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, August 24, 2018

How to Achieve The Best Success In a Dual or Multi-Language World!


Case 1. Darla joined our daycare when she was 2 years and 4 months old. She had no language skills whatsoever and in desperation her parents had taught her sign language. Sign language is a huge advantage for a child who has been identified as having a permanent impediment for speech. When it is used as a solution for a situation that has not been correctly addressed, it is an impediment for skilled verbal development.

She was living in a dual language home where the mother was speaking Italian and accented English and the father was speaking English with a few Italian words thrown in. In reality, they were speaking to her in three languages.

We immediately recommended that the mother speak only Italian and the dad would only speak English.

We were also reinforcing the English language at the daycare and as with all children, established an expectation that she would begin requesting and responding verbally.

After two weeks she began demonstrating a reasonable developed basic language and, not surprisingly, now understands that she needed to speak Italian to her mom. Four to six months later she was fluent in both languages.

Case 2. Oren joined our daycare when he was two and a half. At that point his life he was completely non-verbal and was demonstrating anti-social behavior that was possibly leading to a childhood of therapies and behavior evaluations that were mostly negative that may remain with him throughout his childhood.

We found out that he began his life hearing his mother speak Japanese and his father speak English. This was obviously a good start. However, when they decided to place him in a daycare we had no space available and they selected a location where the caregivers and children spoke Spanish. AS time passed they became aware that the caregivers were also speaking heavily accented English and by the age of two, he was totally non-verbal.

Because they felt it would improve the situation, the mom began speaking English which would stimulate him to at least speak that language. The reality was that because she spoke heavily accented English, she was in fact introducing him to yet another language.

Everyone began to see signs of aggressive and non-verbal behavior that was leading the caregivers to believe that he would need a professional evaluation to determine what his condition really was.
When the parents were contacted by use because there was now an available space at our daycare, upon hearing the details of his experience, we initially concluded that by communicating with him in five different languages he had been isolated from his world, was angry and frustrated, and was acting out physically since he was unable to communicate verbally.

We recommended that the parents go back to only speaking to him in their native language and we would only speak English.

Within a month, he was listening to us, starting to follow the rules, interacting with the other children in a non-aggressive manner, and in fact, beginning to be educated and socialized. He was also beginning to communicate in the English language, which is the one he was hearing the most.
We really encourage that there is a strong possibility these previous circumstances were the cause of the anti-social behavior.

Case 3. Maria join use when she had just turned two. She already understood and spoke Farsi (her mother’s language) and Portuguese (her father’s language). She had never been in an environment where people spoke English.

It was the parents’ goal to introduce her to English. They had been traveling a lot because of their business and were now ready to remain in LA for at least a year.

She spent the first two months just listening and trying to figure out what we were all saying. There was a pivotal moment when she realized she understood some of the basic words such as milk, hungry and food. We actually saw a light go on in her eyes and a smile of understanding appeared.
It was amazing from that day how quickly she picked up the language and to our surprise, spoke it without an accent.

It was exciting and rewarding that within six to eight months she could communicate her needs and understand everything we were telling her.

Conclusions

Over the many years we have operated our daycare we have had hundreds of children who came from dual language families.

Living in Los Angeles we are interacting with families from all over the world and ones that have blended cultures that value different languages.

The majority of families involved one parent whose primary language was English because most of our families joined us when their child was in their first year. They followed our advice to have each parent speak their primary language only at all times.

Interestingly, we were obviously reinforcing the English language at our daycare, but the child tended to speak both languages almost simultaneously.

In all cases, a child learning two languages became proficient at a slightly older age than a child learning only one language. Our one language children were proficient at the age of two, who the dual language child reached that level with both languages in most cases three to four months later.
I think it is a huge advantage for a child to embrace and benefit from, as well as acknowledge the uniqueness of both cultures that they have been born to our brought into. It is a strange, adventuress and invaluable opportunity.

If these case studies are reflective of your experiences, embrace the challenges and give your child the benefits of what is unique, interesting, and life altering.
For all of you who are taking this path, good luck!



Friday, July 27, 2018

The Dumbing Down Of the English Language to Accommodate Our Children!

Or is it because adults think it is appealing or cute to hold onto words that sound infantile as a connection to their child.

This issue is a hot button for me and has been a subject of discussion on my blog at previous occasions.

It seems lately there is a constant and reinforced use of one of my least favorite words, “owie” or is it “owee”?! It is hard to know how to correct or spell a non word.

Do we think our children cannot distinguish between a cut, a bruise, a scrape, a burn a bite, a rash or an itch?!

There is an inference by both parent and child (this seems to include all adults related or not) to not only blindly group all these possibilities into a situation where the adult mostly overacts, misinforms and generally offers some visible care when in fact, none is warranted or needed.
Crying seems to be expected as well as the latest cartoon character Band-Aid and possibly some reward, (sugar maybe?)

