Blogging NYT: Harvey Karp's Happiest Toddler on the Block

Blogging NYT: Harvey Karp's Happiest Toddler on the Block

Carrie McBride
Feb 8, 2008

Me Tarzan, you Jane. Dr. Harvey Karp, author of the best-selling The Happiest Toddler on the Block is back and he's gone up an age group to tackle the behavioral issues of toddlers. In his newest book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Karp compares the toddler brain to that of primitive cavemen and advises parents to think and, sometimes, talk like a toddler.

No matter how much you love them, a willful, tantrum-prone toddler can be extremely frustrating and, as Dr. Karp notes, can create a "vulnerable situation for abuse." The key, he says, is learning to communicate with your little caveman or cavewoman. "All of us get more primitive when we get upset, that's why they call it 'going apeā€¦But toddlers start out primitive, so when they get upset, they go Jurassic on you."

One of Karp's main strategies is "active listening." Instead of trying to reason with your child when he or she demands a cookie ("I want it. I want it. I want cookie now.") by explaining that it will spoil their dinner or telling them that carrots are healthier, Karp suggests kneeling down at their level and mimicking their line of thought, "You want. You want. You want cookie. You say, 'Cookie, now. Cookie now.'" By acknowledging that you hear and understand their wants, toddlers will usually calm down enough to bring reasoning into the equation.

Many of our friends successfully implemented Dr. Karp's 5 S's for newborns and will surely be looking forward to this follow-up for their toddlers. What do you think? Even if it works, will you be embarrassed to use Tarzan-speak in public?

Read the Times article here.

(Image by Nola Lopez for the New York Times.)

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