The best books on intentional parenting

Who am I?

Life is busy. We all feel it. As my husband and I have built businesses, published books, traveled the country, and homeschooled our four kids, we’ve worried at times that our schedule is too packed and we’re losing sight of what matters. Seven years ago, we took time to write out a “Family Values List,” which has guided our family’s trajectory. We measure every decision and opportunity up against our core values. This provides a depth of intentionality in our parenting, which has led us to read (and write!) resources around how to make the most of the time we have together as a family. “Do life together” is on our values list, and it’s what we aim to do each day.


I wrote...

936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting

By Eryn Lynum,

Book cover of 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting

What is my book about?

"Each of these pennies represents one week you have with your child between birth and eighteen.” He handed us the jar along with this weighty explanation for the 936 copper coins inside. We all know “the days are long, but the years are short.” We feel it acutely as parents. Yet, with this jar, I had a visual for my kids’ childhoods. I can make the most of this time, infusing it with meaning, laughter, purpose, and memories.

At some point, every parent realizes time is moving swiftly, and they ask themselves, How am I investing in my child? Through personal stories and biblical examples, 936 Pennies will help you discover how to capture time and use it to its fullest potential, replacing guilt and regrets with freedom. Meanwhile, your kids will see how simple choices, like putting the cell phone down and going on a family hike, will make all the difference. Together you will “count time and make time count.”

The books I picked & why

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Screen Kids: 5 Relational Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World

By Gary Chapman, Arlene Pellicane,

Book cover of Screen Kids: 5 Relational Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World

Why this book?

I’ve found that to parent with intentionality, I first have to purge away distractions. Parents today are facing challenges that were never an issue in past generations. Likewise, kids today face overwhelming challenges around technology and screens. In Screen Kids, I discovered freedom from guilt and encouragement for how to parent against the current. It’s ok to raise my kids differently. It’s also worth it. This book equipped me with incredibly important ways to take back our home and parent on purpose.

Screen Kids: 5 Relational Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World

By Gary Chapman, Arlene Pellicane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Screen Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Has Technology Taken Over Your Home?

In this digital age, children spend more time interacting with screens and less time playing outside, reading a book, or interacting with family. Though technology has its benefits, it also has its harms.

In Screen Kids Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the tools you need to make positive changes. Through stories, science, and wisdom, you’ll discover how to take back your home from an overdependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention. Learn…


Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

By Nancy Sleeth,

Book cover of Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

Why this book?

Parenting with intentionality necessitates a certain degree of extremism. It takes a lot of effort to do things differently from the society around us. In Almost Amish, we gain a glimpse into Amish communities and why they do what they do. We’re not challenged to overhaul our lives and do as the Amish do, but rather to consider the heart and purpose behind their ways of life and how we can implement some of those principles to strengthen family ties and purposefully raise our kids. My main takeaway from this book was the importance of slowing down and enjoying my kids — not making them the center of my world, but rather doing life alongside them in a meaningful and fun way.

Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

By Nancy Sleeth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Almost Amish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe the Amish are on to something? Look around. We tweet while we drive, we talk while we text, and we surf the Internet until we fall asleep. We are essentially plugged in and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rather than mastering technology, we have allowed technology to master us. We are an exhausted nation. No one has enough time, everyone feels stressed out, and our kids spend more hours staring at a screen each week than they do playing outside.

It’s time to simplify our lives, make faith and…

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

By Richard Louv,

Book cover of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Why this book?

This book was the catalyst for my family moving to the Rocky Mountains. It completely changed our trajectory in life. Nature has a phenomenal way of grounding our thoughts and focusing on all that is good and worthwhile. Each generation seems to be distancing itself farther from this connection to nature. Taking our kids outside, we can preserve this crucial connection. We can create lifelong habits of learning, responsibility, curiosity, discovery, and wonder. Spending time in nature benefits our kids on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Last Child in the Woods challenges us to change things up and return to the nostalgic days of outdoor play. It offers phenomenal research on the benefits of outdoor play, and hope for a brighter future of “opting outside". 

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

By Richard Louv,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Last Child in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


 The Book That Launched an International Movement
 
“An absolute must-read for parents.” —The Boston Globe
 
“It rivals Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.” —The Cincinnati Enquirer
 
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. But it’s not only computers, television, and video games that are keeping kids inside. It’s also their parents’ fears of traffic, strangers, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus; their schools’ emphasis on more and more homework; their structured schedules; and their lack of access to natural areas. Local governments, neighborhood associations, and even organizations devoted to the outdoors…

Mama Bear Apologetics(r): Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies

By Hillary Morgan Ferrer,

Book cover of Mama Bear Apologetics(r): Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies

Why this book?

Our kids are being fed overwhelming amounts of information and countless differing opinions. It’s dizzying to sort it all out and help them discern fact from fiction. Mama Bear Apologetics taught me not how to pre-program my kids' mindsets but rather how to coach them in thinking for themselves. They don’t have to be vulnerable to everything they hear. Instead, they can apply intellect to break down an argument and measure it against sound evidence and what makes sense. This book helped me develop a more solid worldview and showed me in practical ways how to help my kids do the same.

Mama Bear Apologetics(r): Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies

By Hillary Morgan Ferrer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mama Bear Apologetics(r) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Foreword written by Nancy Pearcey*

"Parents are the most important apologists our kids will ever know. Mama Bear Apologetics will help you navigate your kids' questions and prepare them to become committed Christ followers." -J. Warner Wallace

"If every Christian mom would apply this book in her parenting, it would profoundly transform the next generation." -Natasha Crain

#RoarLikeAMother

The problem with lies is they don't often sound like lies. They seem harmless, and even sound right. So what's a Mama Bear to do when her kids seem to be absorbing the culture's lies uncritically?

Mama Bear Apologetics (R) is the…


The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids

By Sarah MacKenzie,

Book cover of The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids

Why this book?

I wasn’t sure how an entire book could be written on the topic of reading to my kids. I also thought I knew how to read to my kids. This book took our time together to a new level! The Read-Aloud Family challenged me to make the most of our reading time, equipped me to ask the right questions, and created an incredibly precious space in our days to share together in the delight of stories! Our Read-Aloud time is now my favorite time of the day. This book encouraged me that “Ten minutes matters.” If all I have is ten minutes, it’s worth it to pick up a book and read with my kids. Quickly, that ten minutes turned into one hour a day. This book also includes a very helpful resource guide with lists of suggested reading for each age group.

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids

By Sarah MacKenzie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Read-Aloud Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual.

The stories we read--and the conversations we have about them--help shape family traditions, create lifelong memories, and become part of our legacy. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family--it has the power to change the world.

But we all know that connecting deeply with our families can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven society. Reading aloud is one of the best ways to be fully present with our children, even after they can read themselves, but it isn't always easy to do. Discover how to:…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in parenting, fundamentalism, and Amish?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about parenting, fundamentalism, and Amish.

Parenting Explore 127 books about parenting
Fundamentalism Explore 11 books about fundamentalism
Amish Explore 10 books about Amish

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Braiding Sweetgrass, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement, and The Nature Fix if you like this list.