. Shefali Tsabary

Formats available: Kindle, audiobook, paperback, MP3 CD

Price on Amazon: 0.00 (free with Audible trial), 9.95-19.99 (pricing as of April 2020)
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 ⭐

The Conscious Parent, the Nautilus Award Winner of 2011, tackles some tough topics with a comforting and encouraging approach. Consider all of the “baggage” you bring from childhood or other relationships that you bring into your parenting. This book helps you to be more present, open, and a clear-minded parent so that you can nurture your children from a better headspace.

This book is written by Shefali Tsabary, PhD, author of Namaste, with a Preface by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The book has received advanced acclaim by authors Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Wiliamson, Marci Shimoff, Laura Berman Fortgang, and other well-respected parenting “gurus.” The book description eloquently puts it: “Once parents are learning alongside their children, power, control, and dominance become an archaic language. Instead, mutual kinship and spiritual partnership are the focus of the parent-child journey.”

With a beautiful and innovative parenting style, this book will bring you deep thoughts and a mindful approach to parenting that will be a game-changer for you!

Some great quotes from the book:

  • It’s no surprise we fail to tune into our children’s essence. How can we listen to them, when so many of us barely listen to ourselves? How can we feel their spirit and hear the beat of their heart if we can’t do this in our own life?
  • Once you accept your children’s basic nature, you can contour your style to meet their temperament. To do so means letting go of your fantasies of yourself as a certain kind of parent and instead evolving into the parent you need to be for the particular child in front of you.
  • Life doesn’t happen to us, but happens with us.
  • Unless at some point in our life we become conscious of the emotional energy we have absorbed from our parents, we will inevitably transfer this imprint to our own children.

Thank you for reading this article brought to you by the folks at babienet Blog. Be sure to check out some of our other articles!

For further reading:

Helping Children to Cope with Anxiety
Child Discipline Methods & Effective Parenting Styles

Christina M. Ward,

Babienet blog contributor

Proud mother of 3 and  grandmother of 2

5 Must Have Parenting Advice Books offers parents a quick list of 5 top-rated parenting books for learning new parenting strategies, learning about child psychology and behavior, and keeping parenting skills sharpened.