Introduction:

Every parent we have ever met wants to have a smart child and be a smart parent. Raising a child is the most important responsibility anyone will ever have and can provide the most pleasure and reward.

SMART PARENT/SMART CHILD is the revolutionary philosophy that all children are incredibly intelligent from the moment they are born. When parents have learned understanding, respect, highly developed communication and relationship skills and development related expertise, it is amazing what a child can accomplish and, in fact, each child will achieve his maximum potential.


Our mission is to help you achieve that goal. The key to a child's education and success is a skilled, knowledgeable, informed and educated parent.

This blog addresses specific issues, to really be the best parent possible the book is a must!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday Joys And Pitfalls!

We have already begun the holiday journey that can be exhilarating, joyful, and rewarding while creating family memories that can be chronicled and drawn on for years, or you can experience a journey that will be regrettable and disappointing.

How do you ensure the first result will happen and not the second?

Do

1.Above all else, make sure your child is getting enough sleep. If they are still an infant and napping twice a day, try to schedule your activities so they can remain well rested. The same approach is successful with a child who is used to one nap a day. Keeping them up all day and then expecting them to go to bed earlier and make up for the loss of sleep rarely works.

2.Keep high sugar foods to a minimum! Contrary to some experts, sugar does have a negative impact on their behavior and their eating habits.

3.Always inform them before and activity exactly what is going to happen and what you expect of them. Share the names of people they may be meeting for the first time. Provide them with some information about them so they will already have a connection.

4.Space out your social schedule so they get a break inbetween.

5.Keep all plans age appropriate. It is hard for a child to spend more than an hour or so in an adult environment.

6.Plan as much time as possible in child friendly activities. They have already been excited about the holidays since Halloween, so make sure some of their time is low key and calm.

Do Not
1.Over plan activities so they feel they are on a treadmill. This may result in unacceptable behavior.

2.Spend too much time in the adult world.

3.Take them into busy shopping environments unless it is absolutely necessary. Always have a conversation about whether they can make a purchase. Be firm and calm about it.

4.Allow them to break any existing rules because this is holiday time, you will be opening a door to problems and also losing credibility.

5.Expect too much of yourself! You need rest too!

6.Hesitate to turn down an invitation when everyone is already tired.

With good planning and communication, holiday time can be an adventure with wonderful memories!

We will be back in the New Year!

Have a great holiday time!

Good Luck!

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Critical Importance Of 100% Consistency!

David was almost two. He was very verbal, independent, caring, and curious.

We began seeing a slight change in his behavior that escalated to a major change.

He suddenly wanted help with tasks he had always completed himself.

1.Putting away his blanket after nap.

2.Getting his shoes and socks and bringing them to a teacher to get minor assistance.

3.Feeding himself at lunch time.

4.Organizing games with his friends or independently entertaining himself.

He also began crying over insignificant issues, instead of talking.

1.When someone took a toy.

2.When he asked for something he could not have.

3.When he was required to complete a task he knew how to do.

4.When he wanted a toy someone else was using.

5.When he was taking a nap or waking up from a nap.

We discussed these issues with his mom who noted that many of these behaviors were occurring at home as well.

These behaviors continued until one day was his birthday party. He sat down at the lunch table and refused to eat without help. We reminded him that there was a planned party following lunch but no one could participate in the party if they did not finish their lunch.

Normally that reminder immediately changes the dynamic and the involved child begins to eat and the party goes on as planned.

In this instance, David absolutely refused and kept asking for help, kept crying, and was finally told that the party was cancelled and would be held the next day if he was then able to take care of his responsibilities.

I called the mom to alert her to what had happened and understandably she inquired whether I could make an exception since it was his birthday.

Fortunately I said that I could not break a rule since I would immediately undermine my own credibility.

When David returned the following day, he seemed calm, happy, amazingly sweet and more like his old self.

I reminded him that I had planned to have the birthday cake that day. He had to decide whether he wanted to be an “independent and positive boy” and eat all his lunch without assistance.

What happened next was the amazing part- absolutely no crying. He was super positive, happy and interactive. He not only returned to the child he had been, but actually a more mature and positive version.

A child will often regress and test when on the cusp of a big change, turning two was a big deal. He needed to know that even when he misbehaved, was unkind to his friends, and seemed to lose confidence, we make it clear we still loved him and could wait for him to feel safe in moving forward because we would love him even more.

