My Top Parenting Books

Babies and Toddlers:

The RIE® Manual for Parents and Professionals-Expanded Edition. Edited by Magda Gerber. Expanded Edition co-edited by Deborah Greenwald and Joan Weaver.

Quality Time

Dear Parent: Caring for Infants with Respect by Magda Gerber

Caregiving Routines: One-to-One, with Full Attention
On Teaching and Learning
Allowing Infants to Do What They Can Do

Your Self-Confident Baby by Magda Gerber and Allison Johnson

Respecting Babies: A New Look at Magda Gerber’s RIE Approach by Ruth Anne Hammond

Ruth Anne was once a student of Magda Gerber, the co-founder of RIE and creator of the Educaring® Approach.

Ruth Anne talks about respect for babies. Why is it so important to speak to our children about what is happening and wait for a response?

Ruth Anne wrote, “When an adult speaks quietly about what is happening and waits for response, the child does not need to be on alert that change could be coming at any moment unannounced. It is enough for baby to have to regulate her emotions when unavoidable surprises happen, such as when someone accidentally drops something, making a loud noise.”

Baby Knows Best By Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Baby Knows Best: Raising a Confident and Resourceful Child, the RIE® Way is a comprehensive, accessible guidebook that introduces readers to Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach. Beginning with Gerber’s idea that infants are competent, capable individuals with ever-developing abilities to communicate, problem-solve, and self-soothe, the book illustrates how to put ideas into practice, yielding more relaxed parents and more confident, self-reliant children.

Baby Knows Best addresses infancy through toddlerhood, beginning with being home with your newborn, and continuing on with how to care for your baby respectfully, the ever-important topic of sleep, movement and motor development, play, setting limits, child care, parenting support, and continuing the practice as your family grows.

Another amazing book that will be especially helpful to parents and teachers with children from 1-3 years old.

1, 2, 3….. The Toddler Years by Irene Van der Zande (with a foreword by Magda Gerber).

This book will show you how respect and empathy can lead to cooperation and a healthy relationship between the toddler and parent/teacher. It also equips you with conflict-resolution tools for very young children. In a very simple way, this book talks about adult expectations and what is age-appropriate and what is not. For example, it talks about:

    • biting,
    • fighting,
    • sharing or not,
    • going to sleep,
    • saying goodbye,
    • toilet learning,
    • eating.

The Origins of Free Play by Éva Kállo and Györgyi Balog

This book eloquently describes modes of free play from the infant’s discovery of his hands to manipulation and experimentation with objects, to the stage of building things. Includes photographs. Published by the Pikler Institute, Budapest, Hungary.


P.E.T. Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children by Dr. Thomas Gordon.

Once you read it, you know it ALL. Okay, not all, but you will definitely get a new vision plus tools on how to work through problems and conflicts. And not only resolve them together with your children but also give them a unique gift to know how to deal with problems and how to “own” the problems. You will also find out about:

    • “Active listening”
    • “I” and “You” messages
    • How to avoid being a permissive parent
    • How to use the “No-Lose” method to resolve conflicts

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

This book will help you to learn how to:

    • avoid turning simple conversations into arguments,
    • instruct your children rather than criticize them when correcting them,
    • find alternatives to punishments,
    • accept children’s feelings,
    • acknowledge their feelings,
    • give empathy,
    • allow them to trust their reception.

The authors of this book refer to Dr. Haim G. Ginott who wrote the book I recommend next. This book also comes in CD form, so you can listen to it while driving your car.

Between Parent and Children by Dr. Haim G. Ginott

This is a very special book to me because it was one of the first books I read on child development many years before I had my daughter or attended college. The book is hilarious, very easy to read, and easy to relate with the author. What really struck me and was a great reminder was the system of values that cannot be taught directly. This book will show you how to:

    • discipline without threats, bribes, sarcasm, or punishment.
    • criticize without demeaning.
    • acknowledge rather than argue with children’s feelings, perceptions, and opinions.
    • respond so that children will learn to trust and develop self-confidence.

Peacemaking With Preschoolers By Enrico Gnaulati Ph.D. & Susan North

This is a unique book on conflict resolution between children. The book is written in a very easy-to-follow way: it describes the different types of conflicts, gives the reader a short scenario followed by an analysis, and then breaks down a teacher’s intervention.

Getting it Right with Children by Madelyn Swift

We personally view this book as an extension to P.E.T. Parent Effectiveness Training. It gives a different angle to some of the same problems. If you want to know more, then definitely read this book! It helps you with discipline and cooperation. Some of the new points that we learned from this book are:

    • Where self-esteem comes from and what it is based on.
    • The difference between routines and rules.
    • The difference between problem-solving and limit-setting.
    • Tips for maintaining authority.

I want to mention that it seems that Madelyn Swift and Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish have slightly different opinions about indirect messages. I myself believe in indirect messages, but at the same time, I saw people with whom they do not work well.

When Your Kids Push Your Buttons: And What You Can Do About It by Bonnie Harris
The book is based on the same principles as the other books above, but it also focuses on the private experiences of parents. It talks about our relationship with our parents and how it can affect our parenting approach.

Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With by Bonnie Harris

The back cover of the book lists the 8 principles:

    • Children want to succeed
    • Behavior is the parents’ cue
    • A child’s greatest need is acceptance
    • Expectations must be set for success
    • Connection strengthens relationships
    • The behavior that is focused on grows
    • Problem-solving, not punishment, teaches responsibility
    • Good boundaries mean good balance

You’re Not My Friend Anymore! by Betsy Evans

The book is put together in a unique way. It looks almost like a comic book and has 21 scenarios. It provides the reader with a typical way of responding and the alternative way in which one can react, giving the reader suggestions on typical conflicts on sharing, excluding, biting, throwing, etc.

Guiding Young Children by Eleanor Reynolds

Reynolds assists teachers and parents in understanding the problem-solving philosophy. For me, the most valuable aspect of this book is that the author distinguishes between limit-setting and rules. “Rules are rigid and may be broken, but limits are flexible and may be adjusted to fit the individual situation. Limits respect children as unique and capable yet expect them to act responsibly” (184).

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen Ed.D

Whole-Brain Child by Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., and Daniel J. Siegel  – One of the best books  I ever read!!



What will you and your child learn in RIE class?


Tips and ideas how you can build connection with young children in your family.

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