Toddler-Speak

Monday, September 17, 2012
I recently read the book The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums  and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One-to-Four-Year-Old by Dr. Harvey Karp. Talk about a run-on title. Anyways, you may have heard of him, he wrote the wildly popular Happiest Baby book. 

The book is pretty amusing in its premise, but I think the good doctor is on to something. He argues that toddlers are basically little cave-people and their brains process language and emotions the way in which a neanderthal would. In order to get through to them, especially in the midst of a full-blown temper tantrum, you have to speak to them in their native Toddler-Tarzan language. 




Naturally after reading the book, I've been testing his theory. A conversation involving toddler-ese sounds a little like this:

Hannah stomping foot/growling/crying.

Me: Hannah mad! Hannah want cookie now! Hannah say 'Mama, give cookie!' But nooo, Hannah no have cookie now. No cookie. Hannah eat apple. 
My little cavegirl.
I feel like a complete fool and it's really, really hard not to laugh, but you know what, it stops her antics. I don't know if she stops because I'm speaking her language or if she's wondering why I sound like a complete moron, but nonetheless, it does stop the tantrum. 

The book stresses the importance of making the child feel heard in their wants and demands. So by repeating back to them in toddler-ese what it is that they want, they feel heard. I don't know. The Tarzan speak does seem to work, so I'll keep it up for now.

The book also mentions that if speaking like a caveman isn't working to try growling and clapping your hands. I tried that once with Hannah and she stopped doing whatever it was that she was doing and then we both burst out laughing.

Obviously, the main goal with tantrums is to cut them off before they start. Dr. Karp believes that making positive love "deposits" in the toddler's heart throughout the day will help stave off tantrums. It's the idea of keeping a child's love tank full (from The Five Love Languages). If a child feels loved they have less reason to act out. We have found this to be true too. And it makes perfect sense.  

These little ones just want to be loved by those they admire most
Dressing like Mama.




2 comments:

  1. I can just see Hannah looking at you....then laughing...I really can see it.... Makes me giggle right now, but hey if she responds positively...why not?!!! Keep up the laughs and love deposits. xoxoxo

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  2. this post made me laugh. so funny, but hey like grams said, if it works, why not?! haha. and yeah im catching up since i couldn't post before for some reason ;) stalker sister/aunt

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