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!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why Are We Seeing More Violent Play Among Young Children?

David, a 2 ½ year old boy, has advanced building skills for his age.  He loves to play with duplos and has become quite creative.

However, we begin to notice that he is now creating vehicles with guns.  When we remind him that there are no guns at daycare, he is reluctant to change his plans and in fact requires a lot of coaching and persuasion to comply.

Brian, a four year old, was always fascinated with transportation vehicles and usually played construction, rescue or racing games. Lately he has been calling them “attack games”. He is constantly attempting to destroy a playmate’s game or structure.

These are only two examples of what we begin to feel is a measurable change in the atmosphere at playtime. We are committed to being a non-violent daycare. Children cannot hit or bite because it hurts, cannot grab an item if it is not theirs, cannot build or pretend any existing toy or creative effort is a gun or any version of an attack weapon that will hurt another human.

We know children are often testing, pushing boundaries, copying, challenging and fascinated by what they see and hear. We find it very concerning that we are having a particularly challenging time redirecting the children’s creative efforts.

After several conversations with various parents we discover their dads have been introducing them to portions of the Star Wars movies.  In every case the dad is not only a big Star Wars fan himself, but is passing along much of that love and emotion about the characters and actions to his son.

Seeing a dad and child together (especially a very young one) is one of the most heartwarming sights ever.  Obviously it is a great thing that that these dads are sharing one of their meaningful youth experiences with their son.

However it is important that the dads clarify that Star Wars is an imaginary world with imaginary characters and should not be re-enacted during playtime in an aggressive physical manner.
We may be ahead of the curve or behind the curve but the last year is the first time we have children so connected to Star Wars.

Children will always apply their family and social experiences during playtime.  It is important that they get a non-violent message from their parent in terms of how they interpret the stories.

It is a wonderful father/son bond but it needs some guidelines!       

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to Have an Enjoyable and Rewarding Travel Experience For You And Your Child

Kenneth and Margaret, parents of a two year old and a four year old are planning a long distance trip this summer for the first time since they became parents. They are hearing horror stories from their friends are wondering whether there can be a plan that will increase the probability of this adventure being enjoyable.

Travel can be a maturing and educating experience for any family, but it requires a detailed plan with guidelines, rules, goals, flexibility and patience.

-Involve your child in as many of the details as possible.
-Outline your trip on a map with a bright marker.
-Write in departure and return dates a week before you leave.
-If you are visiting friends and or family write down any important names.
-Talk about important locations you will visit.
-Know ahead of time what the living/sleeping arrangements will be.  If you are sharing one bedroom, arrange for fold out beds, sleeping bags, pack and plays, or whatever is available so everyone has their own space.  The only exception to this is if you are camping in a tent- that is a very different adventure!
-Look for every opportunity to give your child additional responsibilities.
-Provide a separate backpack for each child. Include a selection of their favorite books, toys, music, coloring books, blank paper to draw on, puzzles ect.
-Add in a few new items (Choose items that will require some discovery)
-If you are staying with family, make sure you request that they partner with you and respect your roles with your children.
-Pack snacks that are high in protein and low on salt and sugar.  This is especially necessary if you have long flights or long car drives.

Do not:
-Plan so many activities that your child becomes exhausted. Try to stay on a schedule without reasonable sleep times. Nothing spoils travel faster than overtired children.
-Do not bend you own rules. You child will feel much more secure and safe.
-Do not forget to use every opportunity to verbally reward good behavior and unexpected accomplishment.
-Do not intentionally cancel naps.  Everyone needs a break in the middle of the day. Canceling naps does not mean they will automatically go to bed earlier in the evening.

Best Advice
-Keep your cool no matter what.  Take a deep breath and discuss as a group what the next best solution is for whatever has gone wrong.
-Do not ruin the trip over any small incident.

You will be amazed at how responsible and involved your child will be when given the opportunity.
Good luck and safe travels! For more amazing tips on raising a happy, healthy child you can purchase Smart Parent/Smart Child Here!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Follow up to last week’s blog (How to Get Parents Back on Track)

Congratulations and thanks to all of you who successfully completed last week’s blog! I felt it was an important case study and required that the solution be included.

Paul and Maren are finding that the greatest challenge is having Gabriel listen to them. He has already experience two years (his whole life) of having his parents constantly change their minds and pretty much let him run the show.
They are committed to making my plan and suggestions work.

Wherever you are in the parenting process know that you should begin to expect your child to listen to you.  I will keep you updated on their progress.

I also had a great experience this week when one of my dad’s ordered a copy of Smart Parent/Smart Child.  He and his wife already have a twelve year old son and a three year old daughter.  I congratulated them on being honest and open to acknowledging they can be better parents and relying on our advice to take them there!

Talk to you again next week on travel!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

How to Get Parents Back on Track

I was so excited and joyful that my son Paul would be coming to Los Angeles with his family the last week of May.  I had visited them in December when Gabriel was 19 months old and awarded Paul and his wife Maren an “A” in parenting.

They were doing so many things well: really respecting his intelligence and informing him what was happening in his day to day life.  They were successfully achieving early toilet training, creating a healthy food environment and overall, a great family dynamic.

