Tools for a Newborn not Sleeping

newborn not sleeping? these tools will help

Newborn not sleeping? One of the main occupations of infants is sleep but for parents, finding sleep remedies for babies can be the interrupting point in every other occupation of the parents (beyond holding, feeding, and caring for the newborn). Here, we are covering how to support the newborn fighting sleep as well as the parents struggling to get newborns and babies to sleep safely. These strategies support the whole household. Let’s take a look at this important area of occupational performance.

Supporting sleep hygiene, or good sleep habits in parents as well as in babies can be an area that occupational therapy professionals address as a daily occupation for the whole family unit.

Tips for a newborn not sleeping

Sleep remedies for Babies

This sleep remedy information is essential for parents of newborns, but also pediatric occupational therapy practitioners who may be working with parents of newborns.

When a newborn is not sleeping, supporting parents of newborns, babies, and even toddlers is an area of support that OT practitioners can address. Pediatric sleep is an occupation of the whole family!

Let’s break down practical advice for creating an effective bedtime routine for both the baby and the parent.

Strategies for newborn not sleeping

Occupational therapy providers can offer skilled interventions for occupational therapy to support parents of babies fighting sleep so that it impacts the occupational performance of others in the home, including everyday tasks, caring for other children in the home, work, daily self-care, emotions, mental status, and cognitive thought processes.

This occurs through parent education, documenting strategies using a sleep journal, analyzing results, and making suggestions based on the dynamic needs of the family. We cover all of this below, as well as sleep strategies and tools to support newborns and babies in sleep.

Newborn fighting sleep? Create a routine

Parents of newborns have a common problem, all beginning with the newborn fighting sleep.

The issue is that there are several things at play here, occurring in a cycle.

  1. The newborn fights sleep.
  2. The parents try different strategies.
  3. The baby sleeps for a short period but wakes.
  4. The sleep deprived parents try the easiest strategy to get baby back to sleep.

Then the cycle continues. But what really happens is that the baby is on a maladaptive sleep routine, or rather, the fact that the baby fighting sleep has become part of the routine.

Additionally, children with challenges in sleep will likely impact the sleep routines of their caregivers and everyone else in the home. When the baby’s sleep is consistently poor, the parents may adapt strategies such as co-sleeping, which results in insufficient sleep.

The importance of establishing a bedtime routine is enormous. It’s been found that parents instructed to introduce bedtime routines have reported rapid improvements in sleep quality.

Your new baby will not be ready to follow a set sleep schedule during the first couple of weeks, so looking for signs that they might be tired is the best way to tell when you should put them to bed. They might be crying more, wanting to be held, having heavy eyelids, or sucking on their thumb. You can help them to fall asleep by gently rocking or bouncing them, feeding or swaddling them.

The transition from holding the baby to laying them down in their crib is where things can get difficult. 

So often, the young infant or baby is comforted by the warmth and proprioceptive input offered by the arms holding them in close. The baby can even feel the heartbeat of their mother that they were so close to for months in the womb. That comfort is quickly stopped when they are placed into a cool sleep surface. It can be an abrupt change that wakes up baby into a state of startled irritations.

When parents experience this situation over and over again night after night, the sleep quality in the home suffers.

So how to support restful sleep in babies and in the whole household?

One suggestion that is hard for many parents is that you should not let your baby fall completely asleep in your arms. This is because they will get used to this comfortable position and may start wanting to fall asleep this way every time.

Establish a nightly sleep routine to establish rhythm in sleep needs:

  • start with a warm bath
  • Include slow massage with a warm towel
  • Sing nightly lullabies
  • Complete the night time routine in a dimly lit and quiet space
  • Include bedtime stories along with toddler siblings or other family household members

Create another routine for nighttime feeding ritual:

  • Diaper changes often wake up baby in the middle of the night. Be prepared with diaper, wipes, spare clothing, and a bag or place to put dirty diapers right at the changing area
  • After the diaper change, then do the feeding
  • Sit in a rocking chair or lounge chair 
  • Keep the lighting low
  • Softly hum or sing
  • Pat baby’s bottom slowly and with a rhythm

The disruption to sleep can be a source of anxiety for parents, especially as insomnia becomes expected. Having a calm sense can actually support baby more than the worry or anxiety. This can be easier said than done, however, and having a few regulation tools for parents can be a help.

