Thursday, July 12, 2012

Currently Reading

When I was still pregnant, a coworker suggested I read The Happiest Baby on the Block. At first, I thought Dr. Karp's ideas were a little out there. A fourth trimester? Really? But then I remembered my mom telling me that when I was little, I was a colicky baby, and she would have to lay me on their water bed to calm me down. So, when Liam was born, we swaddled, and shushed, and swung away, and by eight weeks, Liam was mostly sleeping through the night. While the jury is still out as to whether the credit is all Dr. Karp's, I feel like his methods worked to calm Liam in those first few months.

Recently, Liam's started to get kind of naughty-- not terribly naughty, but he throws little temper tantrums, throws things on the floor, and perhaps, most disturbingly, bangs his head on the floor  when he's tired. (Not just on carpet, either, he'll bang it on whatever is available-- wood, cement, etc.)While I chalk up the little fits in the past week to the fact that we've been away from home for nearly two weeks now, I felt like it was time to finally break out The Happiest Toddler on the Block.

My major takeaway from the book involves two rules for toddler communication:

-The Fast Food Rule: The fast food rule mostly involves repeating your child's feelings. I feel this is pretty good practice in any situation, whether it's dealing with an upset teenager or a toddler. One thing that he suggested that I hadn't thought of before was doing so at about a 1/3 of the intensity. If you react with too little emotion, they think you don't care, and if you react with too much emotion makes them even more upset.

-Speaking in Toddler-ese: This means using shorter, simple phrases. It is our instinct to try to reason with toddlers; however Dr. Karp feels that the best way to speak to a toddler (at least one that's having a temper tantrum) is in short simple phrases. Rather than saying, "I know you feel mad about that." He feels you should say, "You're mad! Mad!" I'm not sure what I think about this. Thus far, I've just tried to reason with Liam, and perhaps that's because I typically deal with older kids. I'm willing to give this a shot, at least for awhile to see if it works.

The other thing that really stuck out to me in this book is that our environment is often either overstimulating or understimulating for toddlers (and sometimes a combination of the two), and toddlers are in their element outside. I've definitely found this to be true for Liam. While he's always loved being outside, I've found that on particularly rough days, going outside for a walk or another activity is really helpful.

What about you? Please tell me I'm not alone. Do you have any suggestions for books, methods, etc?


  1. We are to this point, I may check this book out. There is also Love and Logic, good ideas but I haven't read it in detail.

  2. Agree about being outside, it is helpful for us. I will have to check out this book!