Reassuring, practical, science-based advice for raising great kids

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s 2020 winds down, we asked our regular columnist pediatrician Matt Thompson for a New Year's reading list for parents of kids at various stages of development.

As the pandemic continues, "We should all have plenty of time to read this winter," he writes. "Here are some books I recommend for parents. Some are newer than others, but they are all good reads."

It should be noted that Thompson himself is a fairly prolific author, having written more than 60 columns on all sorts of issues parents face. Among the most shared are "Helping Kids Feel Secure" from 2016, "Teen Tune-Up" from 2014 and 2012's "Unleash the Monster," a treatise on relieving childhood constipation. Since 2008, his work has appeared in nearly every issue of Health & Home and under our previous masthead, InHealth. The collection is archived online and available for parents of kids of all ages to read for free at inlander.com/author/matt-thompson. (ANNE McGREGOR)

FOR EXPECTANT PARENTS

The New Baby Blueprint: Caring for You and Your Little One by Whitney Casares

This title offers insights from an author with genuine credibility: a pediatrician who is also the mother of two young daughters.

FOR BIRTH UNTIL SCHOOL-AGE

Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting by Emily Oster

Oster is an economist and mother of two. She plows into the science behind the barrage of often conflicting do's and don'ts, offering welcome clarity to dazed caregivers.

Retro Baby: Cut Back on All the Gear and Boost Your Baby's Development with More than 100 Time-Tested Activities by Anne H. Zachry

Zachry is an occupational therapist and mother of three who offers creative ways to spend time with your baby, and makes the case that spending too much time with electronic baby toys and videos, and even baby bouncers and swings can be detrimental.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

A bestseller for nearly a decade, this book's information remains compelling. Everyone knows babies crawl before they walk, but the development of the brain isn't as obvious. Using an "upstairs brain/downstairs brain" metaphor, Siegel and Bryson talk parents through strategies that are easy to understand and immediately apply.

SCHOOL-AGE AND UP

Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings by Kenneth R. Ginsburg and Martha M. Jablow

Advice for nurturing kids to develop their resilience, confidence and competence with an eye toward their future success and happiness, all the while acknowledging that "consistency of love" is the most important thing parents and caregivers can offer.

TEENAGERS

Staying Connected to Your Teenager: How to Keep Them Talking to You and How to Hear What They're Really Saying by Michael Riera

Practical ways to engage during what the author admits can be stressful years. Riera writes, "Nothing in a parent's life is more trying, confusing, and frustrating than raising a teenager. They are moody, self-centered, and full of mixed messages; at least that's the way normal, healthy teenagers behave."

Matt Thompson is a pediatrician at Spokane's Kids Clinic.

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