Think of how much wiser and educated children would be if:

1. The condition is correctly labeled.

2. A Band-Aid is only used if the skin has been broken with the possibility the area is bleeding.

3. An anti-itch product is used for insect bites as appropriate before they are scratched and scabbed.

4. The seriousness or lack of, is calmly explained so the child understands what is happening i.e. in most cases a bruise requires no care.

5. Rewards are not connected with minor daytime, playtime injuries.

6. Children will not need to exaggerate their condition since they clearly understand they probably need to be more careful and reduce the possibilities of injury.

It is interesting that when children are injured at daycare, the situation is discussed correctly and, if any follow-up care is required, that is clearly explained.

In almost all cases, they are made aware of how to avoid that injury in the future.

Taking responsibility for what could happen to you and learning to reduce injuries should be the goal.
That is not going to happen when adults overact, do not educate, and turn what should be a learning experience into a pity moment.

As you can tell, advanced verbal skills, education, personal responsibility are high on my list for all children.

Let’s treat them as the intelligent begins they are.

Try it and you will see the interaction completely change for the better!

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Family Vacation Time? How to ensure it is a maturing opportunity for your child and a rewarding experience for the whole family.


August is the favorite month for family travel and can be a daunting experience for parents. They are trying to figure out how to have everyone enjoy the experience and return feeling successful and rewarded.

Firstly you need to plan ahead, especially in terms of how this experience will impact your child and the family experience.

For Infants

Suggestions
If your child is under the age of one, your challenge is to try and keep them on their feeding and sleep schedule as much as possible. This is particularly true if you are travelling to different time zones. Many parents have achieved their greatest success by keeping infants on their home time schedule regardless of where they are. This will probably create some inconvenience for you, but the feedback seems to indicate the positive results outweigh any inconveniences.

Make sure they have enough toys and books etc. so they are occupied during their awake time.
Do not get in the habit of carrying them around all the time or expecting them to be quiet all the time.
Make sure they have stimulating activity and adequate floor time.
Hopefully you are vacationing in a child friendly environment that can be comfortable for everyone.

If your child is older, you want them to take some responsibility and be more included in the process.

Suggestions
Make sure they have their own backpack. This should contain a few of their favorite books, some new books, small activities that they may be able to handle on their own in an airplane or car and a small sketch or doodle item.

They should be responsible for their backpack and its contents and carry it themselves at all times.
Inform them each day what the planned activities are. This should include names of all locations, what they can expect, as much information about the purpose of each activity, and what you expect from them. A review of their knowledge at the end of each day is always a good wrap up.

Outline their responsibilities for each day and what you expect. This may become a discussion. If so, listen and accommodate them when possible. If that is not an option, tell them why and be firm.
Under no circumstances should they be sharing your bed. Arrange for air beds, cots etc. We have often seen any maturing process lost when they are not respected as individuals where sleep space is concerned.

Do Not OVERBOOK! Exhaustion can ruin the best plans and also create misbehavior.

Try to remain on a schedule that is as close to normal as possible.

If they are returning to an organized environment upon their return, then allow them enough transition time to readjust.

Remember to acknowledge their positive behavior and great listening skills at the end of each day.

We have consistently witnessed more mature behavior when a child returns to our daycare after a well planned vacation.

Good luck!


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sleep Challenges!

“We are seriously having some serious sleep issues with my one you old. She is extremely difficult to get to sleep at naptime, and now she is waking up in the middle of the night, which she has not done in months. No matter what we do, it is either a screaming scene until she is hoarse and then we feel badly and pick her up, or else we lie down with her.

We hear horror stories from our friends and want to prevent her from becoming a difficult sleeper. Bringing into our bed is not an option!”

These parents have the right idea. They are seeking a solution to correct these problems before they become permanent and a serious threat to everyone having proper rest and a good night’s sleep.
Lets talk about the nap issue first. There is often a transition in terms of naps anywhere from ten to twelve months. She is right in the middle of this change.

If by 11:00am to 11:30am your child does not seem that tired, you may probably make the move to one longer afternoon nap instead of finding yourself battling with your child to get them to sleep in the morning.

Plan a calmer play schedule at this time, including reading so they are taking a breather. Lunch should then follow by noon and nap at one. They will be very tired by that time, have eaten well, and fall into a deeper sleep for two to two and a half hours or even longer.

Your child will be giving you signals about how much delay they can handle, so there will be some flexibility about exact times. Plan to be home when you are figuring this routine out so you will be able to determine how the plan is proceeding and turn it into a positive result.

If this plan is not working for you i.e. if they are so tired by lunch that they are not getting enough food or are too fussy and cross, then you may want to introduce a different strategy.

For example: Do some quiet reading for five to ten minutes and tell them that it will be naptime when you are done. Then put your child to bed with a clear directive that you will stay with your hand on their back until they are fully asleep. At this age they should be sleeping on their stomach which is more restful and less likely to stimulate play.

We have found this approach to work with everyone. Tell them that when they wake up, they should call for you and not be anxious.

Leave them as soon as they fall asleep.

