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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
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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

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  3,555 ratings  ·  638 reviews
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 rev ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Bantam (first published 2004)
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Kelly Cooke
This book made me wish for the rebirth of the pamphlet. You know how Thomas Paine and those folks around the birth of our nation had these big ideas but then put them in a pamphlet? I think that's what Harvey Karp should do. Only, his ideas (in this book, anyway) aren't really that big.

Here's something that bothers me. A writer or somesuch will have a decent idea and sell many, many books (i.e. "The Happiest Baby on the Block," which I enjoyed in DVD form and "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick W
...more
Susanne
I was SO impressed with Dr Karp's first book, "The Happiest Baby on the Block," that I didn't even look at the "Happiest Toddler" before buying it. The five "S's" in "The Happiest Baby" absolutely saved our sanity when Isaac was a newborn. For him, it really was like flipping a switch from cranky to calm.

After reading"Happiest Toddler," I find myself thinking that there are some suggestions I might refer back to at some future date (since the book covers toddler's behavior from one to four year
...more
Hilarie
These days, it seems as though every book written by a doctor has a catchy gimmick designed to grab the interest of the reader. This book was no exception, as on the back cover Dr. Karp lovingly refers to toddlers everywhere as pint-sized cavemen. Since I am currently in the throws of the toddler years, I had to agree with Dr. Karp, as there are days that my little one happily wreaks destruction. Lest you think that Dr. Karp is somehow being insulting, let me assure you that it is very evident t ...more
Rebecca
My 2 year old Rosie was melting down-- it was past naptime, and we were on the 8th activity of the day-- decorating cupcakes--and she DESPERATELY wanted a handful of m&ms. She started screaming, CANDY!!!! CANDY!!!! Auntie Bridget said to me, "have you read The Happiest Toddler on the block?" I told her-- "I've just started it!" I begged Bridget for a demonstration.
She leaned across the table, right into Rosie's face and wailed at a Wagnerian pitch, "You want candy!!!!!! You want candy, huh!
...more
Elizabeth
I have to disagree with most of the reviews of this book. I read this book during a period of severe tantrums from my one year old, and a lot of the strategies suggested in this book really seemed to help. Simply coming to the realization that my toddler was more like a little caveman rather than a little person helped dramatically. Before reading the book, I constantly was asking myself an anyone else near, "why is she acting like this?!?!" Reading this book have me some much needed insight. Al ...more
Matt Weber
A difficult read, but its very disjointedness accumulates through the chapters to ramify into a very real hallucinatory power. Characters flit through, ghostlike, evanescent, there and gone, so transitory that mere recurrence strikes one like a thunderbolt -- for example, the brothers Aidan and Nate, the source of whose tantrums is never fully anatomized but whose too-brief anguishes ignite the page like black fire. The repetitious, misspelled incantations of thwarted desire sometimes recall Fau ...more
Jessica
I was actually surprised by how much I got out of this book. I never really used Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block techniques, although that was mainly because our little one was already older when I read it. But I thought I would check this one out, as I needed a little guidance for the toddler years!
Many of Dr. Karp's techniques sound a little ridiculous, and they honestly feel a little ridiculous at first, but I think they work. It's all about respecting your toddler by acknowledging how
...more
Leslie
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Not only is it an easy, quick read, but it's also really congruent throughout; everything fits together like a perfect puzzle. It's like you've hired a personal parent trainer who has provided you with a complete "work out" plan, and all the parts work together for the general benefit.

I went into it with the mentality of taking everything as a grain of salt (is that the expression? or is it "with" a grain of salt? neither really makes sense to me). My
...more
Harmony
I loved this book. I was so surprised to come onto Goodreads today and find that so many people gave the book low or mediocre ratings! I think that it basically comes down to doing what you feel is comfortable and successful. Perhaps the methods that Dr. Karp recommends don't sit well with all parents, or don't work for all children.

I really felt like the book further opened my eyes to how toddlers see the world. Many of things he recommended, I already do with the toddlers I babysit. The new id
...more
Sally
I think it's important to relate to your kids, to try to understand where they're coming from, to even speak to them on their level, respecting their abilities. But I will not get on the floor and cry in baby-speak just because my 2 year old is doing it! There are better, gentle, more dignified ways.

