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Publisher's Summary

Perfect for expecting parents who want to prepare themselves for the challenging toddler years (which starts around eight months of age), this essential guide, a national bestseller by respected pediatrician and child development expert Dr. Harvey Karp, not only helps reduce tantrums but makes happy kids even happier by boosting patience, cooperation, and self-confidence.

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 25 years, Dr. Karp reveals that toddlers, with their immature brains and stormy outbursts, should be thought of not as pint-size people but as pint size...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 30 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.
©2008 Happiest Baby Inc. (P)2019 Novel Audio Inc.

What listeners say about The Happiest Toddler on the Block

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  • 03-29-20

Not good advice

I was pretty mortified reading this book and had to stop 2/3 of the way. I could see exactly what my friends were following that was making them miserable as parents.

There’s plenty of evidence based practices that among other things strongly discourage time out but this book strongly encourages it. I’d say, look up the research, or read books on international approaches to child rearing.

7 people found this helpful

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Love this book!

I will be listening to the audio version again. I didn't know how I felt about the cave person description at first but it's pretty funny. As a professional Mary Poppins for the last 19 years I can attest to these techniques as many of them are tried and true methods I have already been using as well as some new ones I learned from this book that I have been applying with success. I enjoy the audio book readers voice and way of reading. His voice and the words and tone of the book were warm and friendly and made me feel like giving him a big hug!

7 people found this helpful

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Super Helpful!!

I’ve been trying the tips in this book for a week and already have seen huge improvements in my toddler’s tendency to tantrum

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Works!

My baby responds so quickly to all the tips and tricks in this book. Really enhanced my relationship with her over just a few weeks.

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Helpful read that went a bit too long!

I found most of the methods in this book helpful. Very counterintuitive to me but many truly worked. About 3/4 through it becomes very repetitive. Could be abbreviated and still have similar or better impact.

1 person found this helpful

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Most Repetitive Book I’ve Ever Read and I’m Glad For It!

I read this book from the recommendation of my pediatrician in response to my concerns with my newly two year old’s nighttime wakings. This book did not solve that issue, as toddler sleep is barely explored or mentioned, BUT it solved way more in other ways, many I hadn’t even realized.

I had seen quite a few bad reviews for this book, but the reviewers didn’t really provide any concrete criticism, they just seemed pissed off. I have also not read the author’s first book (focused on babies), so I did not have the experience of being disappointed in reading his “sequel.” So, I’m still not quite sure why it didn’t work for those unhappy readers, but for me, this book came at the perfect time.

I am most thankful that I chose the audiobook initially. I might have had a different experience and opinion if I had solely read the paperback. Tim Fannon has THE MOST encouraging, friendly and pleasant voice and it made this tired and rundown mom feel a little better each time she listened. It also helped to hear him perform the examples Dr Karp prescribes throughout the book and it just made the experience of reading that much better.

As my title states, this book is incredibly repetitive - you’ll hear the same thing many many times, but I think it’s because Dr Karp is making sure to cover all his bases. He understands every parent and child is different, with different problems, and so he addresses them all. I think it’s also because the strategies aren’t the easiest to adopt at first and so he continues to nail theses ideas into your head until you really see their purpose and success and feel more comfortable and confident to start implementing them yourself.

I appreciated Dr Karp’s diplomatic caregiver approach. You’re not your child’s best friend, but you’re also not their boss. You’re their ambassador. So, his approaches are rooted in a balance of respect and authority. He thankfully condones physical punishment. He recognizes behaviors and scenarios where compromises and consolations are best and also recognizes dangerous and harmful behaviors that require swift firmness. To take a term out of Dr Karp’s book, this book is a “win-win” for the whole family.

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Essential for all current of future toddler parents

Harvey Karp was a life saver for us as new parents of our infants. We had absolutely positive results. However, when our child grew into a toddler, we needed a little more actionable training. This book was it and has given us techniques, methods, and actions to take to raise a healthy and happy toddler. Extraordinary!

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Not the approach I’d take

There are so many approaches to parenting these days. While I benefited from The Happiest Baby (I think), I don’t agree with things like distracting and “gossiping” (read: comparing) about what other kids are doing that I want my kid to do. Janet Lansbury has a much more modern approach that vibes better with me.

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Tips that work

I recommend this book to anyone with a toddler and childcare professionals. Excellent tips I Used immediately and they definitely do work.
My son was already well behaved but these tips helped streamline tantrums.

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Annoying

Do you want to train your kid like a dog? If so, this is the book for you.

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  • brittany
  • 07-06-20

Maybe i suck..maybe this book does.

I have tried this tactic over and over again with my 21 month old and... nope. NOPE.

1 person found this helpful