Getting them comfortable with their own bed early on will help with healthier sleep hygiene. Instead, notice when your baby is starting to drift off and put them in their bed before they are completely asleep.

They will wake up many times throughout the night to be fed or changed, so be prepared for them to wake every few hours.

Know that sleep is a fluid area development…meaning that routines will change sometimes nightly as the baby develops.

When to start a sleep routine with newborns

Getting into a routine right away with your baby is important not only for them but also for you. Sleep at night when your baby is asleep and as you need during the day. Make a habit of doing chores during the day like cleaning or showering while your baby naps, or even nap while they do. You can even schedule to have someone watch your child once a week during nap time while you run errands. This will allow you to get things done that you need without having to watch your baby every second.

Start a nighttime routine of changing your baby into their pajamas and then reading them a book (or singing them a song) before putting them to bed. This will set you up for success for when they are older and starting to fight sleeping a little more. Your baby will still wake through the night for a couple of feedings at this age, but it will start to happen less and less. If your child is having trouble falling asleep, it may be because:

  • They are hungry
  • They are spitting up
  • They have had too much or not enough sleep
  • Their swaddle is too tight or too loose
  • They are having a sleep regression (usually around 4 to 6 months old)

Recognize that sleep routines change over time as as development happens. What works at one stage may need to change at other stages.

Newborn Fighting Sleep due to sleep location

During the first weeks and months after birth, learning how to help your baby sleep can be a challenge for many parents.

It is important to pay attention to the place you are letting your baby fall asleep during their first couple of weeks of life.

They will quickly learn to become comfortable in whatever place they are in, so if they learn to fall asleep in your arms, this will be how they will always want to fall asleep. Unfortunately, this is not a practical option for either of you, so get your baby used to falling asleep in their crib from day one.

One thing that new parents consider doing is having their baby fall asleep in bed with them. Doing this has been proven to lead to higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

The first step to effective sleep routines is deciding where the baby will sleep whether that be in a crib or bassinet.

The risk of SIDS which could be avoided in this case by simply putting your baby to sleep in their own bed. A bassinet or a crib can be used for your child’s bed which can easily be kept in your room or in your baby’s room, whichever you prefer. Make sure that your baby is falling asleep in a smoke-free area, and that their bed meets safety standards by going to 

This includes leaving out the pillows, sleep positioners, toys, and blankets.

positioning strategies for a newborn not sleeping

One strategy to support the newborn not sleeping is thinking about bed and sleep positioning. Your baby should be put to sleep on their back on a firm but soft surface just as they are falling asleep.

If you put them to bed while they are still slightly awake, they will learn that they can fall asleep on their own, without the need of a parent to rock them to sleep. Do not put them to sleep with a tv in their room, as it can affect their ability to fall asleep. Read more about how electronics effect sleep in your child for more information.

Baby’s Head and Sleep

During the first few months of a baby’s life, they will not yet have strong enough muscles to lift their head or push something off of them like a blanket if they need.

This is why it is important to lay your baby on a firm but soft surface on their back with nothing else around them.

Do this every time you put them to sleep. Keep soft objects, loose bedding, stuffed animals, or anything that could trap your baby away from them.  You will want to make sure that your baby’s face and head are not covered while they sleep.

To help you remember this, the saying “Back to sleep, tummy to play” was created to help your baby sleep. You can find out more about it here.

More tools for the newborn not sleeping

Sleep clothing- For clothing, it is suggested that your baby wears no more than one layer more than what you would wear in that same space. Typically this means that your child will be comfortable in a onesie and swaddle. Do not let the swaddle come high enough that it touches their face.

Room temperature- Make sure that their room is not too hot and not too cold. If their chest is sweaty, they are too hot and you should take off one of their layers. A small fan in the baby’s room can help too, and additionally, the white noise from the sound of the fan can drown out other noises in the home and act as a white noise machine.

Thinking about these considerations, it’s also important to consider development.

Newborn Fighting Sleep? What’s normal?

