This is the first of a series of books that I will review. Here is my book review on:
Happiest Toddler in the Block by Harvey Karp MD
When Baby With Cents turned 15 months, he started to cry a lot more especially when he didn’t get what he wanted. He even cried so hard that he vomited on a few occasions. So after getting discouraged from his cries I decided to look for a book that would help in some way to control it. When I found ‘The Happiest Toddler in the Block’ in my search, lots of reviewers gave it good ratings. So I decided to give it a read.
What is this book about?
Happiest Toddler in the Block details the ways toddlers starting from age one to four create tantrums and tells parents the best ways to deal with it. Karp breaks down the various tantrums toddlers have, ways to connect with your toddler with respect, and how to handle their behavior whether with its good, annoying or bad.
Points that stuck out in the book
Toddlers have a caveman like mindset – In the beginning of the book, Karp lays out that you have to know your toddler has primitive behaviors when dealing with them. The grunting, pointing, and biting are expected from them because they are not civilized. It is up to us parents to teach them about manners, patience and worry about others. But for now we have to know they are like cavemen living in our world. The author is wants to reader to prepare for such behaviors and not act so surprised at your toddler’s temperament.
The Fast Food Rule– Karp describes this connecting factor, the Fast Food Rule. This rule means talking to your toddler when he/she’s upset, always repeat what they are feeling and then offer your advice. Karp calls this the ‘Fast Food Rule’ because when you are at a fast food drive thru, the customer tells the employee what they want to order then the employee repeats what they ordered, and then when everything is set the customer drives forward and gets their order. It’s all about communication, you want your toddler to know that they can show their feelings especially when they are upset at you because you will be able to understand why they are mad and give a solution. I will keep rule in mind when BWC gets a bit older and able to communicate better and believe it’s a great communication skill to use
Toddler-ese – Another communication skill Karp has in the book is a term called Toddler-ese. This technique is somewhat a piece from the Fast Food Rule where you translate what your toddler is trying to say to you. Karp describes three steps for Toddler-ese: short phrases, repetition, and copying your toddler’s feelings. Instead of saying ‘You want that milk?’ you would tell your toddler ‘Milk! Milk! You want milk now.’ This is an example the book describes as Toddler-ese, it speaks to your toddler’s language to which they will understand. Another point to add, when trying to speak Todder-ese the parent should have facial expressions, use body language like waving and pointing, and have a lower tone of voice. I have actually used this technique on BWC and I am happy to report that it works well. I used the milk example on him when he wanted to drink milk and added the sign language for milk (opening and closing your hands constantly) and he calmed down until I could give him his milk.
Closing Thoughts on Happiest Toddler on the Block
The rest of the book covers the toddlers’ basic behaviors that are good, annoying and bad and ways to deal with it but the heart of the book was about the toddler’s behaviors with the Fast Food Rule and Toddler-ese. Those two communication techniques blend into their behaviors and help how to deal with it especially when the toddler has bad behaviors.
It is a book I recommend for parents with kids at this age because it’s a good guide to help to deal with your kid’s behavior. Karp is a child-development expert so he knew with dealing with hundreds of toddlers how to solve most of their tantrums. I will revisit this book again when BWC turns three and communicates better by understanding more words and phrases.