I did work with them to help correct a “too early wake up time” and define the importance of spending half of his awake play time teaching him additional play skills while expecting him to entertain himself for the other half. 

In the months between that visit and their arrival, we did talk about the fact that they were experiencing some “food issues”.  He was stalling, refusing to swallow his chewed food and overall, creating a stressful meal environment.  His situation unfortunately had caused his mom and dad to begin obsessing over his food intake and caused them to attempt “to please him” i.e. allowing him to select or reject food, refuse to eat, whine for options, and overall create a meal environment to be dreaded.

I suggested they adopt my food schedule at the daycare (the children know the daily menu ahead of time): a predictable protein, vegetables that complement the protein, a pasta or rice, mixed fresh fruit and then bread.  These foods are served in order and have to be eaten before more food is requested. 

All remaining food following the menu is available to children that request them, given that they had eaten the full menu first.  When parents witness mealtime they are always amazed at the positive tone of the meal and the amount of food eaten. With a small family, Paul and Maren found this approach challenging and only adopted components of it that worked for them.     

I was not really expecting the kind of behavior Gabriel exhibited when they arrived.

First, Paul and Maren would negotiate the menu for a meal in front of Gabriel and then turn to him to make his choice, giving him the decision making power.  They hovered over him, commenting on each minute factor about the food- “was it too hot”, “don’t put that much food on your spoon” and even counted the number of spoons of cereal he would need to eat before he drank the milk in the bowl.  They even went so far as to eliminate any food that was on his plate that he now decided he did not like.  This was allowing him to change his mind about any selection he had made and contributed to the all-around stressful situation.

I began to include him in lunchtime at the daycare and not surprisingly, saw none of these behaviors.
They also transferred this hovering/determined to play and dependent approach to all of his playtime.  They even went so far as to hold his hand even while in a safe environment. They lacked defined values, behaviors and boundaries for him and only driven by a desire to please him.

His parents completely respected his intelligence, but they had to establish clear boundaries, behaviors and values.  They were allowing him to take on the parent role and be in complete control!
I presented a goal plan for them to implement that included what they need to stop doing.  Both parents had to be in agreement.


1.       Think before you speak-only say what you really mean and will follow up on.
2.       Make your request simple, direct and clear.
3.       Wait 15 seconds after that first request and let him decide if he wants to take action.
4.       Repeat it again if he has not acted (exactly the same. Do not defend or elaborate.)
5.       If he has not responded, tell him you will hold his hand and insist that he listen and follow your request.
6.       You must practice this 100% of the time. No exceptions!

Do Not:
1.       Comment on the situation if you are not the parent in charge at the moment.


1.       Do understand that Gabriel will eat when he is hungry and the food is tasty and varied.
2.       Allow him to make a choice between two options at two meals per day.  One meal should be served to him with no choice.
3.       Do work toward varying the protein (which should be the center of the meal). When possible, post a menu ahead of time for the week. (The children at the day care associate each day with that day’s protein and may mention it throughout the morning.  If I am adding a new protein I add a smaller serving to the existing protein)  
4.       Explain that Gabriel has to eat his two vegetables before he gets his protein and so forth for the rest of the meal.  If there are difficult days and he is giving you a hard time, make sure he understands that he cannot skip a component and has to finish one before he gets the next one.  If he refuses, the meal is over.  It is more than likely he could be overtired, not hungry, challenging you ect. Do not change this rule.  He will get the message and he probably won’t do that again.
5.       Do create a pleasant family atmosphere. Within his area of interest you can use meal time as an educational time.  Keep the subject light and not complicated.  If you try this and it is distracting drop it!
6.       Do establish table manner and be realistic.

Do not:
1.       Comment on every bite he is taking.  Focus on your own food.  Be aware when he finishes what is on his plate and have him request the next component.
2.       Do not overreact if he says he is full and has not completed his meal.  Remind him what the consequences of that statement are: the meal will be over and he will have to wait until the next meal.
3.       Do not expect him to eat three “big” meals per day.  If he has had a huge lunch, dinner may be less.
4.       Allow enough time between meals for him to be hungry.  If he has had a snack at 4:15 then dinner should be served after 6 pm.
5.       Do not let meals become a power struggle: relax! He will always win that battle.  He needs a positive attitude towards food.
6.       Do not feed him by hand and do not mix his food together in an effort to get more nutrition into him.  It is a losing strategy and insulting to him.

My overview of what may have happened:

Paul and Maren had figured out who he was and where he was at 19 months.  But by the time parents come to the right developmental conclusion, the child is already moving on to the next phase.

The five months leading to a child’s 2 year birthday are a huge growth period physically, emotionally, and cognitively.  They can become much more opinionated, verbal and dismissive. When family members are not all on the same page, it becomes frustrating for everyone.
Parenting is challenging.  Bright, strong willed children are the most challenging.  It also happen that they are the most rewarding and interesting.

So take a deep breath, watch for changes, come up with an understanding to handle them, relax and enjoy the incredible role and opportunity you have been given!       

For more easy to follow guidelines on how to ensure your child behaves well at dinnertime you should purchase Smart Parent Smart Child here!