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 7, 2018

A Toddler Checklist!

Based on what I hear and see, I think it is time to review the toddler challenge.

I hope you have been communicating with your child since birth and are expecting them to understand you (which they do).

If that is the case, the toddler checklist will be an extension of your child’s experience of what is expected. If you have not been doing that, then this checklist will be extra challenging. Your toddler now has more verbal skills, more experience with how they can get their way with thing, and better control of their habits.

Either way, you have to acknowledge you are dealing with a more skilled and experienced child.

They now have figured out what works when you do not prepare for, or acknowledge, that the result could be a two year old out of control. This is where the “terrible two’s” expression was born.

So here are my guidelines.

1. They need to be taught that when you speak they need to listen and follow your directives. Be persistent and calm. It will take awhile for them to know that you mean it. Do not give up.

2. Set boundaries. Be clear on what they cannot do. Have possessions in the family space that they cannot have. They need to know that everything is not theirs. I.E. they should not play with your phone/radio ect.

3. One half of their awake time is teaching them how to play, and the rest will be observing their skill level in applying what you just taught them. There may be a lot of repetition, but expect them to complete each task or skill themselves. For example, they don’t know how to do a puzzle. You have to spend time with them and show them how to take the pieces from the puzzle box and fit them back in correctly. Also how to remove it from the storage area and return it. The entire process should be their responsibility. It makes them feel empowered.

4. When it comes to tasks, give them responsibility for personal ones i.e. putting their clothes in the hamper.

5. Only say what you really mean and follow up on it 100% of the time.

6. Take the time to explain and trust that they can problem solve. Don’t jump to help every time some small issue occurs, stand back and say, “you figure it out”.

7. Teach them to respect rules and follow them.

8. Do not give in when they are misbehaving in public.

9. Always keep your tone firm, respectful and calm.

10. If you still have infant toys, furniture or clothing – store them or give them away! Your child is no longer an infant.

Children thrive on responsibility. Give them as much as you can when it is safe to do so and it is a situation they can handle even if it could be a little stretch.

They need to start becoming confident and independent with your guidance and support!

When you and your child accomplish this, it will make both of you very proud and ensure they are btter prepared for the rest of their childhood.

Good luck!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Mother Nature Is Testing Us To Determine Whether We Know The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving!

This holiday has always been one of my favorites. It is all about family, love and gratitude and sharing this year because of all the tragedies that have occurred. It feels as though love and sharing, reaching out to those who have experienced huge losses are our priority.

Let us each take the time to reach out to everyone who has experienced losses, especially of family members. Our hearts go out to you.

We have created a plan that each of us will reach out to help in a very tangible way. Making a contribution, donating our time, sharing our home, even a message to someone who has suffered a great loss can be beneficial.

The stories that survivors have shared show such amazing strength and resilience, as well as a belief that circumstances will return to a manageable level.

Our thanks giving commitment this year is to focus on how each of us can offer assistance to someone in great need!

Maybe love and sharing are the most important meaning of Thanksgiving! Our love to everyone!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

“I Love You” may be the most important words from a parent to a child!

Right now in Los Angeles we are witnessing the most destructive fires to ever occur in Southern California, with no more than a minutes notice, people are rushing from their homes to beat the flames and unfortunately some of them are not making it.

At a time like this, when there is so much unexpected tragedy, none of us can actually predict how each day will end.

Unintentionally, there are still days when a parent and child has had a difficult and challenging morning before coming to our day care. It may be that the child refused to get dressed, or eat breakfast, or can’t agree about clothing options, or is still tired and generally uncooperative. By the time they arrive at our door the parents’ patience has already been stretched and the start of their day already delayed.

Consequently, they are already late for whatever their work requirements were. Without thinking, they rush their child into our daycare without expressing any loving parting words. At that moment, their priority seems to be to leave their child as quickly as possible and apparently forget to say any parting words.

Make a commitment that regardless of any and all circumstances, you will tell your child that you love them before leaving. That one single statement will help both child and parent to let go of the difficult early morning experience and know that all is well. It immediately changes the energy and allows for a more pleasant day.

Under no circumstances should you leave your child while you are angry, you cannot be silent!
Make that commitment now, it will change your day! Love is a great healer!

We are hoping for a peaceful Holiday Time!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Do you want your child to be a good eater? Your chances of having that happen will dramatically improve if you start off correctly!

