10 basics for raising a happy toddler by Dr. Harvey Karp
1. Think of your toddler as a caveman: Their brains are still developing and primitive. They are not yet good at language or logic. Emotion and impulse are more dominant parts of their brain.
2. Know their temperament: laid-back, cautious, or spirited? Know this can help you anticipate their needs and reactions.
3. Give yourself a break because parenting is hard: You don't have enough help. Your buttons get pushed. Your personality might not mesh with theirs.
4. Be an ambassador for your toddler: Handle them with respect, kindness, and diplomacy when you set limits.
5. Practice the fast food rule daily: When they are throwing a tantrum, spend time echoing their needs and feelings back at them before you tell them something.
6. Speak in toddler-ese: Use short phrases. Repeat yourself several times. Use animated gestures and an expressive voice to mirror their feelings to connect with them emotionally.
7. Encourage your child's good behaviors with
- Time-ins: attention, play, praise, gossip, hand checks, etc... at least 20 minutes a day
- Confidence builders: offer them choices, play the boob
- Teach patience: patience stretching, magic breathing
- Routines: bedtime sweet talk, special time
- Planting seeds of kindness: fairy tales, catching others being good, role playing
8. Curb annoying behaviors by
- Connecting with respect: fast food rule + toddler-ese
- Offer win-win compromises
- Give mild consequences: clap-growl, kind ignoring
9. Put a stop to unacceptable behaviors: time-outs; giving a fine
10. Prevent most tantrums or stop them by
- Fast food rule + todder-ese
- Avoid problem situations
- Connecting with respect all day long
- Feeding the meter: time-ins, playing the boob, routines, etc...
- Teach patience-stretching