My Go-To Parenting Books Part Two

My Go-To Parenting Books Part Two

In part two of this blog, I’m giving you my go-to toddler & child behaviour parenting books. I’m giving you a little run down on each one and their main messages. This is not a definitive list and there are many many more books that I have read and own in my vast collection. This list is the most helpful list from my point of view. The boring as bat$3it books are not on this list and believe me there are way too many to list in this category! In the previous blog I covered 6 books on parenting, now it’s time for the final 7 in my goto list.

  1. No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
  2. Co-operative & Connected by Aletha Solter
  3. Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost
  4. The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
  5. Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
  6. Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter
  7. Oneness & Separateness by Louise Kaplan

No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury

This book is from a well respected parenting source who passes on the teachings of Magda Gerber and RIE in her popular books, podcasts and social media posts. She enourages parents to use an empathic approach and attunement to help the child resolve anger and a potential stand off. Once you hit a stand-off you are into a lose-lose. She normalises childrens behaviour and the reasons why behind a behaviour outburst. 

Janet helps parents model expected behaviours using a gentle guidance approach. She gives you practical and tried and tested strategies and encourages you to keep calm and avoid anger. This approach fosters a healthy will and leaves the spirit in the spirited child.

Honesty is a core value at the heart of her approach. There is no quick-fix approach and truthful and respectful parenting can help both the parent and the child. She says on one hand that she doesn’t use time-out or shame based parenting but on the other hand says its OK to take your child to their room to work out their emotions. And to stay with them. Preferring instead to use logical consequences more than time-out. 

Co-Operative & Connected by Aletha Solter

Aletha is a world reknowned psychologist who has worked with the eminent Piaget as well as written many books on kind and respectful ways of parenting. What I love about Aletha’s approach is the science and psychology behind her strategies. Crying and tantrums are essential for healthy well balanced children and normal emotions long term. We must allow emotion to flow and not stop it, it’s cathartic and stress reducing for the child. 

Without connection you won’t have co-operation. Connection is everything. This book looks at strategies for getting your little person actually listening to you and co-operating. Aletha is a fan of approaches that are not based in the reward and punishment style of behavioural psychology. This is definately a must read.

Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost

Supernanny has graced our screens for many years now. Her no-nonsense and practical style has won a lot of admiring fans. This book is clear and well designed and a really easy to follow guide. If you’re looking for clear strategies that work then this is your book. The only parts are object to are the naughty chair – it labels the child as naughty rather than the behaviour. It is far better to use the words time-out or chill-out zone as it takes the label away from the child. It is so important to separate the childs behaviour from the child. I’m also not a fan of making the child apologise. What if it is a false apology? And by making them apologise are we reinforcing the negative behaviour?

The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

This book moves away from a firm control approach to parenting towards an empathetic model of the normal ups and downs of childhood. There are workable strategies to help with everyday speedhumps and emotional outbursts of a normal toddler or child. She gives you options for minor misdemeanours and working through problems as well as discipline for major outbursts and how to do time-out. There are what to do’s and what not to do for each behaviour as well as a general explanation.

Pantley has zero tolerance for dangerous outbursts and offers control back to a frazzled parent. I actually think this book is a much better book than her sleep book. However the promise of a no-cry discipline solution? This leaves me cold and is the opposite of what should be happening. Emotions need to flow and come out. Repressing crying is so toxic and I really dislike the title because of this.   

Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille

A well respected Sydney based Psychologist Robin looks at parenting from a growth perspective of the parent. This book starts with pregnancy and how all the ways culture impacts on parenting shape the outcomes in our children. He encourages you to question the status quo and seach for a better world. This is less of a practical skills book and more of a whole life and the universe approach to being a parent.

He asks ‘what can we do when we make the painful discovery that something we have done has caused our child to hurt? And how can we deal with the guilt that comes up?…Parenting is an ever-evolving work in progress. A quick glance at the evolution of parenting through the ages does wonders to liquidate our sense of guilt, and replace it with humility and excitement for learning and growing as parents.’.

Parenting nowadays has shifted to an empathetic and emotion based model rather than the practical needs based parenting of yesteryear. 

Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter

Dr Louise Porter is a parent and child psychologist in Australia and lectures at Flinders University. Promoting a guidance approach and using communication rather than a typical rewards based behavioural stance it helps teach children self-regulation of emotions and ultimately self-control. With an emphasis on prevention it looks at the normal behavioural challenges children develop and the best ways of managing these. It also has a section on atypical behaviours and autism spectrum, OCD and ADHD.

The old ways of reward and punishment have no place in a modern society and certainly offer no benefit to the child. Moving away from a heavily controlling fear-based focus on parenting to a more child-centric way with an emphasis on helping a child solve their own issues. Reward charts and pocket money bribes should be a thing of the past she espouses. She belives in guidelines rather than rules, rights of others and the responsibility of the parent. And if we are to expect children to think and act responsibly we need to give them some responsibility to help them practice on. And their responsibilities need to grow with their increasing capabilities. This is a good book to help you with the older child and specifically 3-8 years age group.

Oneness & Separateness by Louise Kaplan

Louise is a professor of Psychology and a researcher in the field of attachment, her work is world reknowned and thought leading. I first came across her teachings whilst studying for my Psychology degree and her work has certainly helped and informed my practice in helping parents understand their babies and children. In this book Louise looks at developmental changes through the eyes of the baby and child. She takes you on a journey on what it means to be a separate individual and how that separation process plays out on a daily basis. It helps a parent understand why their baby has all these intense primal emotions and why they need help and support to naviagte these big developmental changes. I never ever tire of reading this book and each time I go back to it I glean and learn something new. Amazing.

And that is my final synopsis of books all about parenting and how to handle as well as understand these normal developmental outbursts. There are strategies, different approaches and practical applications but above all there is a gentle, kind and more empathic approach to parenting our children emerging. And this warms my heart and soul and gives me hope for humanity. We are raising our children in such a way that they are capable of solving the very big issues our world is currently facing.


Moving to full cream cows milk at 12 months of age

Moving to full cream cows milk at 12 months of age

Your 12-month-old baby is now officially a little toddler. And as such, they are moving on developmentally at a rapid pace of knots. As soon as they hit their 12 month/1-year-old milestone their nutrition needs to change as well. Whilst milk and dairy are still important food becomes even more so. Their brains are building at such a fast pace and their nerve fibres are undergoing massive myelination. Approximately 90% of their brains are formed by the age of 3 years. The brain is made of at and therefore needs a high good fat diet in order to grow. Their energy needs are higher than an adult male and they need double the carbohydrates of an adult to avoid hangry – aka hungry and angry meltdowns.

Having too much milk affects food intake and especially iron levels.

At 12 months their dairy intake reduces to 1.5-2 servings a day. A serving is 200 MLS Full Cream Milk, 40g or a matchbox size of cheese or 1 small tub of full-fat Greek yoghurt.

Transitioning to Full Cream Cows Milk at 12 months

Hopefully, by now, your baby has sampled some full cream cows milk in cooking or on their cereal. It is important to transition gradually especially if there has been a history of cows milk protein allergy or asthma, eczema or hayfever in the immediate family – parents or siblings.

At 12 months move to all milk feeds in a cup.

Starting a gradual titration – every 2-3 days – 2/3 normal milk and 1/3 full cream milk. Then half and half for 2-3 days followed by 1/3 normal milk and 2/3 full cream milk. Then if there have been no food reactions to the cows’ milk you can switch completely. By food reactions, I’m meaning skin rashes such as eczema, mucousy or bloody poo or severe constipation. These are all typical cows milk protein reactions.

Managing eczema in babies and children

All cows milk offered should be full cream until 2 years, after then it can be semi-skim and skim at 5 years.

New infant solids guidelines from ASCIA and when to give cows milk

Moving to one day nap

My Go To Parenting Books to Help With Child Behaviour

My Go To Parenting Books to Help With Child Behaviour

In this blog, I’m giving you my go-to toddler & child behaviour parenting books. I’m going to give you a little run down on each one and it’s main messages. This is not a definitive list and there are many many more books that I have read and own in my vast collection. This list is the most helpful list from my point of view. The boring as bat$3it books are not on this list and believe me there are way too many to list in this category!

