Tag Archives: Dr. Harvey Karp

How Early Can You Use The Happiest Toddler Approach?

Something happens to babies between 12 and 18 months.  The adorable little child that could be easily distracted from grabbing your earrings, ate anything you offered, and smiled when you praised him is replaced by someone whose favorite word is “NO!!”, delivered at astonishing volume for a person who weighs in at only 23 pounds.

Welcome to toddlerhood.  Get ready, it is going to be a bumpy ride!

Dr Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler techniques are usually discovered by frustrated parents of two year-olds who are tearing around the house, taking hostages.  But these effective behavior management methods can be cherry-picked to be used with younger toddlers.  In fact, starting early with patience stretching and the Fast Food Rule Taming Toddler Tantrums Using Sympathetic Reframing is a smart way to grow a toddler.  These techniques really do teach patience with kids Stretch Your Toddler’s Patience, Starting Today! and teach them that their complaints will be heard without always getting their way.  Dealing with bad habits later takes longer than instilling good ones any day.

You just have to be aware of which methods work for tiny minds and start planting the seeds before things get out of hand.  Some methods, like Giving It In Fantasy, will not work.  Young toddlers do not have the capacity to distinguish reality from fantasy.  Too many words, as well.  Same with Gossiping About Good Behavior.  They think that you are talking to them and don’t get the full effect of “overhearing” a compliment.

Not sure you want to “time-out” a 14 month-old?  Use Kind Ignoring, in which you momentarily turn away from the whining or defiance of a very young child.  Ignore the behavior briefly, even move 10-15 feet away without saying anything or making gestures or even a negative facial expression.  In fact, doing nothing at all but removing your self from the banging or throwing of toys sometimes works better than a statement or a look.  Your action coveys that this is not going to get your attention, it is going to remove you from their presence.  So much of the time, the littlest toddlers are doing these things to engage you when they don’t have the words to do so.  Don’t take that bait, and you have avoided what the Baby Whisperer would call “accidental parenting”.

She is a big believer in “start as you mean to go on”, and so am I.  Consistency gives all children a bedrock at home and at school.  They know what to expect, how to gain attention and how to successfully communicate even at an age where they have less than 20 words.  If you want more peace, don’t think that you have to wait until you can have a conversation about behavior with your child.  The door to communication is open way before that point!

 

Advertisements

Try a Dream Feed to Lengthen Your Newborn’s Sleep at Night

Imagine that you know an easy way to send your baby into a longer and more restful sleep.  But guess what?  You have to wake him up to do it.  Welcome to the world of the dream feed. The dream feed concept is not my own, but it is one of the most useful strategies a parent of a 2-10 month old can have.  Both Dr. Harvey Karp ( of Happiest Baby on the Block fame) and the Baby Whisperer write about using the dream feed.  This can be used for both nursing and bottle-fed infants.  The theory is sound, but the understanding is that the parent is intervening to build deeper and more satisfying sleep, not just hoping it will happen.

The dream feed challenges parents to do the one thing they might not ever want to do: wake a sleeping baby.  But if you think about the pattern of infant sleep and what makes babies sleep longer and deeper, you will completely lose your fear of waking your baby. The key is to time your dream feed somewhere from 10PM-midnight to avoid the creation of a habit of crying triggering more night feeding, and subsequently reversing night and day.   For mothers who are nursing, that first let-down milk is rich and full of nutrition.  You may switch your baby to the other breast before he is completely full in order to get a double dose of that early and belly-filling milk.  What a lovely idea; an almost-midnight snack filled with nutrition to send your baby to sleep !

To review:  dream feeds give your baby….

  • extra calories to sleep deeper and not wake from hunger
  • parents who are well-rested and alert during the day
  • a sense of night and day, with longer periods of sleep at night
  • hunger in the morning, setting her up to associate daytime with mealtime.

a last bit of advice: this is not playtime, so be loving but not very talkative or playful.  You are sending the message that this is mealtime, not a social hour.  If your baby is fully awake and wants to play, use white noise and low light to send her attention back down to a drowsy feeding.

Need more information?  Take a look at Teaching Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night and Baby Waking Up Early? Reset that Habitual Pattern Tonight.

Want more support for your newborn?  Visit my website tranquilbabies.com. and purchase a phone/video session.  Ask specific questions, receive recommendations on books and newborn equipment like swaddle garments/swaddle blankets, and more!  

Let Your Toddler Hear You Gossiping (About Him!)

Dr. Harvey Karp has many great ideas to inspire toddlers and their parents. One of my favorite strategies is Gossiping. Toddlers love to hear about their effects on others. Tell his stuffed animals or his “lovey” what a great listener he was, or how he ate a new food, and you will have an audience that can’t wait to show you what to talk about next.

It goes something like this: notice some progress your toddler made toward a goal ( toilet training, sharing, etc.) and find a moment to use a louder voice and some over-the-top acting to tell the teddy bear what you saw and how amazing/terrific/grown-up that was. Lay it on pretty thickly, and never acknowledge that you know your child heard every word. You can even mention to teddy that you hope it happens again soon, or that you plan to tell other family members later.

Children at this age are not always tolerant of criticism, and they sometimes even feel pressured when they receive direct praise. A young child can think that if they don’t perform the same way next time, they might have “failed’. But hearing gossiped praise is often a double bonus. Toddlers hear you say something positive about them, and know someone else has heard it too!

Gossiping Variation: Gossip to another person about another sibling or even a toy, mentioning an action or skill that you want to encourage in your toddler. You might tell your mother that you saw your older child cleaning up, and how grown-up you think they are. Or how happy you were when they shared a toy or a snack. If your toddler was present when it occurred, all the better. Again, do not directly acknowledge that your child is listening to this gossip.

Think you child is too young to absorb it all? Even the younger toddlers will get the general idea that you are saying something positive about them. Your tone and your gestures or facial expression will convey more than you might think. It is never too early to feel good about yourself!