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The 12 Best Gentle Parenting Books with Practical Advice for Moms and Dads

May 31, 2022

The 12 Best Gentle Parenting Books with Practical Advice for Moms and Dads

If there’s one thing any parent would’ve loved to have along with their child, it would be a manual to parenting. What levers do you need to pull in order for this tiny human to operate correctly? Can you reboot in case you screw up anything? How do you really practice “gentle parenting” every day when your child’s actions are the opposite of gentle? 

Of course, that’s just wishful thinking. The closest thing we have to that would be the wealth of information from parents and parenting experts. These are people who made it their mission to help other parents navigate raising a child. They make research studies easier to understand for non-experts and point out practical ways to improve. Fortunately, a lot of them made books that parents can (and should) make time to read. 

Below, we list down gentle parenting books that will be helpful for all moms and dads, no matter what stage of parenting you’re in.

In this article, we will talk about…


Gentle Parenting Books on How to Discipline Kids

1. No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury

  • Suggested for parents who are: currently raising a toddler

  • Written by a well-known parenting expert, this book compiles the author’s most famous articles on common toddler behaviors. It also gives advice on how parents can address them. Lansbury’s lessons are mostly based on research. She also did her own formal studies and has over 20 years of hands-on experience as an advocate of respectful parenting. Read this to understand your child better and to know how to react when he or she is testing your limits.

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

2. The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

  • Suggested for parents who are: interested in scientific approaches to parenting concepts

  • The authors of this book are a neuropsychiatrist and a parenting expert. They identify strategies in child rearing that will not only help in calming down a rowdy child but also bolster their brain development. Learn more about “how a child’s brain is wired” through concepts of neuroscience. Then, connect it with your firsthand experiences. Work toward positive habits and address behaviors in a more healthful, age-appropriate way. 

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

3. No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

  • Suggested for parents who are: raised with traditional disciplinary methods

  • This New York Times best seller aims to explain a child’s brain development in relation to their behavior. It also puts a spotlight on the way parents react to a child’s unruly behavior. The book enables parents to deal with “tantrums, tensions, and tears—without causing a scene.” It sheds light on the correct meaning of discipline. That way, you won’t forge a cycle of negative behavior and punishment. It’s a way for parents and kids to develop a problem-solving mindset and unlearn the association of discipline to reprimanding. 

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

4. Gentle Discipline: Using Emotional Connection--Not Punishment--to Raise Confident, Capable Kids by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

  • Suggested for parents who are: used to employing punishments for bad behavior

  • Discipline doesn’t only mean punishment. However, discipline is still part of the definition of gentleness. Parents and kids actually need to have an emotional connection for disciplinary measures to be effective. This book aims for parents to veer away from shouting, shaming, and blaming. Instead, it seeks ways for kids to grow up happy and successful without dealing with our struggles and resentment. It also debunks some outdated parenting practices and misconceptions. Learn the real impact of giving punishments like designating a naughty chair for time out.

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon


Gentle Parenting Books on How to Communicate with Kids

5. How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

  • Suggested for parents who are: looking for ways to be more effective in communicating with the kids

  • This is the ultimate guide to creating open lines of communication with your kids. Created by number one New York Times best-selling authors, this book offers ways to cope with a child’s negative feelings. That includes frustration and anger. It also presents methods you can use to express yourself or discipline your child firmly without being hurtful. 

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

6. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids by Hunter Clarke-Fields

  • Suggested for parents who are: hoping to raise kind and compassionate children

  • A lot of people may not be familiar with “reactive parenting” but may be doing it on the daily. Here, you simply react without pausing to think about the possible consequences. It could be something as simple as yelling when your child spills their milk. This book aims to make you realize those everyday circumstances. Equipped with this knowledge, you can be more thoughtful when it comes to responding to anything your child does. It teaches you to stop being on autopilot, especially during those moments when you really need to keep your cool. 

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon

A young mother with glasses lying on her stomach, comfortably reading a parenting book and enjoying.

Enjoy the whole "study" process and actively think of ways to incorporate what you learn into your relationship with your kids.