So, when a newborn is not sleeping through the night, what is typical for the age and the stage? Did you know that newborns fight sleep as a developmental stage?

For the first 3 to 4 months your baby may only stay awake for about 1 hour at a time, but they will then start to get into a routine of sleeping every 2 hours for a longer amount of time.

Up to the time they are three months old, they should be getting about 14 to 17 hours of sleep. Make sure they have no less than 11 hours and no more than 19 hours of sleep.

During the first three months, that hour can go by very quickly and it can seem like the newborn is fighting sleep, when they are actually developmentally on track. After about an hour, the newborn may have something waking them: hunger, diaper changes, and just overall short circadian rhythms.

Between 4 to 6 months old, they will be getting about 12-15 hours of sleep, but should not be getting less than 10 hours and no more than 18 hours of sleep.

When we see problems here is that not all babies easily fall into this sleep regimen. There can be real challenges limiting sleep. Consider the areas stated above:

  • Routines or lack of them
  • Technology use
  • Positioning needs
  • Environment
  • Temperature
  • Clothing
  • Feeding schedule
  • Many other considerations!

Around 4 to 6 months old is when your baby will most likely have what is known as a sleep regression. A sleep regression is when your baby is able to sleep for longer lengths of time at each sleep cycle and will not need to be put down for a nap as many times during the day. 

The baby fighting sleep at this stage is also developmental as this sleep regression happens right when the baby is beginning to develop more mobility and motor control.

It’s important to remember that every child will sleep differently and stay asleep for different lengths of time. Some may prefer to fall asleep on surfaces that are firm while others may love their swaddle. Differences can also come from sensory preferences which impact a baby’s sleep.

Documenting Sleep remedies for babies

Taking all of these developmental stages into consideration, as well as the sleep remedies listed above, there is more to the process.

Occupational therapy practitioners can provide intervention by supporting parents and families with use of a sleep diary. A sleep diary can be used by parents of newborns and babies to document hours slept, and tools used as a support.

When a sleep diary, or sleep journal is used, the family is able to track sleep habits and routines, including successful and unsuccessful tactics. Occupational therapy practitioners can then use information from the sleep journal to identify needs and make recommendations based on the baby’s development, family dynamics, strengths and needs of the family.

This article on AOTA suggests a sleep diary with questions such as:

  • What time did you start trying to put the child to bed?
  • What time did your child go to bed?
  • What time did your child fall asleep?
  • How many times did your child wake during the night?
  • What time did your child wake in the morning?
  • How much awake time did your baby have during the day before?

Other sleep journal questions can include:

  • What did you do before bed to encourage sleep?
  • What sleep strategies were used? (rocking, dark room, sound machine, etc.)
  • How long did the baby sleep?
  • Where did the baby sleep?
  • How long did they sleep before waking?
  • How many times did the baby wake during the night?
  • Reasons for waking during the night? (Example: diaper change, feeding, etc.)
  • What time did the baby wake for the day?

When it comes to sleep remedies for babies, there can be a lot of trial and error. Try to enjoy this time with your young child!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

ADHD Tools for Parents of Children with Attention Difficulties

ADHD tools

Here you will find a number of ADHD tools and supports for individuals with ADHD, including ADHD resources for parents. The statistics of the number of people with Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD) is staggering.  These numbers are compounded by the fact that attention deficit is difficult to diagnose.  The market is flooded with ADHD resources, and strategies to support attention needs, but what are the right ones? Doctors and other professionals could be over or under diagnosing due to this difficulty in gathering accurate data.

ADHD tools for kids and parents of children with ADHD

Yes there are ADHD checklists, surveys, and questionnaires, but they are not scientific or 100% accurate.  They are often based on opinion and observation versus data.  This is a stark contrast to diagnosing down syndrome or hearing loss, that is tracked by concrete data or genetic testing. 


When it comes to specifically ADHD tools, my advice is to take these diagnoses with a grain of salt.  Look more for symptoms, behaviors, skills, and difficulties rather than relying on a label.  It does not matter as much that this is called ADD, ADHD, or ABCD, but what are the struggles the learner is having? 

To best support any diagnosis (attention diagnoses being one), focus on the struggles, creating measurable and relevant goals, instead of focusing on the label.