I was surprised that I didn't like this book (I actually watched the video) as much as The Happiest Baby on the Block because there were some ideas in the baby book that are right-on. Not so with the
...more
Stephanie
I really liked Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block because it was so straight forward. This book? Not so much. He advocates talking to a child in what I find to be a silly and non-sensical way. If a child has a tantrum about say being hungry, for example, you're supposed to tell her: "You're hungry. Hungry. Hungry. Hungry." I mean, I get that toddlers can't be reasoned with, and I understand his point that toddlers are essentially uncivilized cavemen, but really? I just can't do this toddleres ...more
Gail
I haven't even touched a parenting book since Dean was an infant, but once he hit that 17-month mark, the Toddler Tornado took us by surprise and I found myself grappling for how to handle the sudden meltdowns my son started having on me (much to my chagrin). No surprise that I would turn to Harvey Karp for answers, since his Happiest Baby on the Block book (he of the great "swaddling" fame) saved me as a new mother in those very early days of parenthood! His Toddler answer to his parenting seri ...more
Lynne
A solid basic parenting book for toddlers, although with a somewhat strange twist about considering your toddler to be a caveman. Most of his points are very good basic parenting advice, but the "toddler-ese" thing is a bit strange. Tried it with some of my patients and some of the parents out-right laughed at me or looked at me like I lost my mind and it didn't really actually help with the kid's distress. Definitely, it doesn't work on Spenser who just looks at me like I'm nuts and with an exp ...more
Lisa Wuertz
This book has been talked up a lot by several friends. So I was really hoping I would like it and I would get some insights as our daughter started throwing full blown tantrums at 10 months old when she wouldn't get her way when it came to stuff like climbing the stairs, going in the kitchen, etc.

However, being that I didn't much like Happiest Baby on the Block and found Karp's writing style annoying there, I probably should have expected the same from this book. Seriously, I think I'm going to
...more
Cheryl
This book is absolutely BIZARRE!!!! I picked it up last week at a bookstore's going-out-of-business sale, and I have mostly just been skimming it. But I had to stop, because it was so strange! The author advocates GROWLING at your child like a dog or a bear to get him to stop misbehavior! He also advocates speaking to your child in "caveman" language when trying to stop misbehavior or tantrums. Here is an example: "Cookie! Cookie! You want cookie! Cry! Cry! Cry! Emma Cry! You want! You want! You ...more
Shana
Great starter book for understanding toddler emotions and how to respect them and handle tantrums. The only thing I didn't like about this book is the dramatization, which I find escalates the child emotions. They need us to bridge the gap from how they feel to how they can feel good again. We accept their negative feelings. We allow them to have negative feelings. But we dont have to have negative feelings with them. We can come from a place of peace, bridge the gap with empathy, and let them w ...more
Philitsa
A lot of this book didn't really resound for me except -- as others have stated -- the FFR. I use that all the time in my personal and professional lives, so it made sense to extend it to my daughter. There has been an improvement in her tantrum recovery time that I'll attribute to that. However, I simply refuse to speak like a caveman to her when she's upset. I just don't buy it. How will dropping pronouns and prepositions make her understand me more? I'm happy to hear from other parents on thi ...more
Real Supergirl
There's tons of good suggestions in here, reading it when my son is only 1 year is a little overwhelming as I don't really know yet what kind of toddler he'll be, but I suspect I will return to it as his toddler years unfold. It's useful as an easy to read, philosophical approach to parenting - it's not about control or making our little "cavemen" into who we want them to be, it's about helping them navigate the world safely and become who they want to be, who they have the potential to be, and ...more
Hilary
Some interesting ideas. I'm not sure I completely buy-in (unlike The Happiest Baby on the Block which was an incredibly helpful book) but I did try one of the techniques on a screaming, thrashing toddler this morning and it worked like a charm. (For the record, that was a combination of FFR and empathy.)
Tracyesine
My two star rating is based on the "it was okay" description. Yes, this book is okay. It contains some good advice about how to make a toddler feel his or her feelings have been heard, and why this is important. I appreciated the little techniques for creating a positive, encouraging vibe by letting the child overhear positive things about his/her actions, as well as the actions of others. I also agree that lengthy reasoning with an angry toddler is not productive, and will likely just further a ...more
Jamie Hergott
I read this book because Dr. Karp's first book, Happiest Baby on the Block, saved or lives when my daughter was a baby. She was inconsolable every single evening for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Most people chalked it up to her having colic and told me it would get better in a few months. I picked up Happiest Baby and started implementing his 5 S's (Swaddle, Ssh, Swinging, Sucking, Side/Stomach) and it worked like a charm every single time. I was completely relived. I figured his second book wou ...more
Scott Miles
Karp has done it again. His first book, "The Happiest Baby on the Block", was a lifesaver. I find it interesting that many of the reviews I've read here on goodreads.com have praised the tactics outlined there, but ridicule and dismiss the tactics proposed in this book. After all, many people thought my wife and I were insane for going along with the "Happiest Baby" approach, but in the context of the "fourth trimester", it made perfect sense. The "caveman" characterization, seen as absurd by ma ...more
Amy
This book was way too long - a common complaint I have of the few parenting books I have read, in general. I was excited to read it because we used Dr. Karp's infant techniques with Maggie and they worked very well. Most of the toddler techniques aren't really anything revolutionary, in my opinion. The "toddlerese" is a little too odd for me. I did try it, at home, and it was not successful. There is no way I would do it in public, like several of the example situations. I did think the developm ...more
Casey
I like reading parenting books because I usually walk away with something new. I feel like a lot of ideas mentioned are good but it could have been condensed into an article.

