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Busy Toddler's Guide to Actual Parenting: From Their First "no" to Their First Day of School

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You don't need to feel alone in parenting. You don't need to feel like you're failing. And you definitely don't need another parenting book filled with theoretical advice about theoretical children. You need actual parenting help from an actual parent. It's time to feel confident in your parenting.

Susie Allison, creator of the massive online community Busy Toddler, is a breath of fresh air. With her humor and engaging personality, she helps parents find their footing, shift their perspective on childhood, and laugh at the twists and turns of parenting we all face. (Yes, it's ok that your child licked a shopping cart - they pretty much all do that.)

In Busy Toddler's Guide to Actual Parenting, Susie gives the achievable advice she's known for around the world, from daily life and #beingtwoisfine to tantrums and tattling and teaching the ABCs. The book also includes 50+ of her famous activities that have helped thousands of parents make it to nap time-FYI, the popsicle bath is a game-changer. S

usie shares real moments raising her three kids as well as her professional knowledge from eight years as a kindergarten and 1st grade teacher. Her simple and doable approach to parenting will leave you feeling so much better!

Let Susie give you the actual parenting advice you need.

288 pages, Paperback

Published September 22, 2020

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Susie Allison

4 books7 followers

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5 stars
900 (66%)
4 stars
364 (26%)
3 stars
79 (5%)
2 stars
6 (<1%)
1 star
3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 183 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah • So Obsessed With.
1,333 reviews347 followers
October 16, 2020
I've been following @BusyToddler on Instagram for a while now and was so excited to find out she had a parenting book coming out that compiled 50+ of her most popular activities into one book. The day I bought it, I sat down to read a few pages and didn't move until I was done. I loved every word! I bought it for the activities and didn't expect to feel so inspired by the advice. It felt like sitting down with a friend who is just a few steps ahead of me on this parenting journey and has such wisdom, perspective, and grace for this season of life. I repeatedly thought, "Why didn't I think of that before?!" I'm so glad to have these tools/phrases/ideas in my arsenal now and will refer back to it repeatedly. I So Loved It!
Profile Image for McKenna.
425 reviews3 followers
September 6, 2022
I can’t speak highly enough of this book, it’s so useful because of its practicality and applicability. At first, I felt like a lot of the chapters weren’t useful to me but it’s just because those aren’t my areas of struggle with parenting. When I got farther in to the areas I need help with, it was sooooo good. I love that she lifts parents up rather than setting unrealistic expectations and generating shame. I love that she has actual words, phrases, activities, and adventures for so many situations. Reading it was so relatable in a relieving way. I’m going to keep it near at hand because it’s easy to reference with short targeted chapters and I’d recommend it to all!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
490 reviews
April 1, 2021
I really liked the activities in this book. I also loved the ideas and thoughts behind it. I didn’t love the format or the author’s voice. It felt too much like a blog post or social media post. But I guess that’s what she does. Some of it was also repetitive. That being said, I would recommend it and I’m glad I have a hard copy because I’m sure I will be referencing the activities a lot.
Profile Image for Emily.
22 reviews
February 13, 2021
I’ve followed Susie on Instagram for awhile now and loved getting my hands on a real life book with all her tips, tricks, and activity ideas in one place! She is so down to earth, amusing, and basically genius when it comes to the realm of early childhood. Totally worth the time, and I will definitely be referring back to this when my son gets a little older.
Profile Image for Tyler Carlin.
84 reviews3 followers
March 15, 2021
Allison puts into words everything I know and believe about the philosophy of parenting and provides extensive tips and tools beyond that. I absolutely love this book.
Profile Image for Bethany.
1,132 reviews7 followers
December 8, 2022
I knew I was going to buy this after reading it for like 15 minutes (borrowed from the library) and found myself talking about it with all the moms in my life, and it started discussions and sparked ideas and made me really excited for toddlerdom. 10/5 stars
Profile Image for Brianne Noyes.
56 reviews6 followers
February 13, 2021
AMAZING. Usually parenting books are overwhelming and discouraging- but this felt down to earth, real, and doable. I felt seen as a parent and felt like I came away with more things in my tool belt to help my kids through these early years. Susie has done it again!
Profile Image for Kate McElfatrick.
39 reviews5 followers
March 11, 2021
Edit: This review is for the audiobook, which is abridged. I probably would have liked the unabridged book more

