If you’ve been following my writing for a while, you’ll be familiar with my “best of” or “favourite resources” posts. I like to survey my readers and colleagues about twice a year to find the parenting resources they find the most helpful.
This one is a little bit different: I am certainly including the expert-based parenting how-to books, sites, and apps, which I trust enough to pass along to others but I’m also including the ones, which make me collapse with laughter.
I’ve discovered that although we need helpful information when we can’t get our toddlers to bed at a reasonable hour or we’re staring down the third one-hour-long tantrum of the day, we need to laugh about the ridiculousness of parenting almost as much. There are many things I wish I had done differently when I was in the throws of raising young children (mine are seven and nine-years-old now) including taking the time to address the gallows humour side of parenting.
It’s hard to believe that in the time since my children were both toddlers, which is only six years ago, the Internet space has changed radically. I wasn’t even on Facebook six years ago! There has been an explosion of parenting information on the Internet, which has proven to often be helpful, sometimes dangerous, and on many days: full of noise. I hope this list will cut through the noise and give you the information you need in the short time you have. I know it can prove challenging to get and read a whole book while raising toddlers so I’m suggesting a few of those along with resources you can pop in and out of in minutes or with one hand.
These resources are in no particular order of greatness:
1. The book: Rest. Play. Grow. Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One) by Deborah Macnamara, PhD
Deborah Macnamara is a faculty member of the Neufeld Institute, which is a trusted parenting information/ research hub. I suggest following both Deborah and the Institute. I have read this book and feel it is a very good one for parents, preschool caretakers, educators, and even babysitters. I have also been reading Deborah's articles over the years and find her work to be consistently as evidence-based as it can be in the parenting world and just really sound advice.
2. The book, website, and consultants from: Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki
Potty training can go much more smoothly if parents prepare a positive plan ahead of time and feel confident in the method they are using. I like Oh Crap! Potty Training because the strategies used are in line with positive parenting, positive core belief development, and are quite successful. Definitely get a copy of the book, follow their Facebook page, and seek out help from a consultant early on – get your questions answered before stress develops.
3. The Facebook page: Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond
I have been following this page for several years and have watched it grow from a few thousand to almost a million followers. The founder of the page, Rebecca Eanes, consistently demonstrates her deep understanding of parents, and her desire to support her readers with helpful, accurate information. She recently had a book published called Positive Parenting – an Essential Guide, which I have read and do recommend as well.
4. The website and consultants at: Good Night Sleep Site
The Good Night Sleep Site is the sleep resource I have consistently turned to over the years for help with the children of my family, readers, and clients. The founder, Alanna McGinn has developed a supportive group of sleep educators, which I recommend if you are having any sleep challenges. I believe getting enough sleep is critical and many behavioural problems parents seek help from me for are often solved when the sleep issues are solved first. In addition to one-on-one help, Alanna and her team write many articles, post videos, and suggest books: here is a link to their Facebook page.
5. The website and social media for: Baby Rabies
I had the fortune of presenting on a panel with Jill Krause, the founder of Baby Rabies, last year in Washington, DC at the Dad 2.0 Summit 2016. In the time of preparing and conducting that group presentation, I was consistently impressed with her level of knowledge, empathy, and presenting/ writing abilities. Jill is a broadcast journalist by trade – this training clearly shines in the high quality of her writing, videos, and social media communication. I suggest following Baby Rabies for things like: advice on products that actually work, parenting culture, thoughtful opinion pieces, and feeling you’re not alone.
6. The YouTube Videos/ training at: My Smart Hands
My Smart Hands, founded by Laura Berg, is a wonderful resource for helping to teach your baby/ toddler sign language. I am a big supporter of using sign language to help you and your little one successfully communicate, which can often reduce the number of intensity of tantrums. Laura’s YouTube videos are very well crafted and viewed by millions of parents. She has also developed a few apps to help with teaching sign language: please visit her site for more information.
7. The website and podcast at: Life of Dad
I love this site and it’s social media outlets for many reasons, one of which is the supportive environment the founders created for dads to reach out to each other. Moms are allowed, too, and are part of this lovely parenting space. I had the fortune of meeting Ryan Hamilton and Art Eddy from Life of Dad when they interviewed me for their podcast show last year (which was a lot of fun!). Actually, I met Ryan several years ago at a Canadian parenting conference and have been following their team since then, watching it grow into a positive online parenting force.
8. The website and YouTube videos from: The Holderness Family
Do you remember the “Christmas Jammies” video that went viral a few years ago? The Holderness Family has continued this fun vibe into a successful parenting entertainment site. Their “This is 40” video in particular had me crumpled into a crying/ laughing mess. I had the opportunity to meet Penn Holderness at Dad 2.0 Summit last year and was struck by his wit, honestly, ability to think quickly, and generally wonderful broadcasting abilities. Penn, along with his wife Kim and their two children, create videos that will certainly put a smile on your face.
9. The Facebook pages: The Honest Toddler (*profanity alert*) and BLUNTMoms
The Honest Toddler is a parenting entertainment site founded by writer Bunmi Laditan. I’m not going to sugar coat this: her posts are really, really funny, and sometimes can be littered with inappropriate, harsh language. Parents tell me that when they read this page they feel heard, understood, and not alone. I can say similar things about the parenting pop-culture website: BLUNTMoms.
10. The Smartphone app: Taming Tantrums by Andrea Loewen Nair (that's me!)
It took me and my team of parenting educator helpers years to develop this toddler parenting resource: a smartphone app called "Taming Tantrums." I really believe in this thing, and am so glad thousands of other parents agree with me! I created this app so that no matter where parents (or Grandparents, daycare workers, babysitters) are, they will have help at their fingertips. I invite you to read this article, which gives more detailed information about what is in the Taming Tantrums app. You can download it from the American iTunes store here, the Canadian one here, and here if you have an android phone. If you live outside of North America, search for "Taming Tantrums" in your phone's App Store.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment in funds or kind from anyone on this list above. I realize that there are many wonderful parenting resources beyond this list, and would love to hear your favourites over on my Facebook page so I can add them to my next one.