  1. Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merriman
  2. The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson
  3. The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabery
  4. There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk
  5. French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman
  6. No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
  7. Co-operative & Connected by Aletha Solter
  8. Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost
  9. The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
  10. Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter
  11. Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
  12. Toddler Taming by Christopher Green

toddler behaviour

Toddler Taming by Christopher Green

The very first book I ever read on parenting and helping manage toddler and child behaviour was Christopher Green’s Toddler Taming. Whilst it may not have stood the test of time from a PC point of view and I don’t share his recommendations of smacking children. It does give you much-needed humour and a lot of his strategies do work. Christopher Green is a respected Australian paediatrician who until recently worked at Westmead. He talks about his trials and tribulations as a parent and how he approached typical parent pain points such as potty training. It is a very real book rather than a boring as cardboard academic book, of which there are way too many.

Next, I’m jumping to the very top of my list of top 10 parenting books. My background in Psychology (I have a psychology degree and in the UK we used Psychological techniques to help children with both sleep and behaviour). So a lot of my interest and reading is deeply rooted in science and fact and especially psychology.

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merriman

The researchers who wrote this book are both psychologists and this book is based on scientific fact and things we as parents are getting very wrong. The very first chapter, The Inverse Power of Praise examines the effect of empty praise e.g. clever boy, good girl and why labelled praise can mean your child achieves a third better in life. Addictive reading. The other chapters cover what the lost hour of sleep is doing to our children, why parents don’t talk about race, why kids lie, Why school tests (NAPLAN for example) are poor predictors of academic success, The sibling effect, The Science of Teen Rebellion, Can Self-Control Be Taught? What does plays well with others really mean? And language skills, can you get your child to start talking earlier with flashcards and other gimmicks?

Another section I found fascinating was the one on teaching self-control and impulsivity. There are some great ideas at the end of this chapter for applications in everyday parenting life. Something you need to read especially if you have a child with a high IQ.

Once you’ve read this book it will open your eyes to some of the mistruths we are being fed.

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson

I’m currently reading this on my Kindle at the mo. Because I’ve studied Psychology there are no big surprises in this book for me. However, I think it’s a must-read for any parent. It explains why toddlers and children struggle with logic and other concepts we take for granted. Everything under 3 years is about emotion. Are you a parent who communicates with a logical left brain or are you able to only use the emotional right brain? Once you realise this it will help you communicate differently with your little one and allow for their developing brain. After all, the brain does not reach maturity until the early ’20s and there are some older adults who struggle with logic in their older years!

The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabery

I first discovered Shefali 3-4 years ago whilst blogging and daytime TV was on in the background. I remember David and Sonia saying Oprah thinks this lady is the best thing since sliced bread in the world of parenting and once they mentioned the word attunement they had me hooked. She’s a psychologist and mum of a teenage girl. Her books and work are deep, meaningful and highly spiritual. You will either love her as I do or it will not be your thing. But, for one thing she will most certainly get you thinking.

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk

This is the Swedish book of parenting and concentrates on outdoor play and the benefits this has on brain development. It’s a highly optimistic upbeat book and will give you hope for the future and the world you are raising your child in. Another advantage of reading this book is the humour that comes with it. Parenting without humour is like chewing 2-month-old stale dry bread. Basically don’t do it!! It will have you going out come rain, hail or shine. As Linda says ‘there is no such thing as bad clothes’. This is basically my childhood in a nutshell. It also comes with solid evidence-based scientific reasons for doing outdoors play. It will bring joy back to your parenting with a plethora of commonsense and practical ideas. I LOVED this book.

Parenting Books







French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman

I first read this book about 7 years ago and I wanted to hate it but it’s actually my favourite book on parenting. The main message in this book is about The Pause, wait and see, don’t jump in, can your child do whatever the behaviour is by themselves? Most of the time yes they can and we jump in waaaaay too quickly. Those of you who know me and my sleep training methods very well will recognise the pause as The 3-Minute Magic Rule! A lot of dads love this book, it’s full of common-sense, highly logical and practical and best of all it works. And it’s a really easy and good read. Tick, tick, tick from me.