Understand that your child may test the rules, resist his responsibilities, and challenge your directives when they are ready to move to a whole new level.

You have to let him know it is safe to challenge you, but you will remain in charge of what is best for him and welcome him when he understands that.

Know what matters to you. You are their teacher, their source of survival, and their main resource. They will want to please you when you are clear in your expectations and are consistent.

Kudos to his mom who shared with him that she had spoken to me and totally supported my actions.

It is a challenge but you can do it!

Good luck!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Advantage and Joy Of Highly Developed Language Skills!

We have always placed a strong emphasis on communication.

Why?

1.Because we believe all children are capable of achieving that goal.

2.It makes interaction with an infant, toddler, and young child measurably more successful and rewarding.

3.Because we have proven that our approach benefits every single child and is transferable to any size group as well as an individual child.

How does it work?

1.Regardless of the child’s age, all caregivers (parents, nannies, relative, daycare workers) must communicate in concise, appropriate, clearly enunciated phrases and sentences every single time they speak.

2.Develop clear short phrases for frequently repeated actions and tasks.

3.Ensure all communication is grammatically correct.

4.Do not distort the language adding “ie” or “y” sounds to words. It is not make it sound cute, it is simply incorrect.

5.When a child is mispronouncing a word or making their statement difficult to understand, do not repeat what they said! Instead, say it again correctly. If they continue to try to enunciate correctly, stick with them and congratulate them when they improve.

6.Repeating an incorrect pronunciation of a word only confuses them, they are actually trying to imitate you!

A typical plan could be:

1.Set aside some time each day to practice sounds they may be challenged by. If a child has used any motions or devices to satisfy their sensory needs after the age of one i.e. pacifier, thumb or any soft item, they may be still sucking on, this actually may have delayed their tongue and oral cavity muscles from developing properly to support good speech skills. In this case you will need to work with them to reduce or discontinue these behaviors in order to help them achieve correct speech. A good resource is a CD called “Speechercise” by Twin Sisters Productions. We have used this before on some of our children.

2.Get in the habit of always using the correct words in order to broaden their vocabulary.

3.When they deliver any grammatically incorrect statement, this is how you handle is. Say, “This is how you say that” and have them repeat it correctly. It is amazing how quickly they catch on.
Apply this principle throughout the day. A major reward is how quickly they will successfully use these skills in their own verbal interaction.

Since you are already know that they are intelligent from the day they are born, you can expect them to sound intelligent if you make the educated investment in developing speech skills.

The best feedback we get is from our parents when their child is in a social situation with their peers.
Their confidence and skills always stand out, even to their own parents  as well as everyone in attendance.

The reward is everyone’s!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tips On How To Have A Successful First Year, Whether Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding Your Infant!

The first year with your infant can be extremely challenging, especially when it comes to their most important source of nourishment “milk”!

Here are some tips to help you navigate the process for the best results. For almost all children, a quiet space and a calm, patient parent can be the most important ingredients for success!

Breastfeeding
1. Without exception, follow the nursing diet that is posted on most infant websites.

2. Be aware of any known allergies in the families of both parents. Take those foods out of your diet for the first year. You can begin testing for possible reactions once they are starting their second year. Do these tests one food at a time.

3. When following the diet, do not ingest an excessive amount of any one group i.e. fruits. This could cause your infant to either reject the breast milk or have a harder time digesting it.

4. Also be aware of any foods that are allowed but that you know you have a harder time digesting. We feel these situations are often labeled as “colic”. Try a change of diet vs. medication.

5. Make sure you, the mom are getting plenty of sleep!

6. Make sure you are not offering your infant a nursing option every time they are uncomfortable or challenging in any way. Doing so may create a “snacker” instead of a “full food eater”. This is not only hard to correct, but will also have an impact on their sleep pattern, turning them into cat nappers instead of well rested sleepers.

7. If they begin to fuss somewhere near two hours after a feed, distract them with a toy, a new location, interactive play, a new book, until it is at least three hours since a feed. Do not put them in a swing or provide any motion. They may doze off and defeat the purpose of correcting their feeding pattern.