7. Break Free from Reactive Parenting: Gentle-Parenting Tips, Self-Regulation Strategies, and Kid-Friendly Activities for Creating a Calm and Happy Home by Laura Linn Knight 

  • Suggested for parents who are: finding themselves snapping a lot at their child

  • We all know that kids are precious but not a lot of us have learned that treating them with kindness 100% of the time is difficult. In fact, it’s easier to get angry and frustrated with them instead. Aside from these negative reactions, we might also tend to over-reward or bribe them with treats, screentime, and more. This book presents “ways to improve, connect, and find calm in the chaos.” It provides support for parents to lessen overwhelming and anxious feelings and  helps them let go of guilt. You learn to manage your own apprehensions, so you can focus on creating a more balanced and calm environment for your entire family.

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

8. How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Calmer, Happier Parent by Carla Naumburg 

  • Suggested for parents who are: instinctively losing their temper

  • Are parental meltdowns common in your life these days? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. That is exactly what this book points out and aims to correct with evidence-based practices. Through this guide, you get a much-needed reality check, but also  a healthy dose of humor amid your stress. By the end of this book, you will be left feeling  empowered and more capable of staying calm no matter how crazy your parenting journey gets.

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 


Gentle Parenting Books on How to Handle a Child’s Milestones

9. Ready, Set, Go!: A Gentle Parenting Guide to Calmer, Quicker Potty Training by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

  • Suggested for parents who are: preparing to potty train their child

  • The transition from diapers to the toilet is usually a stressful time for both parents and kids. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll have support in every part of the process. It’s not just going to be a series of scientific facts or random life hacks. It actually tackles the importance of building a strong and positive connection with your child. See tips for potty training in and out of the house (for when you travel) and relatable stories and advice from other parents who’ve been there, done that. 

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

10. The Gentle Sleep Book: For Calm Babies, Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers by Sarah Ockwell-Smith (Author), Katy Sobey (Narrator), Hachette Audio UK (Publisher)

  • Suggested for parents who are: looking for ways to enhance their child’s sleep routine

  • Bedtime is another source of stress for many families, so this guide aims to be a guide for those with young kids, from newborns to five-year-olds. It delves into common issues like inconsistent daytime naps, night terrors, frequent waking, and resistance of toddlers to sleep on time. You will be enlightened about inaccurate and counterproductive sleep advice, and be taught a lot of  effective coping strategies made especially for sleep-deprived parents.

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

11. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices by Sarah Buckley (Author), Ina May Gaskin (Foreword)

  • Suggested for parents who are: expecting and considering a natural birth

  • Gentle parenting can start as early as when you give birth—take it from the author: a doctor that home-birthed her own four children. Get the most fulfilling birth experience while still being safe. Reading this will help you be in tune with the medical science behind labor and delivery, as well as advice on concerns immediately following childbirth. That includes breastfeeding and sleeping during postpartum, which are foundations of your relationship with your child.

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

12. Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn

  • Suggested for parents who are: looking to unlearn the tendency to give rewards and punishments

  • Written by a nationally-respected parenting coach, this book sheds light on viable alternative solutions to superficial ways of controlling behavior. It emphasizes how you need to steer clear of doing things to your child and instead aim to work with them. It starts with knowing their needs and resolving to meet those needs—the biggest one being acceptance whether they are “good” or “bad.” This book teaches you to stop reinforcing the need for your child to get your approval and just allow them to feel your unconditional love.

  • Where can you buy it? Amazon 

Four book covers, titled "No Bad Kids", "The Whole-Brain Child", "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk", and "No-Drama Discipline".

You don't have to read them in any specific order. Just start with what you feel is the most urgent.

Enjoy learning from these books or give them to someone whom you know might be interested in gentle parenting. First-time parents will definitely benefit from these, but those with two or more kids also need refreshers every now and then. At the end of the day, all parents need a little (or a lot of) guidance in not losing their cool all of the time around their kids.

Hopefully, these gentle parenting books help answer the many questions you have surrounding childcare. May your learnings in gentle parenting also equip you for the possible stress surrounding your child’s dental hygiene. They’re going to come in handy when your little one refuses to floss or throws a tantrum when you include it in your routine. 

To help make the dental hygiene experience fun and tantrum-free, shop our collection of Piico Kids Floss Picks below: