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, July 31, 2015

How Do We Get Our Two Year Old To Stop Getting Out of His “Big Boy Bed”? We Haven’t Had a Good Night’s Sleep In Two Months!

The emergency call came from Paul on night on his way home from work, the previous night was the last straw!

Gabriel was still awake at 11:30pm. He got out of bed, went to the refrigerator, took out a bottle of water and came into their room.

All Paul could say is “We are DONE! We need your help.”

The background was that shortly after Gabriel turned two he had figured out how to crawl out of his crib. Paul and Maren had not actually considered getting him a big bed but felt what he was doing was dangerous. There was a strong likeliness that he would hurt himself.

They could not remember exactly how they prepared him verbally for the new responsibility. It sounded like there were a lot of conversations about all the possibilities that could occur and no clear message to Gabriel regarding the guidelines and rules.

As an experienced parent might predict, he immediately came up with any and all of the emergencies he could think of. He needed another drink, he had a B.M. in his diaper, he needed a hug, etc. etc. etc. He quickly escalated the situation. Instead of calling for them, he was coming in their room, or to wherever they were.

They were lucky during those two months if they got to sleep before 11:30pm. Also, as is often the case, he was waking up earlier than usual and coming to their room.

In their case, they had always closed his bedroom door and relied on a monitor for information and security. Locking the door was not an option.

I immediately advised them to get a security gate that he could not climb, and to establish clear expectations and rules.

After their usual bedtime routine which already included a good night hug, there is no further interaction. Period!!! No matter what he calls for, they will not answer, even if he has done a B.M. He was reminded that he used to do a B.M. during the day so he could revert to that schedule or wait until morning for a diaper change. As a precaution they place a heavy cream on his skin to prevent a rash.

Under no conditions could they respond or enter the room. 
Their final goodnight was: “You are a big boy, and this is why we bought you a big boy bed. It is bedtime and we are not coming into your room no matter what. We love you and know you can do this!”

Then I instructed them to leave the room and to not say or do anything!

I was hesitant to follow up too soon since as I was unsure what their time frame was to implement this plan. They had to purchase and install the gate as well as really trust that they could pull this off.
On Sunday (3 days later) there was a message on my machine when I returned home.
It was Maren. “I can’t believe that our nightmare is over. It took one night! Unbelievable! For the first time in weeks I went to work on Saturday (she is an EMT) having a good night’s sleep. Thank you! Thank you!”

Children need boundaries and clear guidelines, especially when they are being expected to make a major transition.

The major mistakes that are often made are because the parents do not believe their child will be able to handle the responsibility. They communicate too much information and often feel guilty that they are expecting too much.

Your child is highly intelligent and will follow directions and rules when they are clearly states and followed upon! Everyone benefits! 

If you have a specific problem that you would like advice on, leave it in the comments down below!

Friday, July 24, 2015

A 14 Month Old In Action!

Geoffrey joined us when he was 14 months old. He lived next to a family whose two children attended our day care.

From the time his parents knew they were expecting, they were intrigued and impressed with the approach their neighbors took with their children as well as the children’s skills and behavior.
Somewhere in the process they were introduced to ourparenting book and were able to apply our philosophy and guidelines specifically to their goals and life style.

Geoffrey’s parents were determined and committed to having him attend our daycare and would periodically visit so that we could fall in love with him and he would be familiar with us and the environment.

We were finally able to have him join when he was just turning 14 months.

We discovered Geoffrey was amazing, strong willed, independent, confident and skilled. He already had basic language skills (probably 20 to 25 words) entertained himself, was very social and flexible.
He quickly caught on to the routine, is slowing grasping and applying the roles, and getting to know the other children.

He listens exceptionally well for his age and we are spending time with him to improve his play skills and his attention span.

Two situations stand out in my mind.

First-At the beginning he was crying when he arrived at the day care door. He was being carried and suddenly put down in his new environment. After a few days I explained that it would be easier for him to make the transition if they did it earlier in the arrival process.

I gave the mom three options:

1)      Put him down at the gate about 20 feet from the day care door and let him walk.
2)      Put him down at the stair landing and walk down the rest of the way holding his hand.
3)      Teach him how to crawl backwards down the stairs and then walk in himself.