8. Sometimes it is too easy to rely on breastfeeding during the fussy time since it is so easily available.

9. If your infant is in the final quarter of their first year, you may want to consider “topping them off”. By the end of the day, you may not be producing enough milk to satisfy them for 10 to 12 hours. This is highly a recommended strategy as everyone benefits from a full night’s sleep. It is not unusual for parents to adopt this strategy at an earlier age.

10. If this is not your first child, develop a role and plan for your older child so they can be involved directly and not be demanding your attention. This can turn breastfeeding into a very difficult time otherwise.
a. Give them specific tasks.
b. New books to read.
c. Even a special iPad time could be useful.
d. They need to know they are still important

Bottle Feeding
1. The first thing to consider is whether there are any dairy allergies in both parents’ families. This is very common. We have also seen infants who have had a hard time digesting cow’s milk. Even though they may not actually be allergic to it. If your infant is spitting up, cramping, having difficult bowel movements, consider an alternative.

2. You will want to start with a bottle feeding system that provides a specific nipple for newborns. There are some available that are patterned off a mother’s breast.

3. Usually when they are in their third of fourth month, this type of nipple may not be allowing enough milk flow and therefore is making your infant work too hard to get enough nourishment. They may quit or fall asleep before they are full. This could interfere with your infant creating a good feeding and sleep schedule. If they are showing hunger signs within two hours, this could be the reason.

4. There are bottle feeding systems available with soft nipples for their full first year. This could prevent your infant turning their nipple into a teething ring instead of a source of nutrition. We recently had this experience and solved the problem by going online seeking a soft nipple system for an older infant.

There is no hard and fast rule for when a parent should stop breast feeding or bottle feeding their child. Decisions can be influenced by experiences or culture or preference.

We have always recommended that parents begin preparing their infant prior to their first birthday to master drinking from a small cup with no top. We begin by sitting with them and helping them hold it. Many of them have it mastered by the 1st quarter of their 2nd year.

One of the best benefits is that it allows their tongue and check muscles to begin developing for the mastery of speech. Remaining too long in a system that promotes sucking can delay that development.

It also gives the child an important message that they are no longer an infant and will successfully begin mastering the toddler world.

Even with all the challenges involved every day, it is an exciting wonder.

Good luck!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is all about the family!

Happy Thanksgiving!



Friday, November 3, 2017

Food! Its Nutritional And Social Importance On Your Child’s Overall Health!

When Brendan joined our daycare at twenty months, he had a history of a limited diet and poor overall habits and table manners.

He benefited from our system of serving food groups in order of vegetables, protein, carb/grain and then fruit.

Each child had to finish one group before they asked for the next. When completed, they were welcome to request an additional portion of whatever food remained.

We have a specific menu for each day of the week and those five menus are repeated weekly.
Most of the children at the daycare referred to each day by the foods that will be severed. Lunch was an extremely important part of the day and was definitely one of Bernard’s favorite times.

After more than a year, we suddenly noticed that his manners and style at the lunch table were dramatically different. He began using his hand to handle his food rather than his spoon, played with each food group. He became difficult and either stalled in terms of a reasonable time to complete each food group, or stuffed his mouth with food. He would then become upset when he lost the option of having a second severing due to stalling.

He went from a happy, efficient participant, to a disruptive and attention demanding child.

When we inquired from the parents whether they had noticed any changes at home, they admitted he had been so efficient and happy at meal time that they had stopped sitting with him and instead used that time to get caught up on work and then enjoyed a quiet dinner together after he was in bed. They also stated that they did not always want to eat what he was having.

It was no surprise to us now why a major change was occurring at our daycare.

Brendan was feeling abandoned, isolated and angry that he was left alone. This is not only because food is more enjoyable when shared, but also because he had not seen his parents all day!

Meals are a major family and social connection. Brendan’s habits told us that he was either stalling to get more attention, or stuffing his mouth to finish quickly so he could join his parents. 

Brendan’s parents were missing an opportunity to enjoy time together, but also to share their day, and especially to introduce him to their favorite foods for a more expanded diet.

Do

1.Establish a menu for the week.

2.Repeat all the successes and add in a new item periodically.

3.If each parent has some favorite foods, they should be included and shared with him.

4.Keep the conversation positive, you can add in some personal experiences but keep it to a minimum.

5.Breakfast is often a meal everyone can participate in together. Make sure there is at least one parent with the child.