To best support a child with attention challenges, find ADHD resources you can trust to provide useful information and strategies.

Having any label, diagnosis, or list of symptoms can feel overwhelming. The number of attention related resources available on the internet are astounding.  But which are accurate?  Who can you believe?  There are no easy answers unfortunately.  

Which way to turn for ADHD TOOLS?

When there is an overwhelming amount of data presented at one time, the best jumping off point is to rely on the feedback of others.  Sometimes it is a trusted doctor or friend, but more often than not, it can be a large crowd of strangers. 

When looking for the perfect resource to share with parents, I usually turn to Amazon and start reading the reviews.  I read a ton of reviews before making my selections.  This is time consuming, however I do not have time to read something that is not a good resource, has incorrect information, or written in a terrible format.

Attention Resources from Amazon

There are some solid attention resources from Amazon available, including ADHD audiobooks, and other formats that have good reviews. I have not personally read them, but have taken the time to research them and read the long reviews.

Amazon affiliate links are included below.

Amazon has some great ADHD audiobook resources for parents and professionals available on Audible and other formats. Audiobooks are a great alternative to paper books, as they can be listened to almost anywhere.

There are tons of resources on attention and ADHD in audiobooks. I tried to find ones that had good reviews, were accurate and easy to read/listen to, and provided useful strategies.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, You’re eligible to claim 2 free titles from our entire selection (one title per month thereafter) with a free Audible 30 day trial. A standard trial includes 1 credit for an audiobook download. After the Audible trial period, all members receive 1 credit per month.

Click here start your free Audible Trial Period.

Delivered From Distraction: Getting the most of out Life with Attention Deficit Disorder.  This book is written for teens or adults with ADD.  This may be helpful for parents as well, as attention deficits tend to run in families.  It can be read cover to cover or in sections.  The author says, feel free to skip around.

You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?: A Self-help Audio Program for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder  As with most books I have found, there are going to be people who do not like the book.  This is to be expected.  However, more people say they liked it than the few who did not. I like that this is available in audio, as some people are more auditory learners than visual. Finding an hour in the car to listen seems much easier than trying to carve out that same hour reading on the couch.

Taking Charge of ADHD, Third Edition: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents This book is available in several formats. Audible is one that may be easier for parents to listen to, as their couch time is limited. This book takes a real look at ADHD.  Most people found this book helpful. The few that did not, found this book too straight forward or maybe “depressing.”

The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength. This book came as a recommendation from a reviewer who needed a positive spin on ADHD after reading all of the devastating facts and figures about ADHD. 

Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, 2nd Edition – Revised and Updated: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized  This book points people in the direction of real life solutions. It is fine to spend time researching the “what” and “why” of a diagnosis, but without real solutions, the research just leaves people frustrated. It can be used for adults and adapted for children. 

The OT Toolbox has a great post on Organization and Attention Challenges.

Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills” Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential Positive reviews praise this book for its information about working with teens with attention issues or decreased executive function.  It gives doable strategies that work for teens.  The strategies are motivating for modern teens. Critical reviews cite that this book is more about the “what and why” rather than the “what to do about it” side of this diagnosis. Much of the advice centers around driving, and using technology to help teens.  On a positive note, this is what motivates teens to perform.  On the flip side, not everyone has a driving teen or wants to encourage use of electronics.

Books for younger learners:

Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks! (And I Rock, Big Time): St4 Mindfulness Book for Kids Written in the Wimpy Kid book series, this is a cute motivating book series for children who struggle with attention issues to relate to.  It is available in several formats including Audible.  This might be a good book to buy in print and listen to Audible at the same time.

Marvin’s Monster Diary 2 + Lyssa!: ADHD Emotion Explosion (But I Triumph, Big Time!)  This second book in the Monster Diary series proves to be a winner as well.  It has several positive reviews about it’s entertainment value, readability, and writing style. Again because it is a graphic novel type of read, it would be excellent paired with the written version as well as Audible.

A Dragon With ADHD: A Children’s Story About ADHD. A Cute Book to Help Kids Get Organized, Focus, and Succeed. (My Dragon Books 41) This is another great series to keep children interested while learning about ADHD.  This series covers a multitude of topics.  The nice thing about series is if you buy into one, it sets the reader on a whole journey of discovery. This is written for children, however reviewers say that adults, therapists, and parents will enjoy this book as well.