This approach can work again for the afternoon nap. Make sure they have been up and active for at least three hours and again, begin with reading. They are usually more tired for this nap and will probably fall asleep sooner.

Now we have the challenge of your child waking up in the middle of the night.
Here is a typical scenario:

1. They wake up screaming and probably calling for you one night and you rush in to see what is wrong.

2. After reviewing the obvious
        a.No fever
        b.Is not puling at their ears
        c.Did not do a BM

You realize that possibly nothing serious really happened. You are now somewhat undecided about what to do, but know that everyone has lost some valuable sleep.

3. You may decide you will somehow get them and yourself back to sleep and wait to see what happens next.

4. If it happens again the next night with no cause, you can determine you probably should move to the solution before it becomes a habit.

Tell your child before bedtime the next night that they are fine and need to sleep through the night without waking up. Also, that under no circumstances are you going to go into their room or verbally communicate with them.

The duration of this situation will depend on your child’s personality and whether you have a relationship with them so that they know you mean what you say.

If the answer to the above is positive , the behavior will change quickly, probably in one to two nights.

If you don’t, it will still work but may take longer.

I strongly recommend that you correct this situation quickly, otherwise it will leave everyone exhausted and it will become harder to make it through the day!

Take the best and most positive action for you and your child!

Good luck!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Why Corrective Action Should Always Be Approaches As a Positive Teaching Opportunity, Not a Negative Disciplinary Approach!


I periodically address this issue partly because it is so important, as well as the basis of a parent/child relationship, and also because certain times of the year are most in need of a clear behavior and values agreement between both parents and their child.

Summer vacation time is one of them.

Several things are obviously impacting the family lifestyle.
1.       No scheduled school time.
2.       Longer daylight time.
3.       Both short and long vacation trips.
4.       Increased fatigue from all the increased activity.

It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of maintaining rules and expectations during times of change.

Do
1.       All behavior and value expectations need to be clearly defined again.
2.       Parents must agree no matter what is happening.
3.       No parent can contradict the other under any circumstances.
4.       All behavior correction must be approached as a positive teaching moment with clear consequences.
5.       Reinforce your expectations.
6.       Ensure everyone is getting enough sleep and down time.

Do not
1.       Resort to punishment.
2.       Lose your cool.
3.       Over book.
4.       Feel guilty and turn a teaching moment into a passive reward.
5.       OVER BOOK

Summer should be a wonderful time to have more opportunities for rewarding family experiences.
They will only become that if all expectations are kept in mind!

Have a great summer!

Monday, June 25, 2018

How To Prevent Cat Napping, Snacking and Create a Healthier Schedule For Your Infant! We repeatedly experience these behavior patterns with infants and young toddlers who join our daycare.

Somewhere between five months and eight months, your infant should be having three meas a day with a light snack mid morning and mid afternoon. They should also be napping one to one and a half hours in the a.m. and 1.5 hours in the p.m.

So what is happening that we rarely see this pattern when these age groups join our daycare?

Let’s talk first about the snacking.

1. A four to five month old is very different than a newborn. Realistically, most one to three month old infants need to be fed whenever they communicate with a hunger cry. Three to five month old infants should be expected to wait awhile between daytime feeds. They can have more interactive communication and playtime so they can begin taking eight oz feeds and reduce the number of times they are fed. For example, they will have 3 eight oz bottles during the day and one 8 oz night feed.

2. At five to six months you will be adding in cereal and creating three distinct meal times.

3. The two snacks in between one in the a.m. and one in the p.m. can be banana/applesauce etc.

4. They will remain on this schedule for the rest of their first year, during which you will be adding in more solids and keeping the milk intake to three daily and one night. Part of their milk intake will be provided in their cereal.

5. They will be satisfied to take five to six hours between meals when they are fully fed.

6. The most common tendencies we see is for the parents to give them a milk feeding or a snack every time they seem distressed instead of occupying them creatively at those times.

7. This fear year is super important if you want to have a healthy, well nourished child with good habits forever.

Now we get to cat napping.

1. Cat nappers are infants or toddlers who have created a pattern of very short naps, morning and afternoon.

2. Very often this occurs because they are away from home during nap time and fall asleep in their car seat or stroller and are awakened when arrive home. If this situation is frequently repeated, it becomes their sleep pattern no matter where they are.

Your child is awaked during his nap approximately thirty to forty minute into their nap. This often happens in the afternoon nap. It is unlikely they have had enough rest. What happens I that you pick them up instead of putting them back to sleep. This timeframe is hardly ever enough sleep. It may take some of your time, a calming touch, to make them fall asleep again. Trust me! It is worth it.
Speaking to any experienced parent, you will find that they agree: when you child is a good eater and a good sleeper, you can probably handle anything that happens during the rest of the day.

Invest your time now, because the payoff is great!

Good luck!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

It has been such a great experience witnessing so many wonderful Dads taking a major role in their children's' lives. Congratulations and thanks! Keep it up!