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The Happiest Toddler on the Block: The New Way to Stop the Daily Battle of Wills and Raise a Secure and Well-Behaved One- to Four-Year-Old [Paperback]

Harvey Karp M.D. , Paula Spencer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 31 2005
Toddlers can drive you bonkers…so adorable and fun one minute…so stubborn and demanding the next! Yet, as unbelievable as it sounds, there is a way to turn the daily stream of “nos” and “don’ts” into “yeses” and hugs…if you know how to speak your toddler’s language. In one of the most useful advances in parenting techniques of the past twenty-five years, Dr. Karp reveals that toddlers, with their immature brains and stormy outbursts, should be thought of not as pint-size people but as pintsize…cavemen.

Having noticed that the usual techniques often failed to calm crying toddlers, Dr. Karp discovered that the key to effective communication was to speak to them in their own primitive language. When he did, suddenly he was able to soothe their outbursts almost every time! This amazing success led him to the realization that children between the ages of one and four go through four stages of “evolutionary” growth, each linked to the development of the brain, and each echoing a step in prehistoric humankind’s journey to civilization:

• The “Charming Chimp-Child” (12 to 18 months): Wobbles around on two legs, grabs everything in reach, plays a nonstop game of “monkey see monkey do.”
• The “Knee-High Neanderthal” (18 to 24 months): Strong-willed, fun-loving, messy, with a vocabulary of about thirty words, the favorites being “no” and “mine.”
• The “Clever Caveman” (24 to 36 months):
Just beginning to learn how to share, make friends, take turns, and use the potty.
• The “Versatile Villager” (36 to 48 months): Loves to tell stories, sing songs and dance, while trying hard to behave.

To speak to these children, Dr. Karp has developed two extraordinarily effective techniques:
1) The “fast food” rule—restating what your child has said to make sure you got it right;
2) The four-step rule—using gesture, repetition, simplicity, and tone to help your
irate Stone-Ager be happy again.

Once you’ve mastered “toddler-ese,” you will be ready to apply behavioral techniques specific to each stage of your child’s development, such as teaching patience and calm, doing time-outs (and time-ins), praise through “gossiping,” and many other strategies. Then all the major challenges of the toddler years—including separation anxiety, sibling rivalry, toilet training, night fears, sleep problems, picky eating, biting and hitting, medicine taking can be handled in a way that will make your toddler feel understood. The result: fewer tantrums, less yelling, and, best of all, more happy, loving time for you and your child.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

California-based pediatrician Karp offers a unique approach to the tantrums, melt-downs and overriding challenges that often accompany the demanding years from one to four. Viewing toddlers as primitive thinkers akin to prehistoric man, Karp divides his patients into developmental groups: the "Charming Chimp-Child" (12 to 18 months), the "Knee-High Neanderthal" (18 to 24 months), the "Clever Cave-Kid" (24 to 36 months) and the "Versatile Villager" (36 to 48 months). Parents may find the toddler years so frustrating, Karp suggests, because they don't speak their child's language. To deal effectively with the undeveloped brains of toddlers, one must understand "Toddler-ese," he says, a method of talking to youngsters that employs short phrases, repetition, a dramatic tone of voice and the use of body language. Although the author admits parents may feel foolish speaking in this manner, he nevertheless maintains that the approach soothes children by respecting their needs. Additionally, Karp offers suggestions for positive discipline (e.g., loss of privileges and time out) and guides parents through early expected milestones, while acknowledging that a child's individual temperament (e.g., easy, cautious, spirited) will uniquely influence the pace of his or her development. While some readers may find the relentless cave-kid metaphors irksome, Karp's gentle, easygoing tone is soothing and offers new hope and strategies to those who may have given up on making sense of the toddler years.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Karp offers a unique approach to the tantrums, melt-downs and overriding challenges that often accompany the demanding years from one to four.... Soothing and offers new hope and strategies to those who may have given up on making sense of the toddler years."—Publishers Weekly

“You want help? This is r-e-a-l help! The Happiest Toddler on the Block is one of the smartest parenting books of the past decade.  Over and over, parents will find themselves proclaiming, "Thanks, Dr. Karp…Now I get it! “—Kyle Pruett, MD, Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine and author of Fatherneed: Why Fathercare is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child

"Dr. Karp's approach is terrific...and fun! His book will help parents, grandparents and everyone who cares for toddlers be more effective."—Martin Stein, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, Children's Hospital San Diego

"Dr. Karp helps parents turn the "terrible" twos into "terrific" twos. His work will revolutionize the way our culture understands toddlers!"—Roni Cohen Leiderman, PhD, Associate Dean, Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies, Nova Southeastern University

“Dr. Karp has done it again! Parents will find reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block a joyous adventure…with pearls of wisdom waiting for them on every page.”—Morris Green, MD, Director, Behavioral Pediatrics, Indiana University, Riley Hospital for Children, editor, Pediatric Diagnosis

“Dr. Karp's excellent approach gives parents the tools they need. His simple methods make raising rambunctious toddlers a whole lot easier.”—Steven Shelov, MD, Editor in chief of American Academy of Pediatrics’ Caring for Your Baby and Young Child

“Dr. Karp’s new book is an innovative, unique and thoroughly enjoyable guide to toddler behavior!” —Donald Middleton, MD, Professor of Family Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"Parents will be delighted by this clever approach to communicating with toddlers. It allows us to see the world from our children's unique point of view."—Janet Serwint, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Harriet Lane Children’s Clinic, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

"It really works! With great humor and a gentle touch, Dr. Karp shows how to raise happy, well-behaved toddlers. His book is invaluable.—Gabrielle Redford, Senior Editor, AARP The Magazine (and mother of 17-month-old twins)