Amazing but not totally surprising, the mom elected to go with option 3, the most demanding of them all.

The next day I heard her arriving and noticed that she had stopped on the landing. She was too far for me to hear her, but obviously she was explaining to him what she expected him to do.

After 10 to 12 minutes I see him get down on his knees and begin the challenge of climbing backward down the stairs. She immediately moves down to be lower than he was in case of a misstep. When he arrived at the bottom he practically ran to the day care door without even look back. He has being doing that ever since.

The other incident involved a routine we have after naptime. The children sleep on cots, blankets are placed over them usually after they settle in. Then they have the responsibility when they wake up to take the blanket and put it into the blanket box.

Geoffrey’s cot is next to the blanket box so he usually crawls off the cot (it is 6” off the floor) and pulls the blanket with him and into the box.

This particular day he woke up very quickly and for a few seconds I was encouraging him to allow his body to be really awake. At the same time he was reaching for the blanket, stood up on the cot, pushed the blanket into the box and then walked on the cot to the end, hesitated for a few seconds, seeming to evaluate and measure his skills against the risks and then stepped off safely. The pleasure on his face resembled that of an athlete standing on the high dive and successfully calculating his ability to make that triple twist.

The best part of this case study is that Geoffrey’s parents, by reading our parenting book to educate themselves, respecting their child and applying the good examples they were witnessing with their neighbors are seeing fruits of their labor.

Their perspective is that when they truly understand how intelligent he was from day one, it changed their entire relationship with him.

We can hardly wait to see what he will do tomorrow. His entire team, parents, teachers, and neighbors are on board to help him achieve his maximum potential. How exciting!    

For more case studies and parenting advice you can purchase Smart Parent/Smart Child on Amazon!    

Friday, July 17, 2015

Why Is My Child Still Crying To Get Her Way? She is Four Years Old!

When Sheryl first started at our daycare she cried for everything. If she could not have her way, if she grabbed someone else’s toy and had to return it, if she wasn’t first in line, if she wanted a certain food that was not on the menu. You name it! Crying was her solution for everything.

When we got to know her over a two year period, we discovered she was an extremely intelligent child. She can already read, has an amazing memory for detail and has advanced play skills.

She definitely has social relationship challenges. She has a tendency to take control of any interactive activity and is very selective in choosing a play mate. She is more likely to tell another child that she does not want to play with them.

It was a huge adjustment for her and it took her a while to realize that at day care she gets “nothing” if she cries to get her way. No exceptions! But she finally got it!

However, even with ongoing conversations with her parents and two conferences on the subject, we are aware that when her parents show up, she often finds some issue to raise that will trigger her ears. “They are late, they don’t have time to go to the park” ect. It is rare that the departure is happy and smooth.

They are now at the point where they want the crying to stop and admit they have messed up by not being committed to implementing our suggestions.

We review our directives with them and remind them that they will only be successful if both parents follow them 100% of the time!

They seem definitely on board so we go over our recommendations together!

-Make sure you are giving her some positive attention so she is not relying on crying to have you acknowledge her.
-Initially, both parents should talk to her so she knows they are in agreement.
-Proposed script- It is important to make a clear statement
“We expect you to use words when you need something or when we are doing/saying something you do not understand or do not agree with. No exceptions. You will get nothing when you cry to get your way. If you cannot control your behavior, you will be sent to the door until you can calm down and take responsibility to speak.”
-Note: You should have a location that is visible to you but that removes her from the social interaction. You may need more than one in your home. Do not send her to her room where she is isolated.
-When she has finally calmed down, she does not get what she originally wanted, simply because she initially cried.
-All items that your child relies on for emotional support should be removed from their bed. “Blankies” should be discarded and stuffed animals can be moved to the toy area. You child needs to develop and rely on inner calming skills. These items often become crutches that prevent your child developing emotionally. This is often a part of the crying pattern because they have not learned responsibility and control on their own.
-The best solution regarding this case study is to begin this approach as soon as your child can walk and has some language skills. When they cry to get their way, reinforce with them that crying is not going to work and give them the words they should have said. It is amazing how quickly they catch on and you are playing a major role in their developmental process, as well as accelerating their vocabulary.
-Reinforce that they can only cry when they are hurt. Children are very resilient. Acknowledge the issue, provide care if necessary and move on.

