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 28, 2015

How To Ensure That Everyone Is Ready For Kindergarten

 “Help! I think two of my friends have made a poor choice of kindergarten for their child. How do I prepare myself and my child for this major step in life?”

Ellen has a four year old daughter, Sheryl, who will be entering kindergarten in one year. She realizes it is just her opinion regarding her friends’ choices but wants to be as prepared as possible when she and her husband make the decision on where to enroll Sheryl.

We share our guidelines with Sheryl’s parents and know they will help them make the best choice.

For The Parents

1. In most communities there are a lot of options: public school, charter school, magnet program and private school.
2. Begin with the guideline of a reasonable (for you) geographic parameter.
2. Go online and gather as much information as possible i.e. what is their mission statement, what do they emphasize as a priority, what are their test results.
3. Once you have narrowed down your choices, I always recommend a personal visit. Ideally you will want to visit the facility during a “normal day”. Do not rely on an “open house event”. It is rare that a better school will not accommodate that request. 
4. If your child is already in daycare, or a pre-k, or attends any structured educational classes, ask the teacher for feedback on their performance profile, social skills and relationships. They may see your child very differently than you do.
5.  Network with friends regarding the school their older children are attending. This effort may just provide a fringe benefit or highlight a major concern. Keep in mind that very few children are exactly alike or have the same needs.
6.  List your priorities and make sure you always follow them.

One of Ellen’s friends had the goal of enrolling their child in a magnet program. However, they turned down an opportunity to have their child attend a high performing school because they were convinced by a co-worker that play dates would be a major drawback because most children don’t reside in the same community. So he is attending a neighborhood school with much less opportunity. 

The second friend has a very creative child who has been in a creative daycare. The parents have selected a very structured kindergarten because it offers a second language that they feel is important.
Both of these situations are adding a new and challenging condition to a big decision. It is completely understandable why Ellen may be questioning the wisdom of their choices.

Try to match the school with what you have already confirmed: your child’s strengths with new challenges.

For the Child

The goal at our daycare is to ensure that each child achieve their maximum potential. We help develop confident, independent, assertive, highly communicative leaders. To achieve those goals with your child:

1. Expect them to show more independence. Set high standards of accomplishment and don’t do anything for them that they have shown they can do or you believe they can do.
2.  Expect a high level of communication. Enhance their vocabulary, enunciation and grammatical skills. We have a simple system to achieve this: we state correctly what they have said incorrectly, and have them repeat it.
3. Expect them to think and come to their own conclusions. You do not want followers. Take advantage of situations that occur normally and discuss what and how they might have handled them differently with better results.
4. Don’t praise everything they do and don’t give rewards for small accomplishments. Raise the standards!
5. Don’t let them always win.
6. Create opportunities prior to kindergarten where they are expected to navigate a new experience. The more you can repeat this in a productive way, the better.
7. Practice social interactive language. “Hi, my name is Sheryl, may I play with you” is such an example. They will be navigating a classroom and a large playground and children are often reluctant to speak up and join a new group because they are unsure of what to say. This is usually where the term shy comes from. Rehearse possible scenarios.
8. You want an independent thinker. Teach them to evaluate situations and make choices.
9. Communicate a completely honest picture of what school is like and what will be expected.

We spend the last full year preparing the children in our daycare for kindergarten. In our case, it is supported with an advanced academic program which gives them an extra level of confidence.
We know every parent wants to do the best thing possible for their child and we trust that these guidelines will help! Good luck!  


Friday, August 14, 2015

Why We Believe That Material “Crutches” Create A Strong Probability of Delaying/Reducing Emotional Maturity

Richard has enrolled in our day care and we learn he constantly carries a “blankie”. On one of his preliminary visits his babysitter comes to pick him up and is shocked that the “blankie” is not here, it is obvious that everyone who is responsible for his care relies on it to keep him quiet.

Richard has already been in another daycare so we clarify for his parents that he cannot have his “blankie” at our daycare. We do not support the “blankie” habit at any age and since he is already two years old, we realize this change will be a challenge.

We go into detail with them regarding our opinion. Since we were highly recommended to them, they decide to trust us and go cold turkey. This involves packing up the “blankie” and having Richard dispose of it in the garbage.

