Why I Read Parenting Books When We Don’t Have Kids Yet (+ a peek at my book list)


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I’ve enjoyed learning about and studying things for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would get up early on Saturday mornings and peruse craft books, looking for a fun new project to try. My favorite nonfiction book was (and still is) Children Just Like Me because it allowed me to vicariously experience other kids’ lives around the world! I’d tiptoe into my dad’s study and run my fingers along the various psychology books that used to belong to my grandpa. I read books about aquarium fish, looked up Hawaiian phrases to make posters with, and study my GERMAN in 10 Minutes a Day book for fun. My stack of library books in the summer was always way too tall to carry out to the car without a bag. In middle school, I even compiled a binder of smoothie and milkshake recipes to try after school in the afternoons! And all this is just a sampling of what I enjoyed doing. 🙂 

I think it’s safe to say that even little Hannah enjoyed learning. 🙂 I couldn’t help it. I saw the world as a big, bright, fascinating place full of people that were just as interesting! Maybe you were/are this way, too! Isn’t it fun to just constantly be finding fun new things to learn about? 

RELATED READING: How to Be a Lifelong Learner Without Spending a Lot of Money

Fast forward to now. Obviously, I still love to learn. And my husband Bjorn is a passionate lifelong learner, too! (I’m lucky I ended up with a man who loves to learn probably even more than I do!) 🙂 Granted, we have our different and unique interests, which leads me to today’s topic: parenting / baby books.

I like to read books on babies and parenting. My nightstand stack of books always includes a book or two on raising children. 

But, Bjorn and I don’t have kids yet. So why would I be spending my time reading about raising little ones?

I’ve been reflecting on this enough lately that I wanted to piece my thoughts together here. After all, this space acts as a journal for me in this season of life…and, perhaps you’ll find you can relate to some of these reasons yourself! Also, feel free to comment and share your own recommendations below!

Why I Read Parenting Books When We Don't Have Kids Yet

Why I Read Parenting Books (When We Don’t Have Kids Yet)

Preparing. Obviously, when you read books about things that aren’t currently in your life, you are preparing yourself. Yes, I have the mindset of preparing myself to be a loving, effective parent as much as possible.

But this isn’t me making the point that I will ever be truly prepared! Ha. I know you are never fully prepared to be a parent. That seems to be one of the most common comments people say about parenthood! I know that I could read all the parenting and baby books out there and then totally feel like a failure as we struggle through the harder days of having a little one. 

[bctt tweet=”It’s totally okay – and even a good idea – to read parenting books before you have kids! ” username=”hannahbeeolson”]

If we all had to wait until we were experts on parenting until becoming parents, no one would ever get to have kids! The point is, I like to at least prepare myself a little bit before a new thing happens in my life. I think that preparing to the best of our ability in life is a wise, responsible way to approach things. Basically, I just don’t want to prepare halfheartedly. 

Reading baby and parenting books gets me in the mindset that this whole parenting thing is important. When I’m dedicating time in the evenings (not every evening, but frequently) to reading about raising kids, I’m telling myself that this is a priority to me. I could be reading about all sorts of things (and I do), but I still am making space in my schedule try to grow in this area. I want to grow in not only my understanding of parenting ideas, but in the emphasis of parenting in my mind. 

After all, parenting may very well be the most important job out there. What if I were to learn about every possible topic and hobby and job I wanted, but what if I refused to approach parenting with the same thirst to learn? That wouldn’t be good.

Psychology is awesome. I’ve always loved it. Like I mentioned, my Grandpa Langefeld passed along a good number of psychology books and textbooks to us. (He was a psychologist as well as a psych professor.) I’ve always been fascinated by the study of the human mind and personality. One of my very favorite classes in college was Personality Theory, a junior-level class I added onto my course load just for fun! 

The study of the human mind is fascinating, regardless of if you’re studying adults or children. However, so much of psychology and the development of one’s personality and tendencies stems from experiences in childhood. My Intro To Early Childhood Ed. class in college taught me just how impressionable little one’s minds are AND just how quickly the human brain is developing and learning from ages 0 to 5! 

Therefore, I feel that knowing about how little one’s minds develop is crucial to understanding how I can best help our future kids process the world and interactions with others (and ultimately, with Jesus).

If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa

Being a parent is a passion of mine. I have a mother’s heart. I always have. I’ve always known I wanted to be a mother, and I believe that you can have a mother’s heart well before you have a little one physically in your arms.

[bctt tweet=”You can have a mother’s heart well before you have a little one in your arms.” username=”hannahbeeolson”]

Reading these kinds of books helps me to be a more effective teacher. Is teaching the same as parenting? Well, obviously no. But I do teach over 40 children a day as a Title teacher (hello, strong immune system!) and I want my interactions with EACH of these students to leave them feeling loved, cared for, and guided to be the best person they can be. 

Clearly a book on parenting doesn’t always align with how I have to approach teaching, but it really helps me to think of strategies to use when working through a difficult situation with my 8-year-olds. When I spend time reading about loving and guiding children in the evenings, it all becomes very actionable and applicable when I’m with children the very next morning! I know I am not their parent – I am their teacher – but I take my teaching job seriously both in terms of the academics and the character I strive to help build in my students. I love them all so much! <3

My Current Book List

Below are the books that I currently own. The only ones I haven’t read in depth are Baby Wise and Shepherding a Child’s Heart, although I’ve had friends recommend them; plus, I do have some other pregnancy and baby name books in our office – such as the famous and helpful What to Expect When You’re Expecting – that I know I’ll refer to more some day. 🙂

^^ Shepherding a Child’s Heart ^^

This book speaks about approaching parenting from a Christian perspective.

^^ The Birth Order Book ^^

This book is very well-known. I know not everyone likes or agree with Dr. Leman’s birth order theories, but regardless, it’s really interesting stuff! I’ve always been fascinated by birth order theories, even though I wouldn’t say they’re 100% accurate.

^^ Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting ^^

I loved this book. It is SO interesting reading about how the French parent their children! I especially liked learning about how French children aren’t nearly the picky eaters American kids are, and what the French do differently in terms of raising their children in terms of food and play.

^^ On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep ^^

Again, I haven’t read this one in-depth, but it has many interesting concepts in it. I know there are people who are firmly in the “Baby Wise Camp,” or firmly not in it…while I haven’t decided my stance at this point (and don’t need to), it’s always interesting to discover points of view and strategies that are out there!

^^ Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids ^^

This book may very well be my favorite one yet! I’m a ways into it right now and I’m really enjoying it. It’s written by a family counselor who has worked with many anxious/hyper/difficult children and their families to lessen the amount of stimulus (and therefore, stress) in their lives…with awesome results. I’m all about living a simpler, less mentally-cluttered life. If you love psychology and you love discussing simplicity, you’ll like this one!

For those of you like me who don’t have little ones yet, do you like to read books on this topic, too? What have you found interesting or helpful at this point?

Moms, what books would you add to this list? Are there any you wish you had read before having kids?

One Comment

  1. Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Simplicity Parenting are going on my list, even though we don’t have children yet either. I also really loved Smart Money, Smart Kids by Rachel Cruze and could see myself implementing a lot of her strategies when dealing with children and money. ?

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