I’m finishing up today’s blog right here. The remaining 5 books I will blog about next. I hope you enjoyed this little saunter through my library and I hope it helped some of you decide what is worth more than a cursory glance at.

Why Eucalyptus Can Be Dangerous for Treating Colds in Young Babies & Children

Why Eucalyptus Can Be Dangerous for Treating Colds in Young Babies & Children

Aromatherapy or the use of essential oils therapy is known as the medicinal use of naturally extracted plant aromas used in promoting physical and emotional well-being. Aromatic plant oils have many helpful uses in managing minor medical issues, from treating burns, eczema and soothing irritated skin, to alleviating stress, helping sleep and relaxing the anxious mind.

Uses of Essential Oils

In babies older than 3 months, some essential oils can be used to help encourage sleep, calming anxiety, and relieving the symptoms of colic. Before applying essential oils to babies, it’s important to understand proper dilution ratios and application methods. Never ever apply undiluted essential oils directly onto the skin. The skin of a baby and young child is especially delicate and undiluted oils can and will burn their skin.

Essential oils are commonly used nowadays and many parents do not know how potentially dangerous they can be for babies and young children. I’m outing myself as a hippie/crunchy girl who loves crystals, energy healing and essential oils. I did my first course on aromatherapy and its uses over 30 years ago. I’m also a Reiki Master and I regularly use essential oils on adults. I also teach baby massage however I don’t use essential oils on babies.

In a large research study in Cambodia eucalyptus, camphor and menthol were found to be harmful in young children.

There are many types of eucalyptus and it’s important to know what TYPE OF EUCALYPTUS you are using. Babies and toddlers have very narrow airways and it is easy to block them. Using the wrong type of eucalyptus can block the narrow airways and cause respiratory distress. This is a dangerous issue particularly in atopic babies and children who have asthma.

Vapour rub

Vapour rubs such as Vicks, containing camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil are a common treatment for colds and are applied to the neck and chest area. In the one large randomised controlled trial the actual harm of this treatment appeared to outweigh its benefits. No effect was found on alleviating runny noses. Scores for cough frequency and severity were improved compared with no treatment. And scores for child and parental sleep were both significantly improved. However, vapour rub significantly increased adverse events including burning sensation to the skin (28%), nose (14%) and eyes (16%). Rashes and inflammation of the skin occurred in 5% of patients using vapour rub.

Vicks Vapour Rub

Rubin et al, a research scientist decided to investigate Vicks vapour rub salve after they treated a baby that was admitted to the emergency room with severe respiratory distress following the application of Vicks directly under her nose. They examined the effect of the product on ferrets because their airway structure is similar to humans (both in anatomical structure and cellular composition).

The researchers tested the product on healthy ferrets and ferrets with tracheal airway inflammation, similar to a person with a chest infection. They measured how much mucus was secreted and collected in the airways, and how much fluid gathered in the lungs.

The results showed that not only did Vicks increase the rate of mucus secretion, in both normal and inflamed airways, it also reduced the rate at which the mucous cleared from the airways.

The findings confirm the product labelling stating clearly it should not be used on children under 2 years old. However many parents continue to use it on their babies and toddlers, rubbing it into their feet and chest, said Rubin.

Rubin stresses that you should never put Vick under the nose, whether adults or children.

“I also would follow the directions and never use it at all on children under age 2,” he said.


Eucalyptus is a natural expectorant commonly used in helping unclog respiratory congestion. Making Eucalyptus a go-to favourite during the cold winter months. When using eucalyptus it is most important you know which TYPE of eucalyptus essential oil-based product you are using. The most common type of eucalyptus used is Eucalyptus Globulus.

Eucalyptus Radiata is a different species of eucalyptus than the more commonly found Eucalyptus Globulus. Children and young children should only use Eucalyptus Radiata. Whilst Eucalyptus Globulus (Blue Gum Eucalyptus) is perfectly safe for adults, it should never be used on children under the age of 2 years.








It is important to check with your family doctor, GP or your paediatrician before using eucalyptus to ease cold and respiratory symptoms.