6.The effective use of personal skills and habits needs to be monitored and corrected when necessary.

7.Just think of how proud you will be of him when you take your child to a restaurant or a family/friends home and he knows how to enjoy food.

8.Brendan has now moved to a table with older children and is starting to use a fork, and can be relied on to be polite and happy!

9.The parents are committed to family meals now that they understand that sharing food is both a social experience and the basis for a healthy life.
Enjoy!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Challenge and Necessity Of Helping Children Deal With Their Emotions and Behavior!

A look at typical behavior in our daycare:

1.Anna will grab toys from other children, run away and then cry when she is expected to give them back.

2.Bryan has learned to cry for everything because it works at home.

3.Peter is getting more upset when his mom does not pick him up on time and is often withdrawn by the time she arrives.

4.Robert had started biting his friends when his feeling got out of control.

5.Mark had begun hitting when he wanted to be included in an activity.

We approach these situations from two perspectives.

We are totally committed to respecting a child’s feelings. They cannot move effectively from anger to sorry in one step without an acknowledgement of their initial feelings.

A straight forward question, “how do you feel right now?” following aggressive heavier will allow the child to respond honestly to the conditions that probably initiated the actions.

This approach usually diffuses the level of anger when it is followed by an acknowledgement of these feelings and then can move on to an appropriate solution.

We are also totally committed to strictly focusing on the action and not the child.

Children are never bad or good.

What they are is a child who follows or breaks the rules, is respectful or disrespectful, listens or does not, tells the truth or tells lies ect.

Do not label their person.

Some key exchanges that focus on the action only to resolve our initial examples:

1.Identify the action and then have them take it.  “Anna, do you know that this toy is not yours? May is going to ask you to please return it”.

2.Bryan, crying does not work at daycare to get your way, you will have to use your words.

3.Peter would like to tell you how he feels right now, “Mommy, I get sad when you are late”.

4.Robert, when you feel like biting, tell me and we will count to ten together.

5. Mark is told by a child in the playground “Do not hit me, it hurts!”

We are convinced that every single child has the skill and understanding to either completely handle their own solutions when given the language and to show respect for their peers when they feel the rules and expectations are clearly defined.

Empower them!

Confidence, skill, and knowledge will be the best assets in helping a child handle their emotions and behavior!

Good luck!

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Power Of Love!

We have found over the years that children who are having difficulty with the parent/child relationship at home will begin showing signs of their frustration, resistance, and anger during their time at day care. Their motive is to get our attention and help so we can correct the conditions that are causing the problems.

Consequently, when we see an extreme change in a child’s behavior toward their teachers and friends, i.e. not listening, hitting, throwing toys, knocking down other children’s project, kicking, biting ect. In all cases these were new behaviors for the particular child and usually a cry for help.
Every situation is a little different, but one recently reflected on circumstances that we have frequently experienced.

Sylvia was 2 and a half when we noticed a dramatic change in her behavior. We were aware that there were major changes in her home experience. She not only was seeing her parents less, having more baby sitters in her life, and in generally usually found herself eating meals alone.

At the same time, she was behaving aggressively at day care, as well as causing physical harm to her friends. We found ourselves often taking her out of playtime because of her harmful and aggressive behavior.

She showed increase separation anxiety when her parent dropped her off. This increased measurably over a week’s period until one day she appeared out of control when her parents were leaving.
At that moment, I realized that what she most needed was a strong feeling of security and love.

I happened to be sitting on the floor with some other children. I reached out and took her in my arms and told her that I loved her. She broke into sobs holding on to me with all her strength.

We remained together in that embrace for an hour before she was ready to venture away to play with her friends.

Every day for the next week began with us sitting together and conversation entered the process on the third day. This fact was extremely meaningful since during her aggressive and difficult stage, she could not communicate about her feelings at all.

By the end of the second week, she just needed five to ten minutes to touch base with me, get reassurance, and be ready for her day.

When we evaluate a child’s behavior, it is wise to step back and understand their world may be leaving them threatened or scared. This situation dramatically called for an outpouring of love to get her to know she was important, wanted and loved no matter what.

We are always reminded to never leave you child without a hug and a verbal reminder of your love.

Fortunately, the parents were able to modify their work schedule and spend more quality time with her.


This was big doses of love that set everyone back on the right track, especially Sylvia!