And my daughter is almost two years old, and I feel that talking Toddlerese to her is insulting. She gets this look like, "What the heck are you doing?!" So no more.

Other tips?
1. show your kids you love them.
2. don't be a jerk.
3. don't treat your kid like s/he is an adult.
4. understand they aren't having tantrums just to
...more
Laura
Jan 10, 2013 Laura added it
Dr. Karp's 5 S's got us through H's first four months, so I was eager to read his advice on toddlers. His main premise is that toddlers have roughly equal communication and reasoning skills to Neanderthals and the best way to deal with tantrums is to speak to them on that level, with lots of arm/hand gestures, short phrases, and dramatic facial expressions. It seems to work fairly well with H and I tucked away a lot of the ideas on toilet training, night terrors, and introducing a new sibling fo ...more
Karen
Happiest toddler on the block
We're ambassadors to these little citizens of the Stone Age. Our
job is easier if we know their customs and language.
1. Chimps grab things they want and use one word to describe a whole group
2. Neanderthal grabs and says mine. Learns specific words
3. Cave kid wants to grab but tries to restrain and says I want. Can compare big bunny vs little bunny.
4. Villager begins being polite and says please. Compares several objects and descriptors.

Kids become more and more pr
...more
Angela
My kid is entering the temper tantrum phase (apparently six months late, according to this book) and I thought I'd get some tips from a pro. One of the continuous challenges of parenthood for me is understanding what I can actually expect of my kid, and I was hoping this book would have some insights into age-appropriate expectations. That wasn't its focus, but there was good stuff nonetheless. However, I just don't know if I can bring myself to do the "cavemen talk". The author's repeated use o ...more
Amanda Birdwell
I really loved the premise of this book (that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny; or that kids basically do a time-lapse sequence of evolution as they develop from monkey-babies to little people), and I liked a lot of the techniques. But I can't get behind the "toddler-ese" -- too much like baby talk for this grammar despot. And how many more times do I need to hear about the significance of consistency and schedules when I cannot be home with my freaking kid three nights a week?


That's not actuall
...more
Katie
I'm going to generously say this was a maybe a 2.5; this is mainly because I did often read some ideas, concepts, and strategies that I thought made sense, and some that--even though I didn't get or agree with them--I tried in some form and was surprised that they kind of worked. My major criticisms:
1) The format is bonkers. All that unnecessary sidebar/sideboxing made the flow really disjointed, and at times repetitive. It was like they expected half the readers to read nothing but that so they
...more
Kristi
This gave me a lot of good tools for encouraging good behavior. The aim is to make your toddler understand good behavior will result in lots of fun. The "lots of fun" can be small intrinsic rewards: special time for 10 minutes(he chooses what to do with me not vice versa: snowball fights with crinkled white paper, pillow fight, playdough, etc.), checks on his hand (to be recounted at the end of the day and described to him how he acquired each one), gossiping to his lovey about what I like that ...more
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Dr. Harvey Karp is a nationally renowned pediatrician and child development specialist. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine. Over the past 30 years, he has taught thousands of parents, from working moms to superstars like Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer and Pierce Brosnan his secrets for making children happy.

Dr. Karp has committed his full-time efforts to writing,
...more
More about Harvey Karp...
The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep: Simple Solutions for Kids from Birth to 5 Years The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block 2-Book Bundle Baby Bliss: Your One-stop Guide for the First Three Months and Beyond El bebé más feliz (Educación y familia)

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“Some critics disapprove of giving kids “rewards.” They say, “Children should obey simply out of respect.” Nice idea, but expecting toddlers to cooperate purely out of respect is like expecting patience from a baby. It’s not going to happen.” 1 likes
“Here’s one more bit of consolation for you: Toddlers save their biggest meltdowns for their parents. We’re the people with whom they feel the safest. So you might consider your primitive little friend’s tantrums a form of flattery.” 1 likes
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