His parents describe him as a mostly non-verbal child who relies on whining and crying to get what he wants. We expect a high communication level as we want the children to express themselves verbally all the time. Our day care is not a quiet place.

His parents are stunned that he stops asking for his “blankie” after two days. Over the next two months, he dramatically increases his verbal skills and begins to display more independence. A short time later, he is no longer crying to get his way.

One night a few weeks later, when his dad picks him up, he shares that he always had a dream that his son would be independent, verbal, assertive and fun to be with.

Somewhat emotionally, he says he feels that he finally has that son.

How could one key change, along with the support components, have made such a difference?

1. When children are given the message that they need a crutch to function, they are not being expected to develop their own inner emotional resources.
2.  This crutch environment does not encourage communication, problem solving, conflict resolution or even expressions of caring. 
3. Because, in many cases, children are often sucking on the “blankie”, it may prevent the timely development of their tongue muscles preparing them for speech.

Often stuffed animals fulfill the same role in a child’s world. They are carried everywhere, slept with, and relied on for emotional comfort. Stuffed animals can be a great toy when they are treated as such, and often a great playmate for imaginary games. They do not belong in the child’s bed and are not a substitute for positive and creative interaction with their parents and other children. They belong on the toy shelf.

Your role as a parent is to prepare your child for a successfully future, not insulate or protect them from it. They will need all the coping tools necessary to survive on their own once they enter the education system.

It is a parent’s role to prepare them! Everyone will be immeasurably rewarded!
Good luck!

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Why Does My Child Lie All The Time? Even When the Issue is Not Important, He Does it Anyway!

Raphael is a super creative child. Both his parents are in very demanding and somewhat unpredictable professions. It is not unusual that he is the last child to be picked up from the daycare and sometimes without notice, the parents send a substitute. He is showing some outward signs of stress: stammering, having difficulty sitting still and focusing, licking all kinds of surfaces, biting his nails etc. The impression we have is that he is not a priority in the family.

We became aware several months ago that he was lying about what we felt were insignificant issues, mostly as it related to creative play which is where he gets most of his attention from his peers.
Last week while he was building with duplos some of the other children were using his favorite novelty pieces. These are printed eyeballs which he uses to make his animals. We noticed that he moved toward the duplo container and instead of building, he seemed to be pushing pieces under the container. When we questioned him, he not only lied about it, but blamed another child when we brought out the evidence.

Follow up conversation elicited a statement that these items were important because they gave him “special attention”.

Ellie is dropped off one morning and her mother shares that she will be picking her up at 2pm to take her to the pediatrician for a shot. The mother requested that we not mention the reason to Ellie because she hates going to the doctor and was told instead that they were spending special time together.

We assure the mother that it was very important that her daughter be told the truth and suggested that she do so before she left.

It was concerning that she was reluctant to do so because Ellie would get upset. We convince the mother that it was much more likely that Ellie would be less upset now than later and her mother would be having a credible moment.

With some resistance she followed our suggestion and found that Ellie was not nearly upset as she expected.

So why do children lie? How can you prevent this?

1. Very often as in Raphael’s case, to get attention. He was relying on his strong creative skills to fill the neglect void he felt.
2. They also lie by accident. If parents are not really paying attention to their children and questioning any circumstance or statement that does not seem reasonable, the child may fall into a pattern of lying because their behavior is not questioned.
3. They also lie by example. Ellie would obviously find out that her mother had lied to her about why she was being picked up early. Many parents think it has no effect on their child when they tell a lie and in fact it does.
4. You child is less likely to lie if you have an agreement that no matter the circumstances, if your child tells the truth they will not be in trouble! There may be repercussions for the actions such as cleaning up the mess BUT under no circumstances should your child be punished for telling the truth.
5. Be the unwavering constant example. Make it clear that you never lie no matter what.
6. Make them aware of public figures, acquaintances, students or friends who are caught lying and had a serious consequence follow.
7. Every incident should be a teaching moment. In Raphael’s case, he lost the privilege of playing with the novelty eye ball duplos for one month. He had not only lied that he hid them, but he accused another child. He often commented after the incident referring to the consequences. To our knowledge he has not done anything similar again.

Like all other challenges, be 100% consistent! Good luck!