Focused Ninja: A Children’s Book About Increasing Focus and Concentration at Home and School (Ninja Life Hacks)   This book is part of a Ninja series teaching children valuable lessons in an entertaining method. If you were a fan of the Mr. Men book series, you will like this one.  Each ninja is named after the skill he lacks or is trying to gain.

The OT Toolbox ADHD and attention resources

The OT Toolbox has become a trusted resource for many of you reading these posts and subscribing to the website. The OT Toolbox does not disappoint and has wonderful articles, activities, and resources to fill your “toolbox”, not only on topics such as ADHD and attention, but fine motor, sensory, gross motor, executive function and so much more.

Type ADD, Attention resources for parents, or ADHD activities into the search bar for a great list of archived posts. Just when you are overwhelmed with information and resources, try wrapping your head around the sensory connection between attention and organization challenges.

It is no wonder there is such misdiagnosis, confusion, and misinformation out there. Autism, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, and about a dozen other diagnoses have overlapping and similar symptoms. Keep your focus on how to help and move forward rather than where did this come from, or what is this called?

Happy reading, take a deep breath, one moment at a time!

Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

Audio Books for Occupational Therapists

audio books for occupational therapists

Today, I’ve got a list of free audiobooks for occupational therapists. These occupational therapy audiobook ideas can be used to develop, learn, and grow as a therapist. These occupational therapy books are audiobooks, making them great tools for learning new skills while on the go.

Therapists are short on time, so occupational therapist audio courses and audiobooks are the way to go when it comes to learning. One of the best things about growing as a professional is the ability to continue to learn. As therapists, we strive to develop in our profession to meet the needs of our ever-changing client list. Reading or listening to books for occupational therapists is just one way to learn and grow professionally.

Here, we’re covering parenting books on Audible, or audio books that OTs can recommend to parents to better understand parenting and child development.

These audiobooks for occupational therapists are great for the travelling OT, or listening to while on a commute to work, covering a variety of areas that can improve your occupational therapy practice, in educating OT clients, advocating for occupational therapy patients, and improving OT practice areas.

Audible Books for Occupational Therapists

Amazon affiliate links are included below.

Amazon has some great mindfulness audiobook resources for parents and professionals available on Audible and other formats. Audiobooks are a great alternative to paper books, as they can be listened to almost anywhere.

There are tons of resources on mindfulness in audiobooks. I tried to find ones that had good reviews, were accurate and easy to read/listen to, and provided useful strategies.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, You’re eligible to claim 2 free titles from our entire selection (one title per month thereafter) with a free Audible 30 day trial. A standard trial includes 1 credit for an audiobook download. After the Audible trial period, all members receive 1 credit per month.

Click here start your free Audible Trial Period.

Recently, I came across a few books on Amazon that are perfect for therapists looking for books to grow and learn in different aspects of occupational therapy.

These are audiobooks that can help OTs grow as a practitioner by staying on tap of hot topics. As therapists, we strive to advocate for our clients, educate parents, teachers, or others on the child’s tribe or team. These are audiobooks for occupational therapists that can help us grow as therapists!

Best of all, they are available as audiobooks for those of us looking for books to listen to while commuting, cooking, or working out!

Free Audio Books for Occupational Therapists

This post contains affiliate links.

Audible is a subset of Amazon and offers free books to members. While the membership does have a fee, there is a free 30 day trial, where books can be listened to anytime and anywhere. 

There’s more: When you sign up for the free trial of Audible, you’ll get two free books. In addition to the 2 Free audiobooks, you’ll also get 2 Free Audible Originals to get you started. 

After your free trial ends, if you do choose to continue with the membership, you’ll get 1 audiobook and 2 Originals per month after trial. You can cancel anytime and keep all your audiobooks. You’ll also get 30% off the price of additional audiobook purchases. 

So, after reading this, I had to check to see what books are available on Amazon’s Audible that would be interesting as an OT. How cool to grab a free audio book on a topic I wanted to learn more about!