Paula did not realize that what she was doing may impact her son for a long time. Mark was then three months old, he weighed eight pounds and six ounces at birth and she was somewhat anxious should would be able to produce enough milk for him so she could nurse without any supplements.

Probably because of her anxiety, she was in the habit of picking him up as soon as he cried and nursing him. This was her action even when he had been fed once and a half hour earlier (sometimes even less). Since she had no way of knowing how many ounces he was really taking each time, this schedule was almost constant throughout a twenty four hour period. Sometimes there was a slightly longer break during the night, but it was not always one should could count on.

The situation did not change measurably as he got older, except he was crying louder each time, which she was still interpreting as hunger.

He joined our daycare at eighteen months. We realized instantly that he was definitely a crier and that he expected food every time he cried. We did succeed in keeping him on our schedule of 2 snacks and lunch and determined he was actually not a big eater, but was probably crying because he had created of habit of being a snacker.

We have had this experience with many children over the years. We have concluded that two things happen as a result of this behavior. The child becomes a snacker, needing food throughout the day at short intervals and is constantly hungry because their food intake was never sufficient to fill them up. 
There was the additional impact of an unbalanced diet, detrimental to their health and growth. In every case, both the challenge to reduce the crying and teach each child to be a better eater, took a significant amount of time.

We did need the cooperation of the parents to implement this corrective plan at home in order to be successful. One of their responsibilities was to provide and nourishing and adequate breakfast so the child would arrive at our daycare ready to last until snack.

Breaking a crying eating related habit is not easy. It is so much easier not to let it happen.
Your child needs to be stimulated, played with, taught, and connected with. Food is not the solution for every sign of distress. Help them to extend their time between food intake to at least three hours and make sure they are full when fed a meal.

Like all other challenges in life and parenting, to be successful you need to be 100% committed.

This approach will help your child grow to be a healthy eater with long term positive results and a lot less crying.

Good luck!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Holiday Time! The Most Fun, Anticipated, Exciting Time And The Most Perilous, Exhausting, Overwhelming And Scary Time!

I am beginning writing this blog last Monday, it is still two days before the beginning of the holiday season. Already children are crying more than usual, are exhausted, have less patience with each other and are more likely to either take too long of a nap or not be able to settle down for a nap.   

We expect to see these conditions continue from now until we close for the holiday on 12/21. 

The holiday season is actually one of my favorite times. Seeing more of the family, spending time with friends we may not see a lot during the year, and enjoying the sense of caring and unique 
festivities that take place, including our holiday get together, which always includes a huge number of alumni.

However the reality is that holiday time is very hard on young children. There is so much anticipation and it takes so long to happen. There are so many parties and special activities that interfere with their rest and calm time that it becomes difficult for them to effectively survive the season.

So here are some suggestions!

1.Try not to accept invitations that conflict with your child’s nap time and bedtime. When you feel you want to attend any of those events that do conflict, schedule a make up longer nap or earlier bedtime.

2.Scary situations should be avoided all the time. Seeing movies at a theater for example, is usually overwhelming. The space and screen are too large and the sound is too loud. If you think your child is ready for The Grind or any other movie, then watch it at home under comfortable circumstances and your ability to stop the story at any time.

3. Many children are overwhelmed by visiting Santa. Make sure they are old enough to understand what will happen. If they show any signs of fear I strongly suggest you pass on the experience until they are ready. That may be the next year or later. 

4. Keep the sugar factor and the treat factor low. Their food intake should be as healthy as usual with minimal treats. Their eating habits need to sustain their extra activities and emotional excitement.

It is worth the extra planning and consideration for your child’s needs in order for everyone to enjoy a happy holiday, you want 2018 to create happy memories!

Good luck!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Why We Established A Non-Violent Daycare From The First Day

We already knew that the philosophy that was the basis of our daycare program (that children are intelligent from the minute they are born) was a perfect environment for implementation of a non-violent program.

It was obvious and challenging that we had an expectation of our children that most of our parents did not. There was much questioning about how we were going to approach that.

We outlined the following playtime rules.

1.There would be no violent toys in the daycare i.e. guns, swords, military equipment.

2.The children could not make violent toys i.e. Duplos turning into guns, sticks used as swords, trucks and cars used to harm. 

3.No shooting sounds used during playtime.