Top tips to manage your baby’s cold

Developmental stages & baby sleep

Developmental stages & baby sleep

Today’s blog is looking at things we need to know about baby development and baby sleep. Moving babies on to the next stage cause mums a lot of angst. You’ve just got your little cutie sleeping really well then comes along those pesky developmental leaps. They start rolling over, moving around the cot and getting stuck and screaming out for you to help them.

I also see many babies being swaddled for way too long, often swaddled until 7/8 months old creating a big issue with sleep. This interferes with their ability to self-soothe and rollover. If your baby can’t put their bare hands in their mouth and roll over its very tricky to achieve a sleep through. Research has found a link between lack of mouthing and sensory processing issues. This reflex and developmental skill for mouthing i.e. placing their hands in their mouth take place around 12 weeks.

These are really common scenarios I get asked about:

My 4.5-month-old just learnt how to roll today! Yay! Only she can’t roll herself back and for her last two periods of sleep she could not settle herself as she’s never slept on her tummy before and essentially “got stuck”.

It took half an hour for us to settle her – eventually on her back like she’s used to. But how do we teach her that she can sleep on her tummy and not only use it for cobra pose??

Worried about her getting to bed tonight 😳 Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Best thing I can tell you is that it will pass. In future try settling her on their tummy to teach her that tummy sleeping is normal and what she should be doing. Once they can roll they are not a SIDS risk. This stage is a pretty short-lived thing so just keep rolling him to his back to sleep and after some nights she will be able to just roll both ways and it will be fine.

Sit by the cot, place your hand briefly on her back to teach her this is what you want her to do. Allow her to cry and feel frustrated. You don’t need to calm her, the baby’s job is to calm themselves. Your job is to be present and support this process.

baby sleep

But you don’t want to create “learned helplessness” where they need you to roll them – temporarily it’s OK if it’s just a learning curve but be careful. And lots and lots of rolling practice in the day! Use toys to teach him to roll front to back. And know that it will pass!

The next stage is 6-9 months and they get stuck sitting up 🙈😂 just know it will pass and help him/her work through it and settle him down, lots of teaching in the day etc. good luck!! Oh, and just in case it helps…a few bad nights of them learning these new things doesn’t undo your sleep work. They are just leaping their brains! It does go back 🙂

Then you have the 6-8 month leap and separation anxiety hits the big time.

This is one mums story – For those who have not long gone through 8-month leap and separation awareness. My poor little pet is now crying when I put her in bed AND catnapping, she also woke at 4.30 am which is unusual. I tried magic presence this afternoon. After a 30 min nap. 20 minutes of crying 😭 (I had earphones in to take the edge off) how long did this last for you?
I’d love your tips and any advice you can offer about how to deal with the waking?

  • My son has been through this stage a few time’s (6, 8 and 11 months) he turns 1 tomorrow. If she responded well to your initial sleep training, it won’t take long. First, 2 stages lasted 2-4 days and the last one just 1 day. You’ll both get there!!
  • My lad is still going through at nearly 11 months, I’m sorry, not helpful but we kept giving in and putting him in bed with us and now have made it so much harder for him so my advice is don’t be as soft as me because you’ll only make it harder for him like I have for my lad
  • my first baby was a dreadful sleeper. This time we decided to be firm early. I’m hoping that this won’t last too long. I get anxious about big changes because of past experiences 😱
  • We went through separation anxiety a few months ago and impacted his sleep he would panic when we put him in the cot and I checked some previous posts on the group and Karen had advised to going back to doing Magic Presence as soon as settling to sleep so we went back to doing magic presence for about 5 weeks-  and within a few days it all got sorted and was so worth it. It also really helped his separation anxiety during the day. It really does get better – you got this 🙌🏻
  • We just go through it 😫😫 I was being soft like above picking up and cuddling. Karen advised to go back to doing Magic Presence and I’m happy to report that after a few days of tough love (magic presence, no pickups at all) she cried for maybe 2 minutes before bed last night then put herself to sleep without me having to go in. Day naps have also improved too! Be strong you can get through it xx
And literally within no time, things are back on track. And if they’re not then you need the new online Nurture Sleep Program to help you.