Is there an overall toddler handbook?

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I’m a total researcher and when I read it from a book, it just clicks with my brain. When I became pregnant, I gobbled up all of the books I could read about pregnancy and babies. But I, surprisingly, am a little late to the game on books about toddlers (12m-4yrs). Everything I am Googling is either about toddler discipline, toddler brain development, etc. All of which I am very interested in, but isn’t there just an overall toddler handbook?

I’m clueless about milestones, potty training, heck, when do they move into a real bed? And of course, I appreciate books with more offbeat sensibilities, which I am having some trouble finding. (There’s gotta be more info out there than “What to Expect,” right?)

What books did Homies turn to when learning about what to do with toddlers that covers the whole experience, not just discipline?

Thanks, y’all! -Anne

Comments on Is there an overall toddler handbook?

  1. I really liked “Happiest toddler on the block” by Dr. Karp. This helped a lot with communication and discipline for a little one.

    “Baby Development” by Dr. Halsey was also very helpful for early toddlerdom. Though it’s primary focus is for children under 1 year.

    After that, I’ve been kind of winging it- the kid is 4. I do still get monthly emails from pampers that are helpful, even though I cloth diapered the kid.

    Parents magazine online is also a good one to get emails from- even though their website crashes mobile browsers.

  2. I have found that there aren’t really overall toddler books because once they become toddlers, they can talk and tell you what they want – and every little person is so different! Babies – they all kind of want and need the same things – food, sleep, to be cleaned up, love, noise, etc…. but toddlers – they kind of become a*holes at some point and you are just looking to survive – what works for one will not work at all for another…. this is kind of where parents are made… I say jokingly, but Im serious too (mother of 4)…. if you are keeping them alive and mostly happy (because seriously, something life-jarringly dramatic will happen every day = my tator tot is too crunchy so I wont eat for the next 12 hours), and they aren’t being terribly mean to their peers, then you are doing a good job! Really, you just have to go at their pace and do things when they are ready, even if means giving them a little push to get started. This is a hard time, and you will make it! Just hang in there… 🙂

  3. Believe it or not, the basic early childhood psychology course I took way back in college gave me a fairly solid grasp of what toddler development looks like emotionally and what I could expect from my kiddo (for example, sharing is beyond the capacity of a 2 year old but they can understand and be convinced to take turns). The CDC also has a comprehensive list of physical milestones for all the ages on their website, as well as recommendations on when it might be time to reach out for an evaluation. Book-wise, I have found a lot of good guidance in L.R. Knost’s books. She talks about parenting from babyhood through the teen years (all of which she has experience with), handling difficult milestones, and communicating with your child from a gentle parenting perspective. For a more toddler-focused book, you can’t beat No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury. She’s a proponent of RIE and talks in depth about what normal toddler development looks like and how to work with your child in a respectful way to build up their life skills and be the secure base they need to keep developing and exploring.

  4. Yay, thanks for posting my question!! These are all Awesome, I will start checking some of these out at the library! I know that a lot of it will be winging it, and luckily I was pretty involved with my nephews and so the discipline part I kind of understand (famous last words) but I never handled any of the milestone parts like potty training. At our 1 year check up, the doc was all, “ok, time to transition to a sippy cup!” …bwa?? I can use as much help as I can get, apparently. Hah! Thanks, y’all!

    • Oh god, I remember that one year checkup. “Time for a sippy cup. And regular milk is okay now, too! Let’s just change the game on you!” I also remember being jarred when our regular checkups became more and more spaced out. Now we’re doing a whole year in between and it still feels kind of weird.

      We just had our three year old checkup today, and I definitely don’t feel like a supermom, but he’s not dead, and sometimes uses his manners, and can sometimes even be persuaded to eat, so maybe I’m doing something right.

  5. Unfortunately, there aren’t many books that are helpful for dealing with all toddlers – they’re just so diverse! For the straight-up practical “at age X they are likely to do Y, at age Q they are likely to do U” stuff, the Dr. Sears book is probably the best. If you want one that works for your child specifically, I’d start looking at various groups devoted to any notable development-affecting quirks your child may have, and see what they recommend – e.g if your kid is deaf, “Raising Your Deaf Toddler” (hypothetical book) may actually be of use.

  6. Have you ready anything about the Montessori method? It’s kind of an educational system, but also sort of a whole philosophy on raising kids, and has a lot about development and milestones. I’d start with How to Raise an Amazing Child The Montessori Way by Tim Seldin. It’s super basic, a fast read. I’ve heard (but haven’t managed to read) that books by Maria Montessori are really great, if pretty dense. My favorite montessori blog is – she has a great archive where you can go back and look at what her kids were doing at the same age as your kid is now.

    And just for an alternative thought, it’s totally possible to skip the sippy cups entirely! We did – my daughter is almost 2, and she’s been drinking out of a regular cup since the very beginning. We started with shot glasses filled half way, now she just drinks out of a regular cup filled less than half full. (Sometimes a metal cup, sometimes glass or ceramic, if I’m paying a tiny bit more attention.)

  7. Kid Wrangling by Kaz Cooke is amazing! She goes through all those “milestones” that you speak about, and its subtitle should be “Toddlering for dummies”. It covers so much basic stuff that I havent seen in other books. And she is hilarious and down-to-earth and guaranteed not to make you feel bad about your parenting choices.

    Plus there is funky little drawings scattered throughout.

    She’s an Aussie author so there might be some cultural stuff thats slightly wacky. Not sure.

    He pregnancy guide is called Up The Duff and it is also amazing! She’s such a great author.

  8. My favorite is Discipline Without Distress because, despite the title, it’s about WAY more than discipline (and it’s not the traditional definition of “discipline” i.e. punishment, either). I am finding it REALLY good for ages-and-stages, and it goes all the way from newborn to toddler to teen. It’s by Judy Arnall. Milestones are covered, sleep problems, picky eating, toilet training, etc. Check it out!

  9. A lot of people I know love Janet Lansbury, so that’s another resource to check out, though I won’t personally endorse things I haven’t read. For other reading material though it’s a blog not a book, I’ve found to be really helpful.

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