4.No violent words i.e. kill, hit, hate as part of a game or interaction.

5.No use of any toy to hurt another child or as a weapon.

6.Initially, it was a major challenge since most of the children did not have these restrictions during the rest of their day.

As we expected, we were required to take a very creative role and suggest all of the fun, interesting, constructive ways they could play instead.

1. Play family

2. Build neighboring houses.

3. Create playgrounds, skyscrapers, zoos and schools.

4. Cook meals.

5. Take trips with their dolls.

6. Answer 911 calls and put out fires.

7. Visit their relatives and play games.

What has resulted is a whole new vocabulary and a much more educated, creative form of play.
Not surprisingly, they still are tempted to transform to their “away from daycare games”.
Each one of the times these instances occur draws a reminder from us that violent play is not acceptable. “Think of something fun to do.”

We also have taken the same approach with our corrective action.

1.Children are never bad. They may break a rule, not listen or have hurt a friend; we state whichever one of these situations is appropriate and make sure they understand.

2.They cannot hit, bit or kick/push a friend because “it hurts”.

3.They cannot grab a toy because “it is not theirs”. The child who had the toy says, “May I have that back please, it is mine” This may have to be repeated and if not done, it is followed up with the teacher saying, “Please give him back his toy”. Should the involved child lack the appropriate verbal skills for this communication, then the teacher will take that role so the child can learn the correct approach.

Injuries are also handled with a positive, realistic approach, and not something the child may use to get attention.

1.Band-Aids are not provided unless the skin is broken or bleeding.

2.Injuries are treated both calmly and appropriately. If first aids is required, it is done and the child is involved in the care as much as possible. Injuries are neither downplayed nor exaggerated, nor treated as a form of over the top attention.

3.If a child has been injured by another child, it is treated as a discussion on responsibility and concern. The aggressive child will play a role in aiding the injured child.
In all cases these instances serve as a reminder that we solve our disagreements with words, not with fists or objects.

One of the ongoing challenges to a non-violent commitment can be when you and your child attend a public event. This is especially true of birthday parties. It is wise to have a discussion prior to attending; you should share with your child how you will handle the situation if there are violent toys and how you expect them to act.

I hope many of you are already taking this approach and if not, find value in it. If you want your child to be kind, empathetic, respectful of everyone, and who they are, the seeds of that belief should be planned when they are young.

Good luck!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Play Skills - Your Child Needs To Be Taught In Order To Learn The Skills Required, And The Benefits Of, The Toys And Activities They Have Available As Well As Handle The Social Challenges

Paul arrives at school and just sits on the floor waiting for someone to tell him what to do.

James arrives and heads toward the toy chest and begins pulling out all the toys and throwing them on the floor.

Ginger arrives and selects a shapes cube, sits on the floor and calls on a teacher to come and put the shapes back in the cube for her.

Dennis has only been here for a month and forgets that he has to entertain himself. Consequently, he takes 1.5 hours and constant reminding that he has to choose his own activity.

Paula’s favorite words are “I can’t”. We have not yet seen her take the initiative to practice any new skill or solve any problem.

Any of those examples have been evident over the years. These are children who are entertained, underestimated, catered to, assisted, and approached with low expectations when they are home.

Parents are automatically assuming that their child learns the skills to:

1. Problem solve.
2. Accomplish several tasks in sequence.
3. Interact successfully with other children.
4. Learn a somewhat difficult skill.
5. Be independent.
6. Develops a longer attention span.
7. Enjoy and thrive on being independent.

Both our role and the parental role is to be a provider and teacher. Parents and teachers are not in the entertainment business when it comes to raising their children.

To Do

Begin the playtime process and the task learning process with half of your time together planned as teaching time, and the other half as child/parent tome. Once a skill has been taught, always observe and allow your child to resolve challenges themselves.

This approach applies to both fine motor skills, gross motor skills and cognitive challenges. Always applaud and encourage independence and persistence. Give them time to apply both mental and physical effort. Don’t jump in the second they hesitate.

When all the child’s caregivers are taking the same approach, results are amazing.

Especially never assist in, or do, a task for your child that you know they can accomplish successfully. You will be giving  the wrong message, eroding their confidence, encouraging their dependence, and generally prevent them from achieving their potential.

You want strong willed independent, skilled, confident children!

Give them the skills and trust they will accomplish their goals.

Good luck!