What You’ll Find Inside: Looking for mindful parenting resources? Look no further. Some books may surprise you!

I am often sharing or lending out my favourite parenting books to friends or colleagues and so I wanted to put together a list of my Top 10 Mindful Parenting Books. At a first glance, many of the books on my list don’t appear to be focused on ‘mindful’ parenting, but they have one thing in common that I do always associate with mindfulness: being aware of your own behaviour and actions as a parent and connecting with your own emotions and those of your child.

We often look for quick and immediate solutions to our parenting dilemmas….How to Potty Train a Reluctant 3-year Old, How to Handle Grocery Store Tantrums, Stop Pre-teen Backtalk….the list goes on. We go through our own toolkit of parental arsenal (half of which we may have inherited and not learned) and then we end up at wit’s end. We need an immediate fix. Now.

I know in my own experience and in speaking with many other parents it seems to be a similar case, I tend to always look first into how I can change my child’s behaviour. But wait….isn’t that what you need help with? Well, yes….but…BIG BUT…Mindfulness teaches us that we must first change our own behaviour in order to influence those around us. We really only have control over our own actions and we need to be able to reflect on our own inner being and how it affects our parenting.

Each of these mindful parenting books that I love and recommend, aims to teach the parent how to examine their own behaviour, motives and/or inner guidance systems in order to then change in a way that elicits the corresponding change we are looking for in our children.  They have all helped me immensely. I have written about this myself, but a key component in each book is finding ways to connect/reconnect with your child if you are feeling distant. This is sometimes where we can feel at a loss – even after we have changed our own behaviour.

Without further adieu, my list (not in any particular order).

My Top 10 Mindful Parenting Books

 

1. The Complete Buddhism for Mothers, by Sarah Napthali

Top 10-Buddhism For MothersThis book is like a bible to me. What I mean by bible is that it is very near and dear to my heart. It is HUGE. I read it religiously and regularly gain tremendous insights and learn many truths from this book (3 books actually – Buddhism for Mothers, Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children and Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren). Originally, I took out the individual books from my library, as they are handier and consumable read separately but I ended up buying The Complete Buddhism for Mothers and I enjoy having all three books right there to cross-reference ideas and insights. I also have children of multiple ages and Sarah wrote each book as her children were growing, so the books talk about different ages and stages. To me, this book is the mother of all mindful parenting books.

2. Bringing Kids Up Without Tearing Them Down, by Dr. Kevin Leman

Top 10 - Bring Up Kids Without Tearing Them Down

This was the first book I ever read by Dr. Kevin Leman and I was hooked immediately. Although this book says nothing of mindfulness, it really embodies the concept for me of raising little adults with kindness and while keeping their little spirits intact. Kevin Leman is hilarious and has 5 children of his own. I thoroughly recommend all of his books; I have read about 12 and there are many more.

**** Please note – I’ve linked to the Amazon listing but this book appears to be out of print – and therefore ridiculously priced! You may want to check used bookstores.

3. Two Thousand Kisses a Day, by L.R Knost

Top 10 - Two-Thousand-Kisses-a-Day-Gentle-Parenting-Through-the-Ages-and-StagesI absolutely ADORE L.R Knost’s writing. She is a mom of 6, author and Gentle Parenting Educator. Her style of writing is so accessible and her books are written with busy parents in mind – all concepts are written in bite-sized – easily digestible chapters with doable practices. The core concept is that as infants we touch our babies physically so much during those first few years, but as time goes by we must strive to maintain these ‘touch-points’ in other ways – through connecting with words as well as touch and action. Her books will change the way you see parenting for sure.

 

4. Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, by Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn

Top 10 - Everyday BlessingsIf you are new to mindfulness practices, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books are a great place to start. His writing is very clear and accessible and he really is one of the leading proponents of mindfulness. He and his wife co-wrote this book in 1997 and then updated it in 2014 (since their children had grown quite a bit and they had learned quite a great deal more about mindful parenting). These two are a great team and this book is wonderfully accessible and easy to read.

 

5. What Kindergarten Teachers Know, by Lisa Holewa and Joan Rice

Top 10 - What Kindergarten Teachers KnowThis one I love because of it’s simplicity. Although it is not a book on mindfulness, it really teaches us to connect with our kindergarteners at their level through music, play, song, dance, and imagination. It helps parents to understand developmentally appropriate behaviour and how to adjust expectations and nurture a child’s emotionally abilities in order to create a calmer environment at home.

6. Mindful Discipline, by Shauna L. Shapiro and Chris White

Top 10 - Mindful DisciplineThe subtitle of this book is: A loving approach to setting limits & raising an emotionally intelligent child and this book lives up to it. Written by Shauna L. Shapiro, a recognized mindfulness expert, alongside Pediatrician Chris White, this book delves into the following five elements necessary for a child to thrive: unconditional love, space for children to be themselves, mentorship, healthy boundaries and mis-takes that create learning and growth opportunities.

7. The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Dr. Harvey Karp

Top 10 - Happiest Baby on the BlockNot an obvious ‘mindful parenting’ book but the reason I have this one on the list is because it really is about connecting with your baby’s needs. Dr. Karp advocates that babies really are not ready for the world after their 40 weeks inside and many need a re-creation of womb-like conditions for another whole trimester (The Missing Fourth Trimester). Dr. Karp teaches the 5 S’s (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking) as a way to instantly trigger what he calls the Calming Reflex. Honestly, this was a life-saver for me as a first-time parent and I would highly recommend it.

8. Planet Middle School, by Dr. Kevin Leman

Top 10-Planet Middle SchoolBecause I have a middle-schooler right now, this is one of my current favourites. Again, Dr. Kevin Leman does a fantastic job of helping parents understand why kids do the things they do – but this time he addresses those mysterious years of middle-school years….when you go from one day having a sweet son or daughter that is willing to help out around the house or who wants to go to the mall with you to something more akin to a “creature from the black lagoon” (his words, not mine!)….Fantastic book, I own the audiobook as well so I can listen to pieces of it on the go when I need it. He really opens parents eyes to understanding those awkward moments and how to create wins with your middle-schooler – all through love and respect.

9. Whispers Through Time, by L.R. Knost

Top 10 -Whispers-Through-TimeL.R. Knost again does a great job in this handy little book as she looks at communication through the different stages from toddlers to teens as the key to gentle parenting. I found some overlap with Two Thousand Kisses a Day but that overlap was welcome as a reminder of how to create those connection and communications points. A true gem.

10. Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children, by Thich Nhat Hanh and Wietske Vriezen

Top 10 - Planting SeedsLast but not least, this book is a guide that pulls together 30 years of Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness and compassion teaching in the Plum Village Community. He offers doable activities and practices that parents and teachers can use either in a school setting or at home. There are relaxation techniques for children, conflict resolution, mindful breathing, walking, meditation and much more. An indispensable guide to have for any parent wanting to include mindful practices in their daily life.

 

Well, there you have it. That was long, I know – but I really wanted to give you a sense of each book and why I recommend it. I hope you find a few on the list to enjoy!

 

What About You?

 

I would love to hear about favourite mindful parenting books! What is your top go-to book for mindful/gentle parenting?

sarah

 

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