From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disapointing Feb. 5 2010
Format:Paperback
Has some good insight on how, and why your child behaves certain ways. However I don't want to have to act all crazy to communicate with them. the point is to teach them how not to act like that. When I'm at the restaurant with my kids I don't want to have to start stomping my feet and growling at my kid to tell him no!
I believe that we do have to simplify for the child to understand better, but i don't think we have to act like primates just because our little ones have underdeveloped brains!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, as expected! March 4 2004
Format:Hardcover
I ran to the bookstore to get Dr. Karp's new book based on my experience with his phenomenal book about babies. I can say that Dr. Karp has proven how genius he is again. So simple, yet so powerful. No wonder he keeps coming back to Dr. Phil's 101 Parenting show. He has real advice that any parent absolutely needs to hear. It made my life so much easier. I am still practicing my "toddler-ese" but I can see immediate results. The book is not just helpful but it is FUN to read.
I have to say that, by adopting Dr. Karp's methods, I can enjoy my kids more. I have minimized daily struggles with them and maximized fun time we have together. That makes my kids love me even more, especially my 18 months old girl who is a real "Neanderthal in my kitchen".
Thank you Dr. Karp. I love your books! And I am looking forward to seeing your video about toddlers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Let me first say that I'm a big fan of Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block book. He had a theory (recreating the womb) and explained several ways to carry it out.
In this book, he has a theory that your child needs to feel understood and you should let them know you understand them by repeating back to them what they just told you, then empathizing. In their words, at their level. ("The Fast Food Rule") That's ALL. The book is full of examples and uses a caveman analogy to get its point across, but basically the message reiterated is the same or a variation on the Fast Food Rule. The video that accompanies this book is only 37 minutes long!
The "Happiest Baby, INC." trademark on the back says it all, I suppose. The main goal here seems to have been to turn out a sequel and fluff it up as much as possible to generate maximum profit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Although the analogy to prehistoric man is overdone a bit, there are so many sensible, clear strategies to try with 1-4 year olds that really are working for us. Talking toddler-ese has really made a difference in the cooperation we are now getting from our 2 and 3 year olds. Mirroring their feelings and "wants" with short, repeated phrases that reflect the child's words, tone and body lauguage has quickly and almost magically stopped much of my toddlers' defiant, annoying behaviors. Karp emphasizes that what you say to someone who is really upset is less important than HOW YOU SAY IT. And his theory has proven itself to be correct in our home.
The only suggestion in the book that I have a problem with is using a hook and eye latch to lock a child in his room even for a very short time-out. I feel this can be scary for the child and although it may get the child to know that you do mean business, I prefer not to get compliance from my children with fear, guilt or humiliation. Karp does suggest that you explain to the child in "toddler-ese" how the locking mechanism works so that he will know the door will not open when mom uses it.
I also recommend another one of my favorite parenting reference books as a compliment to Karp's hardcover book called "The Pocket Parent". This is a very practical, quick read, little paperback book loaded with many positive discipline and communications tips written exclusively for parents of 2-5 year olds. Peppered with humor and organized alphabetically by behaviors such as: Anger, Bad Words, Biting, Bedtime and Mealtime Refusals, the "Gimmees", Interrrupting, Morning "Crazies", and Whining...Pocket Parent is a real sanity saver. Both books will lift your spirits with specific ideas to try as well as loads of compassionte support from authors that have been there, too... especially when you feel you are just about at your wits' end with the little ones.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The happiest Toddler on the Block March 27 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought that for my daughter who lives in Switzerland.....but found out that they can buy these books over there too.....apparently VERY helpful books
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Happiest Child on the Block March 4 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a psychoeducater. I work with preschool children experiencing developpemental delays and behavior difficulties. I work with their parents and daycare educators. This book has proven to be an extremely beautiful and remarcably helpful book. I highly recommend this book for anyone educating young children.
Carole
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le livre à acheter Nov. 4 2010
By Natty
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Vous connaissez l'expression: "le bébé ne vient pas au monde avec un manuel d'instruction"?
Et bien, si il y en avait un, ce livre serait le meilleur choix, selon moi.
Je n'ai pas fini de le lire mais je sais que ce livre a changé ma perception de ma fille et des humains en général.
Il est simple, va droit au but, sans détour, n'est pas répétitif ni trop détaillé. Il y a plein d'exemple très graphique. Les explications sont simples et très réalistes.

Je recommende ce livre à tout les parents d'enfants de zéro à cinq ans.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Dr. Karp
With success from Happiest Baby, we were drawn to the follow up. Expectations met or exceeded. His writing style is compatible with many readers, and I mainly like that he roots... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dave DeVisser
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
Absolutely great,works fantastic,very easy written.a must have for every household with toddlers (little cave man how he describes them) very worth the money.
Published on Jan. 14 2012 by Puki
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive, A Slow Read and Disappointing
Based on the title and the author (a pediatrician), this was exactly the book that I needed. However, I was disappointed. Read more
Published on June 28 2011 by Majuque
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top parent handbooks! Great!
Another great book by Dr. Karp. Full of helpful, creative and insightful skills to help curb toddler temper tantrums. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2011 by Brooke S
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful book
My husband and I have found this book to present a pretty realistic view of life with a toddler. The concept of viewing one's child as a prehistoric being is a useful reminder that... Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2005 by Hiroko Wiens
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa, It Actually Works!
My son is 23 months old and definitely in the Terrible Two's stage. I felt helpless, lost and had no control of the situation whenever my son would snap into his "I want it my way"... Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Sean R. Villafranca
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Karp does it again!!
Unlike his "The Happiest Baby on the Block" book, there is no "short cut" page to turn to in this book - because dealing with toddlers is not the same as turning on a calming... Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Kira's Mama
5.0 out of 5 stars No more dreading temper tantrums
After having so much success with the Happiest Baby on the Block calming
techniques, I could not wait to watch The Happiest Toddler on the Block
by Harvey Karp,M.D. Read more
Published on May 8 2004 by Tamar Meer
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