Do Not
-Consider compensating them for any distress they may show. Remain firm, calm and collected.
-Negotiate or reward.
-Keep defending or explaining your actions.

Correcting this behavior will have a positive effect on everybody’s life! Good Luck!

For more case studies and helpful advice on raising a child you can purchase Smart Parent/Smart Child Here!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Is My Child Not Listening To Me?

Karen is a very committed mother. We have had many conversations regarding her two year old’s behavior. Jonathan is very strong-willed and independent and has been a constant challenge. She understands that these are great characteristics but they need to be managed for positive results. Mostly Karen been successful, but she is totally stymied and frustrated by her inability to have Jonathan listen to her.

In our last conversation she reveals that she just had a five minute mother/son conversation with him. At the end of which she asked him “What are you going to do the next time I ask you to list?” He responded “The opposite!”.

As much as she thought that was a highly intelligent answer, what he is really saying is “I am in charge!”Karen has forgotten about or didn’t register that there are some subjects you do not have a five minute conversation about and listening is one of them.

-Make a clear statement to your child. For example: When I ask/tell you to do something you have to listen!
-Use a stronger tone, without raising your voice or appearing angry.
-Change the cadence- a short space between each word so the message is clear!
-Give them fifteen seconds to decide if they want to listen and if they have not responded repeat the statement exactly the same way. 
-After another fifteen seconds, take their hand and have them complete the request while saying “You have to listen!”
-Be 100% consistent in your requests. Do not change your mind about what you believe is important.

Do not
-Have conversations about listening, there are no options here.
-Request that your child do anything that you don’t mean and will not follow up on.

In my opinion Listening affects your entire relationship with you child. Be strong and Consistent! Good luck! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Why Is It Important That a Child’s Shoes Are The Right Fit With Room To Grow?

Brian is now 14 years old. Sometime between two and three years old he began to walk up on his toes. No one in his family was concerned, they thought it was a phase and he would grow out of it. Unfortunately he didn’t. By the time a new family physician became aware, he immediately recommended an orthopedic specialist and Brian now has casts on both his legs and is in therapy to correct the skeletal issues that have occurred.

There is an opinion that the behavior could have started as a result of shoes that did not fit well and became a lifelong habit.

Does this sound extreme? It does to me, except that we have had children who sporadically would not walk or walked with one foot at a right angle to the other, or cried when we went outside on a warm sunny day when their feet would swell and cause so much discomfort they just stood still or sat down and tried to remove their shoes.  

A child’s Feet are a critical component to the health and shape of the skeletal system!

1.       Take the time, at least once a year, during their first five years, to have an expert measure their feet so they are wearing the correct style and size of shoe. This could also include any need for extra support.
2.       A child’s feet often grow before the rest of their body does. After they have worn a pair of shoes for 6 weeks to two months, check them out! Press one foot (usually the right one is larger) on the outside sole of the shoe as though they are walking. They need at least one finger width space at the toe of the shoe and ½ a finger space on one side.
3.       Have climate appropriate footwear. When your child wears open sandals made of leather or strong synthetics at the beginning of a warm season you may need to include socks, especially if they are being worn for the first few times. This will avoid discomfort and possible skin blisters.
4.       Be aware of how your child is walking. Are they “toeing”? Is their ankle getting enough support? Are they walking as though they are Flat Footed? This might indicate a lower than necessary arch.
5.       Ask yourself if it will be ok if this becomes a permanent walking style as an adult.

Do not
1.       Ever let your child wear second hand shoes. It is almost impossible that your child’s foot shape and body style perfectly match another’s.  Pass on it even if the shoes look hardly worn. Clothing budgets are important and shoes can be expensive.

Watch for sales of acceptable brands, and maybe make an extra effort to save some costs on the rest of their wardrobe so you are not creating a hardship. That’s how important this issue is!

Will your situation ever become as serious as the case study? I seriously doubt it. But beyond that you are always aiming for the best possible circumstances for your child and this is an important one!