Books and Resources on Toddler Behavior

Looking for guidance on how to handle tantrums and create structure for your toddler? PSP members shared their favorite recs in response to a member’s request for books, podcasts, and resources that are “empathetic yet practical.”

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Happiest Toddler on the Block
by Harvey Karp

“I just got ‘Happiest Toddler on the Block’ by Harvey Karp - I really found his book on newborns to be really helpful.”

“I have found Happiest Toddler on the Block very useful.”


How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King

“We started looking at the e-book of How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen (a junior companion to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk). I haven’t gotten very far yet, but many people have recommended them to us, and so far I like the gist.”

“I can't recommend it enough for figuring out ways to handle difficult situations with toddlers.”


How Toddlers Thrive by Tovah Klein

“The book is insightful into the world of toddler development and also practical (without a one-size fits all approach).”


Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleef

“I found the book Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleef fascinating and full of helpful suggestions for navigating my toddler's big feelings.”

“I second Hunt Gather Parent! Best parenting book I've read so far, and I'm trying to convince my husband to read it too. I found it helpful from both angles - how to raise children to be helpful and empathetic humans, but also how to make the job of being a parent easier.”


No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

“I absolutely love Tina Payne Bryson and Dan Siegel. I recommend No Drama Discipline to start. I find their books helpful because A) they explain the science behind behavior and connection so you can make decisions across contexts and B) they share personal examples of when they didnt do as they say which was very refreshing. They also have 90 minute video resources and fridge sheet pullouts.”


Oh Crap I Have a Toddler by Jamie Glowacki

“I've found Oh Crap I Have a Toddler by Jamie Glowacki to be both helpful and retaining a good sense of humor. Very concrete chapter on how to deal with tantrums in the moment.”


The Tantrum Survival Guide by Rebecca Schrag Hershberg


Your Two Year Old by Louise Bates Ames

“She has a series of your X year old that I've found really helpful so far, and they're generally short books. I will note they have some out of date references, but the general ‘why is my kid like this’ is still totally valid.”

Podcasts and Online Resources

Big Little Feelings

“My husband and I took the Big Little Feelings course. The price is a bit much but we thought it was useful. Lots of good techniques that have been working with our daughter and it's useful to have a protocol that we can both follow. Think the video courses make it easier to learn together and be on the same page. We found the section on sleep particularly helpful, but the tantrum stuff is great too.”

“I have taken the BLF course. it’s ok outside of it being a little cheesy in tone. I appreciate the message. … I think the key is to understand the general script and start implementing it until it becomes second nature. it’s hard no matter what in the middle of all the screaming. I apologize a lot for losing it.”

“I also enjoyed the BLF course. For me, the short modules were easy to get through and my husband was actually willing to watch with me. He’s not into books on this kind of thing, and it seemed important to be on the same page. I agree that it’s a lot of the same information you can get from other places free or cheaper, but really appreciated the convenience and format myself.”


Dr. Becky Kennedy

“I like Dr. Becky as well (@drbeckyatgoodinside) … She has a helpful podcast called Good Inside.”


Janet Lansbury

“Janet Lansbury’s podcast, Respectful Parenting is great! She’s also written a couple of books.”

“Janet Lansbury is amazing. I just google the behavior and her name. Her book, No Bad Kids, is very helpful.”

“Been enjoying episodes of Unruffled, Janet Lansbury's approach to Respectful Parenting. Some helpful thinking around setting up healthy boundaries and understanding toddler perspective.”


Zero to Three, “Coping with Defiance: Birth to Three Years

“As a former child therapist (ha), I find validation is a great tool for diffusing a heated situation. You don't have to agree to validate the feeling. Validation could mean getting closer below eye level, a soft touch, and validating the wish/feeling ( like the desire to stay in the sandbox even if you have to set the limit of going home for lunch.) Here is a short article I find helpful from Zero to Three”


Further Reading from PSP

Behavior and Discipline section

Temper Tantrums, Terrible Twos, and Taming a Toddler

Thrilling Threes

Challenging four-year-old behavior

What to Do When Temper Tantrums are Extreme

Advice for When Your Toddler Hits You

Managing Difficult Behaviors with Small Brooklyn Psychology