Dr. Harvey Karp, our new Editor-in-Chief, doesn’t just want your toddler to be OK; he wants your toddler to be happy. That’s why Twigtale is thrilled to partner with him! Our highest intention, for our children and yours, is that they be happy.
Since you may be new to Dr. Karp’s breakthrough ideas, we thought we would outline the fundamentals. The key to Dr. Karp’s view of toddlers (8 months to 5 years) may sound a little odd, but it’s super helpful – the best way to think of your tot is not as a tiny adult, but as a primitive, uncivilized little caveperson! And, that is especially true when he is having a meltdown in the market or refusing to share his toys. Try to stay cool and remember that he will exhibit primitive behavior and it’s not his fault. It’s just because his adorable brain gets derailed by big emotions (even more than we do!) and switches from the more mature left brain (the home of logic and patience) to the more emotional, impulsive, tree-swinging right side.
Sure, he’ll do great some days, but (especially when he’s tired, hungry, or bored) it is normal to expect the natives to get restless.
This means that your toddler is:
Impulsive and impatient. Oops, no time to say please, he just saw something shiny across the room! His primitive brain is thinking, Mom, stop talking in such long sentences? Cookie! Now! Did I not make myself clear?
Not scared of you. You know how cave people hunted dangerous animals three times their size? Well, your toddler doesn’t have any problem defying someone 3 times his size – you! – when he doesn’t want to leave the playground.
Boisterous. The artist is in your residence. Life is his canvas. Would you take away Picasso's crayons or tell Mick Jagger to use his inside voice?
Unswayed by reason. He can’t understand why he has to stay in the car seat or share his toy. Hey, it’s my toy, OK? This is especially true when he is distressed.
Eventually your toddler’s more verbal/reasonable/patient left brain will get the upper hand. Until then, Dr. Karp advises adjusting your expectations to ensure they match a reasonable view of your child’s brain abilities.