Growing Your Child

Read FeedShaw/Watha T. Daniel Library

Growing Your Child

Child development & child psychology

Conventional wisdom abounds when it comes to the topic of child-rearing. However, a well-considered and well-researched scientific inquiry is just as helpful. The books on this list look at child development through the lenses of neurology, developmental psychology, and cognitive science. Take the guilt out of the guesswork and let science work its magic.

The Gardener and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik
Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology who is known for her research in the areas of child development and child psychology. The Gardener and the Carpenter is a thoughtful and engaging exploration of the parent-child relationship. Instead of wagging her finger, Gopnik discusses current research and respected theories. Fascinating points, such as the role of grandmothers in a child’s health, paint a brilliant vision of child development and give parents excellent ideas to apply in their own family life.

Welcome to Your Child’s Brain by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang
Two neuroscientists outline child development from before birth through the teens years. Milestones and themes in brain development are explored by topic and age. Tips are interspersed throughout the book (let your child play outside to encourage visual acuity) and myths are exposed (there is no evidence that listening to classical music makes your child smarter).  

The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive by W. Thomas Boyce, M.D.
Oftentimes when a child experiences an extreme hardship such as a mental illness parents ask where they went wrong. W. Thomas Boyce is a medical professor and the co-director of the Child and Brain Development Program in Canada. Boyce looks at mental health from an evolutionary perspective, for example linking maternal stress to later struggles in life. The Orchid and the Dandelion is a sensitive examination of the perplexing nature of the mind that draws on the author’s life and finds reasons to be hopeful.

Baby Meets World: Suck, Smile, Touch, Toddle by Nicholas Day
It’s easy to overlook the most basic human functions such as sitting, standing, and sneezing. However, Nicholas Day explores infants’ acquisition of these basic skills using both humor and research. Day also discusses past theories and practices of child-rearing. Baby Meets World is the perfect book to learn about your baby and have fun too.

Beyond Good Parenting: The Art & Science of Behavior, Learning, and Partnership by Martin L. Dutcher
Dutcher draws on more than 30 years of experience as a childcare provider to offer examples of common childhood dilemmas, suggestions for guiding and correcting, and discussions of child development theory. The result is a warm and accessible been-there, done-that guide.

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnik Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D.
Lots of recent childcare advice has suggested focused activities, such as a listening to Mozart and doing route learning exercises, to boost a baby’s brain development. However, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff debunk the myths that surround regimented cognitive development plans. Rather, the authors explain why play is the best “method” to promote early learning. Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff also give readers ideas to help young children play and expand.