Excerpt: 'Happiest Toddler on the Block'

In his new book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp explains that if you talk to your tantrum-prone toddler in what he calls "toddler-ese," the tantrums should stop.

Read an excerpt from The Happiest Toddler on the Block, which is also on video/DVD, by Dr. Harvey Karp.

You can also find more information on Dr. Karp's techniques at www.thehappiestbaby.com.

EXCERPTS: The Happiest Toddler on the Block,

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen."

—Ernest Hemingway

Main Points:

The Fast-Food Rule is the best way to talk to any upset person: Before saying what you think, repeat what he said — with sincerity. If you skip the Fast-Food Rule, your irate friend may not be able to listen to you. When your child is upset, it helps to translate what you say to him into Toddler-ese (his native language). Toddler-ese has four characteristics: very short phrases, repetition, emphasis, and gesturing.

How Do You Say That in Toddler-ese? Communication That Really Works!

Toddler-ese takes some practice-but it will help you be a better, and happier, parent. You are about to learn a new and highly effective way to defuse your toddler's outbursts with love and respect. It's based on understanding how his prehistoric mind works.

First, let's start with a little quiz. Which best describes your toddler's mind?

1. A neatly manicured park 2. A rolling green meadow 3. A jungle If you answered (3) "A jungle," you're absolutely right! Toddlers are sweet and fun, but they're also wild and disorganized. This is especially true when your child gets upset (angry, frustrated, hurt, etc.). As ambassador to your little jungle pal, your job will be much easier once you learn to speak his language (complete with grunts, gestures, and short, primitive phrases)! Becoming fluent in his language is nothing less than your ticket to a fun, wonderful relationship. But before being trained in Toddler-ese, you must first master the number- one law of speaking with anyone who is upset-the Fast-Food Rule!

Okay, I know that burgers and fries are not very prehistoric. But I hope that this funny name will help you remember this important concept forever! Once you've learned it, I'll show you how to translate the Fast-Food technique into Toddler-ese. Together they will be your miracle potion for quickly calming your toddler.

The Fast-Food Rule: The Golden Rule of Communication In conversations you have to take turns-and whoever is most upset goes first! — Karp's rule of communication

The Fast-Food Rule is simple: Before you tell an upset person your concerns, you must repeat back his-with total sincerity. It is a very simple rule and once you master it, you'll be able to make the person you're listening to feel understood, respected, and cared about.

Here's how it works (and why my patients named it the Fast-Food Rule):

The Fast-Food Rule, Step 1: REPEAT the message you hear Burger joints have their problems, but they do one thing incredibly well: taking customers' orders.

Imagine you're at the drive-through. A voice crackles over a speaker, "Can I take your order?"

You reply, "I'd like a burger and fries."

What does the order-taker say back to you?

"What's the matter? Were you too lazy to cook tonight?"

"Do you realize how much fat is in that meal?" "That will be four dollars."

The answer is none of the above!

No. The first thing she does is repeat your order back to you!

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