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10 of the Best Parenting Books to Read in Stolen Moments

No matter how together you think you are, staring down several shelves of parenting books when you’re sleep deprived, full of hormones or just stretched to your limit by life with tiny humans is enough to send anyone over the edge. Much like with parenting itself, when it comes to parenting books, it’s a jungle out there and knowing which to buy can be enough to trigger a full on toddler tantrum. We’ve all been there. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of the best parenting books to read, covering all ages.

If you’ve ever found yourself standing in front of the Parenting section of a bookshop, we’re pretty sure you’ve known what it’s like to be truly overwhelmed. We know there are a LOT of opinions on how to raise children (we’ve been on the receiving end of a whole host of them) but seeing that visual representation of all of those opinions can be enough to put you off ever reading another parenting book again. But they can be useful. And the best parenting books can be completely life changing. So here are our top picks:


The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Proven Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – Dr Daniel J. Siegel and Dr Tina Payne Bryson

The different parts of a child’s brain develop at different speeds and in this pioneering book, neuroscientists Drs Siegel and Bryson explore how parents can turn any argument, outburst or fear into a chance to raise calmer and happier children. It’s designed to help children of different ages, so will become a bible for their childhoods and is filled with practical tips, clear explanations and illustrations that will guide parents to better understand the humans they are raising.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) – Philippa Perry

Social media was awash with discussions about this book when it came out in early 2020 and it quickly became a Sunday Times Bestseller. For good reason. Written by leading psychotherapist Philippa Perry, this book is packed with indispensable information and realistic tips to help you handle your child’s feelings, understand your partner or even take a look at your own upbringing to see how it impacts how you parent. Philippa Perry offers sane, sage and judgement-free advice that definitely puts it up there with the best parenting books of all time.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children – Dr Shefali Tsabary

Described by Oprah Winfrey as “the most profound book on parenting I’ve ever read” and with the most recent published version featuring a foreword written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr Tasbary is not messing about with this book. The Conscious Parent inspires parents to get back in touch with their emotions and shed the layers of baggage they have inherited during their own life and are unconsciously heaping on their children. If you’re interested in more mindful parenting, this is the book for you.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


Mind Over Mother – Anna Mathur

We’ve long been fans of Anna’s honest and straight-talking approaches to maternal mental health and so we were overjoyed when her book came out. Her insight as a psychotherapist AND mother makes her someone you feel you can trust. She offers little nuggets of gold while reminding us to point some of our kindness and love inwards. Full of light-bulb moments, this gem of a book will help you understand anxiety, why it affects you and what to do about it; make your mind a kinder, calmer, happier place to be and transform your motherhood experience by addressing your thinking. Absolutely ideal.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


I Am Not Your Baby Mother – Candice Brathwaite

Former Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast guest Candice Brathwaite‘s book is a searing look at navigating Black motherhood and is essential reading. Candice started blogging in 2016 when she realised that mainstream perceptions of motherhood were not representative of her experiences – or those of society at large. I Am Not Your Baby Mother is the evolution of that blog and explores explores various stages of motherhood between pregnancy and waving your child off at the gates of primary school, while navigating white privilege, racial aggression and unconscious bias at every point. Tender, shocking, honest and straight from the heart.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


Nobody Told Me – Hollie McNish

There were lots of things that nobody told poet Hollie McNish before she was pregnant. Things like how to stand while holding one; how to do a poetry gig with your baby as a member of the audience; how drum’n’bass can make a great lullaby. And that’s before you even start on toddlers. But like all parents, Hollie learned. And while this isn’t a “parenting book” per se, we love Hollie’s frank and funny poems and stories on raising a child in modern Britain. Because it isn’t always easy, but there are always lessons to be learned.,

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids – Carla Naumburg

We have all been shouty parents when we don’t want to be. Carla Naumburg aims to help you stop doing just that in this book by offering honest and pragmatic advice. By reminding you that just because you lose your sh*t once in a while, you’re not a bad parent, this book will guide you to be more present and respond with compassion for yourself and your kids when you’re overwhelmed, overworked and overloaded. Carla calls on her experience as a clinical social worker, parent coach and author and brings in her own dose of humour in this super practical guide that makes you feel held rather than judged.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


When the World Feels Like a Scary Place – Abigail Gewirtz

We are living in turbulent times and the best parenting books are the ones that recognise the current challenges faced by parents, rather than just throwing out solutions to old problems. This book by prominent Child psychologist Dr Abigail Gewirtz does exactly that, offering solutions for kids aged three to 18. Using real-world examples, talking points and insightful asides, you’ll learn how to frame difficult issues in age-appropriate ways, so your children can process big emotions in conversation with you. You’ll get conversation scripts, talking points and prompts so you can work through the big issues together, whenever the world feels like a scary place.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


Parenting the Sh*t out of Life – Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson

From the delightful duo we affectionately know as Mama and Papa Pukka comes this book for people who happen to be parents (or might be soon). Another Sunday Times Bestseller, Anna and Matt talk about parenting from both parental perspectives. Again, we can’t say that this is a parenting book per se, but it’s one that aims to help you laugh a little more than you cry.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop


Happy Mum Happy Baby – Giovanna Fletcher

We couldn’t write about parenting books without mentioning the one that started it all for us here at HMHB. This is not a book about how to have the perfect family experience – Gi would be the first to admit she is winging it just as much as the rest of us – instead it is an honest, upbeat and incredibly personal account of her own experience of having a family. In Happy Mum, Happy Baby Giovanna shares her own journey through parenthood and in doing so, she looks at what it is to be a mother today, encourages you to be confident in yourself as a parent and celebrates how putting a focus on being a happy and confident mum can really make for a happy baby.

Available on Amazon | Bookshop

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