The first part of the book is really good, but the latter half devolves into the parenting book trap of “this is what I did, so this is what is right.” If these points were backed with cited research, they would be more convincing. There definitely is research out there for some of the topics mentioned, such as sensory bins. Most parents today are clever enough to understand and even require reference to professional studies, so the lack of any comes off as a bit lazy. I really like the busy toddler Instagram page, so I was disappointed with that aspect of this book. Without evidence-based research, the writing seems preachy and almost condescending.
3 reviews
February 20, 2021
Chapters 11 (Tantrums) and 21 and 22 (siblings and fighting) had excellent, practical tips! Tons of fun/easy activities too.
Profile Image for Collette.
680 reviews
January 12, 2021
I have read a lot of parenting books. I also teach preschool and have read a lot of early childhood books. This seriously was the best of both worlds. Yes, there are other books that are more about teaching, but this one is aimed at parenting (naturally all parents ARE their kid's first teacher, so that is always a part of being a parent). I loved that she used more informal language and it read like a friend talking to you rather than educator to educator (the author was a K and 1st grade teacher). The book is full of activities and practical advice. It's written from someone with real experience in mind. Her philosophies are very closely related to my own and I admit I probably liked the book even more because it was validating. As a preschool teacher, I really appreciated her emphasis on how much play is important in a child's development. How at a young age memorizing ABCs and 123s, though brag worthy, is not nearly as important as the less measurable skills learned through play, such as problem solving, communication, empathy, and socializing. I would highly recommend this to any parent with a child from year 1 up through second grade. I admit, there were even some thing in there that were valuable to me as I thought of interacting with my teenagers and basic parent-child connection.
Profile Image for Lauren Salisbury.
281 reviews23 followers
January 3, 2022
I love everything about this book. I've been a lover of Susie Allison's Instagram for a long time and recently bought Playing Preschool for my 3yo. This book is everything I hoped it would be. It's a great breakdown of activities Allison shows on her Instagram account with additional recommendations and explanations for why the activities are so valuable for little kids. One of my favorite things about this book though is the real life approach (the acknowledgement that sometimes you're just in "survival mode") and the emphasis on letting--and encouraging--kids to be kids. In a time when comparison is the thief of too many of our joys as parents and rote memorization and kindergarten readiness lurk like movie monsters around a dark corner, Allison's approach is a sunbeam, shining light on what it is kids and parents really need. After all we're not raising kindergartners; we're raising people.
48 reviews
September 19, 2021
Susie is amazing and you can follow her blog and/or on Instagram to get basically all of this information. But compiling it into one place is GREAT. When I had a toddler I printed off these sensory bin ideas and put into a cheap binder. Yeah. I haven’t read any parenting books I’d recommend (YES I AM LOOKING AT YOU “OH, CRAP”*) unless you get the Spark Notes but Susie deserves the 5 Stars, no matter where you choose to find her work. I wonder if she’ll be around for the teenage years…

*I am happy if you were happy using Oh, Crap for your child’s potty training.
Profile Image for Brittany Connolly.
51 reviews2 followers
June 2, 2022
I love Susie. Her IG account @Busytoddler is phenomenal even if your kids are older than toddlers. This book is more about tips and tricks and gaining some perspective. It is not prescriptive and it doesn’t leave you feeling like you have done everything wrong. I do wish there was more advice about consequences, but I found the chapters on tantrums, siblings, and it’s okay to be 2 helpful. A lot of it is a mental shift for the parent. She’s a former teacher, so it’s really about how do you teach your child the skills you want them to have (self-regulation, expressing emotions, asking for help, etc) more than it is about beating back bad behavior. It’s not rocket science or filled with tons of psycho-babble. I liked that. I read it in one sitting.
Profile Image for Amy Balaich.
208 reviews27 followers
April 3, 2022
This book is super practical and full of her real-life parenting experiences. A lot of the book content is also on her website or Instagram page so it wasn’t all new to me, but she shares a plethora of easy activities for kids and I love and agree with her thoughts on pretty much everything. I especially love that she encourages parents to realize that being a toddler isn’t easy, and we need to give them lots of grace. They want to accomplish so many things but lack the skills to do most of them, which would be very frustrating.

“In an era full of parenting guilt, let’s turn our backs to the noise and say ‘I’m doing the best I can for my child and I feel great about it.’”
Profile Image for Carly.
31 reviews2 followers
February 23, 2021
As an early childhood educator, and mother of two, I’ve followed Susie on BusyToddler for years!! I was so excited to hear she had written a book, but also thought “if I follow her, what more will the book have?” But I was not disappointed! She had so many great ideas, advice and most of all she GETS IT! Thank you Susie!
Profile Image for Alli Roper.
388 reviews4 followers
April 9, 2021
So accessible and realistic!

I loved this. I’ve read many parenting books and this is in my top 3. Susie is realistic, encouraging, and it’s written in such a way that you aren’t bogged down with statistics and words. She synthesizes it all down for you and teaches you simply. Plus, the lists are amazing! The activities are simple and doable. Highly recommend.
1 review
February 1, 2021
I'm so happy I bought my own copy of this book as I will be referring to it often! I've used her Playing Preschool curriculum, so I knew I was in for a good read. I was definitely engaged in every page, and I am eager to try every activity.
Profile Image for Liz De Coster.
1,430 reviews36 followers
August 11, 2021
The activities seem pretty reasonable and engaging for the audience, but overall the book was a bit choppy (lots of one sentence paragraphs). It felt a little more like a scrapbook - glossy, lots of color images and personal stories - than a manual.
Profile Image for Morgan Kern.
41 reviews
December 26, 2021
I need a hard copy of this book once Jake is a toddler! I love Susie’s down-to-earth, positive, intentional, and guilt-free approach to parenting. The book reads like an extended social media post, which got old after a while, but the content and activities are definitely worth five stars.
Profile Image for Julie H.
342 reviews4 followers
May 30, 2021
It was a good collection of her ideas and thoughts but it really wasn't anything new. Everything in the book is on Instagram, she has shared it in her stories or her posts. It would be a good book for the shelves if you find yourself struggling to come up with ideas for activities for your children or just scroll her instagram and you'll have the same results.
Profile Image for Amanda.
629 reviews4 followers
June 11, 2022
I enjoy Susie's Instagram content and I felt like this book was still worthwhile, even if you've been following her for a while. Full of good advice and reminders and ideas, very encouraging.
Profile Image for Caitlin (CMAReads).
935 reviews39 followers
July 25, 2022
Great for parents of young kiddos looking for activities. Lots of this can be found on her Instagram page.
Profile Image for Emily.
72 reviews2 followers
January 10, 2023
I love following Susie on Instagram and really like her mentality towards parenting and the emphasis on the importance of play.
Profile Image for Rebecca Durrant.
263 reviews
March 23, 2021
Some helpful perspective and a lot of fun, practical activities. I struggled with the Instagram/ blog post tone, and the lack of evidence-based research.
36 reviews
February 26, 2021
Wonderful. Uplifting, manageable parenting help. I wish I could give this book to all new parents.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 183 reviews

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