Parenting Books on Audible

Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children– Written by occupational therapist, Angela J. Hanscom, describes children of today who have more sedentary lifestyles and desperately need outdoor play in order to develop their sensory, motor, and executive functions.

The book describes nature as the ultimate sensory experience, and helps you discover little things you can do anytime, anywhere to help your kids achieve the movement they need to be happy and healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

Sensory Processing Disorder: Not Just a Strong-Willed Child, Book 1– This audiobook is a resource for parents that therapists can recommend for those looking for more information on Sensory Processing Disorder or those striving to empower their child.

By listening to this audiobook, you’ll learn more about what is sensory processing disorder, common behaviors of different types of SPD, differences between SPD and some other look-alike conditions like ADHD, OCD, ODD and anxiety disorder, tips on how to manage SPD at home, school, and community.

Overcoming Dyslexia– This book on dyslexia helps us to understand, identify, and overcome the reading problems that so many kids struggle with in schools. In this audio book, you’ll learn exactly what dyslexia is and how to identify dyslexia in preschoolers, schoolchildren, young adults, and adults.

You’ll discover how to work productively with the teacher of a child with dyslexia or reading challenges. Included are exercises to help children use the parts of the brain that control reading, including a twenty-minute nightly home program to enhance reading. There are also ways to improve a child’s self-esteem and more.

Also be sure to check out our blog post on dyslexia and occupational therapy.

The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success: How to Use Your Brain’s Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home– This audiobook helps the listener identify their executive skills profile and shares effective steps to boost organizational skills, time management, emotional control, and nine other essential skills.

This is a resource for parents and therapists who may be struggling with executive functioning skills or those working with teens or older clients. 

Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills” Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential– This audiobook describes research-based strategies for promoting teens’ independence by building their executive functioning skills in order to get organized, stay focused, and control impulses and emotions.

Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up: Help Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed and Succeed in a Fast-Paced World– This audiobook is geared toward those kids who struggle with processing speed in tasks like classwork, homework, caring for themselves, motor tasks, or following directions.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew– This audiobook describes 10 characteristics that help illuminate, not define,  children with autism. The book describes and helps listeners  understand the needs and the potential of every child with autism. It’s been said that “Every parent, teacher, social worker, therapist, and physician should have this succinct and informative audiobook in their back pocket”.

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s– This book shares tons of tips, strategies, tools, and resources that can be helpful to parents, teachers, and therapists working with kids with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. There are modifications for older kids to help children achieve success at home, in school, and in the community. 

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum– This book by Dr.  Temple Grandin teaches listeners the science of the autistic brain, and with it the history and sociology of autism.

The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults– This book is described as an essential roadmap for parents, teachers, therapists, and anyone working with the child with autism. Another resource by Dr. Temple Grandin, psychologist and autism specialist Dr. Debra Moore share insight in helping kids  build on their strengths to improve motivation in real life strategies.

What’s Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life– This book by a research neuroscientist describes how the baby’s brain is formed, and when each sense, skill, and cognitive ability is developed from conception through the first five years.

The book shares development of motor skills, social and emotional behaviors, and mental functions such as attention, language, memory, reasoning, and intelligence. 

The Emotional Life of the Toddler– This audiobook covers the emotional development of kids through the toddler years, with the latest research on this crucial stage of development. This is a great resource for the pediatric OT.

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting– Dr. John Gottman shares strategies to teach their children self-awareness and self-control and to foster good emotional development. This audiobook is a resource for parents and those working with families with young children.

Raising Your Spirited Child, Third Edition: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic– This audiobook is the very same as the book that has been voted one of the top 20 parenting books out there. It’s a tool therapists can use to provide parents with the tips and tools they need based on research and practical strategies for raising spirited children. It’s a book for anyone who knows meltdowns, behavior, and spirited kids!

  What are your favorite audiobooks for occupational therapy? You know, those audiobooks you LOVE that advance your practice knowledge, improve your advocacy for OT clients, and help to educate parents or teachers of  occupational therapy clients?

These audiobooks for occupational therapists are great for advancing as an occupational therapist by reading the hot topics in the field, so that you can advocate for OT clients, educate the parents and teachers of kids on an occupational therapy caseload.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to