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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 Hardcover – March 2, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Printing edition (March 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553802569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553802566
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #930,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.
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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)

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More About the Author

Harvey Karp, MD., is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, with a private practice in Santa Monica. Author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp is a nationally renowned expert in child development, children's health and the environment, and breast-feeding. He lives with his wife and daughter in California.

For further information and for information about the award-winning The Happiest Baby DVD/video and The Happiest Toddler DVD/video, please visit www.thehappiestbaby.com

Customer Reviews

The whole book is interesting and enjoyable to read.
Amanda Sayre
Karp suggests that my childs frustration is caused by my not understanding what he is trying to communicate to me.
Sagashi
This book contains lots of interesting information and good ideas.
Fifi LaRoue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

493 of 507 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2004
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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238 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Megan on November 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dr. Karp's "Happiest Baby on the Block" book got me through the newborn phase, so this was the first toddler book I went to. It was a very interesting read. His basic premise is that toddlers are little cavepeople: the right side of their brain, which deals with language and logic, is not very developed, while the left side, which is very emotional, calls most of the shots. He talks a lot about how parents have to be an ambassador: keep relations happy, while putting their foot down when it really matters. He divides toddler behavior into three categories: "green light" behaviors, which are positive and should be encouraged; "yellow light" behaviors, which are the annoying but not completely unacceptable things toddlers do (whining, for example); and "red light" behaviors which are unacceptable because they are either dangerous or they disobey a key family rule. He gives a great deal of advice on how to deal with each of these three types.

I thought that this was a very honest book about parenting a toddler, despite the fact that some of the things that he said were rather jarring. Some of his advice is very much in opposite to other books, and what I think most parents think is the "right" way to parent. For example, he really emphasizes making compromises, and in at least one example encourages some white lies. Not exactly the type of advice I expect from a parenting book. But this also made it more realistic than other suggestions I've read about raising a toddler. Toddlers don't have the logic skills of an adult, and realistically you have to pick your battles.

The most interesting part of the book to me, and the main reason I think that this book is worth reading, is about talking at your toddler's level when he or she is upset.
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227 of 241 people found the following review helpful By L. P. Arias on January 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
The basic gist of the book is that in order to get through to our toddlers' still-developing "cave kid" brains, we need to, first, mirror what they are saying so that they know their feelings and communications have been heard and are acknowledged, and, second, use a particular way of talking that relies on short, repetitive phrases. Sounds simple in a way, but the truth is that this is not a very intuitive way to communicate -- particularly when you're dealing with a child who is very upset. The author points out that our typical response to an upset child is to talk quietly, trying to dissuade or distract the child from the situation -- and that's definitely true as far as my usual strategy . . . until I read this book. I first put the book's technique into action actually when I was still just halfway through the book. My 2 1/2 year old daughter woke up in hysterics at about 2 AM. When I went to her room half-dazed and desperate to calm her, I just reflexively resorted to the technique because I'd been reading about it the prior evening. I started mirroring her emotions with words such as, "You're crying! You say, Mommy hold me! You say, Mommy I'm scared!" As per the book's instructions, I also tried to capture at least some of my daughter's distraught emotional state in my tone of voice and with my gestures. I kept repeating the technique as she progressed through a few demands over the course of 5 - 10 minutes. But, the point is that the situation ended in JUST 5 or 10 minutes (not an hour or more as it has sometimes been in the past). I also remember clearly at one point, as I was mirroring my daughter's woes, she looked me in the eye and said, "Yeah!" She knew that she was being heard! For me, that moment showed me the validity of this technique.Read more ›
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