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, October 30, 2015

How Did We Figure Out Why Bryan, Our Happy Eighteen Month Old Was Suddenly Having Uncontrollable Tantrums?

From the time we shared Bryan’s story in an earlier blog (which you can read here), we were determined to help our independent, self-assured and confident child deal more effectively with whatever conditions were so strong that he was unable to control his reactions.

Bryan is still limited verbally, he says about 20 words, enunciating clearly, but cannot express himself when he is upset. This made resolution particularly challenging.

We knew there was probably going to be more than one factor, but we were hoping to figure out what the main one was.

After a full week at day care and two weekends at home, a significant pattern emerged. One day at 10:25 am, he left his playtime activity and went to get a chair from one of the tables and take it to the area where morning snack is served.

I reminded him that snack would not be for another five minutes, so could he please return the chair.

He not only refused to comply but, surprisingly, threw the chair. This action was repeated three times.  At each occurrence, he was more upset and by this time, he was screaming and crying.

We took a moment to realize that almost all his tantrums had to do with food, particularly the lack of it.

1. He was particularly vulnerable at outside playtime prior to lunch.
2. He was often upset prior to snack time.
3. He would sometimes have a tantrum if we expected him to put on his socks and shoes and have his diaper changed after nap before he had a drink of milk.

We knew he was getting healthy, nutritious food at home and at daycare so the problem was probably quantity.


1. We reviewed his breakfast menu and recommended that it be doubled.
2. We doubled his morning snack so he could maintain his energy through playtime before lunch.
3. He always was a big lunch eater, but we increased the amount of protein he was getting. We have always provided seconds when requested and continued to do so.

Pay attention to the circumstances that occur prior to a meltdown and determine if there is a pattern. We were fortunate that this became so obvious and was a relatively easy fix.

Do Not

1. Assume you have addressed all the behavioral issues that occur as your child is trying to figure out how to best survive in life.
2. Forge that they are progressing at a rapid rate physically, emotionally and intellectually. Stay tuned in.

This solution has solved 90% of the tantrum issue. There are still moments when he does not want to listen, wants his own way, or shows signs of fatigue and lack of emotional control.

We are still tuned in to him to also help him resolve all of the above situations in a positive, productive way.

Good luck!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Why Do So Many Parents Label Their Child Shy?

One of my assistants attends a child friendly event with her son Bryan and encounter Philip, a former member of our day care.

The event is designed to be very interactive and she notices that Philip is not leaving his mother’s side. When, upon her suggestion, Bryan approaches Philip and asks him to play together, the mother says “oh, he is too shy”. Philip immediately holds on to her leg.

We had always noted that Philip’s behavior at our day care was very different than the behavior we saw when his parent were present. Not only did he not communicate with the same confidence, but often suddenly showed signs of distress. Like many children, he behaved in a manner that he believed pleased them. They were often in a state of anxiety that any situation could suddenly upset him. He was often rewarded for being insecure and incapable of showing his mature side.

A parent’s role is to ensure that their child is encouraged to be confident and self-reliant and also to give them the necessary skills and directives to be a skilled social being.

So let’s talk about how you achieve that!


1. From the beginning, expect them to greet people and make a parting statement in every appropriate situation once they have the verbal skills to do so. Be patient and let them know that displaying good social skills is important to you.

2. Inform them every time they experience a new situation like going to the doctor, to the park, shopping with you, on a play-date, what to expect, what their role is, and what they need to communicate. Assure them if the situation is not what you expected i.e. they are scheduled for a shot that you forget to mention , the venue is much larger than you thought, there are more people than you expected, their friend did not show up. Talk about it and turn it into an opportunity.“We could meet someone new today that we will really enjoy" or "you will be brave at the doctor’s office and if it hurts a little, you can cry but you will be okay."

3. Encourage them to believe in themselves.  Always give them the appropriate language skills and support them even if it takes then awhile to speak.

4. Expect them to go off and play with their friends, encourage adventure!

5. Acknowledge their successes when they are able to cope with new and unexpected situations.

6. Understand that some children may have a quieter nature, but know that they still have to be socially skilled. A quieter style does not mean they are shy.

7. Give them an assignment whenever possible, especially in a new situation. For example “Hand out the napkins at the party table”.

Do Not

1. Give them the message that at every step of their life they need you to function.

2. Allow them to hang on to you when they are safely mobile and in a safe environment.

3. Speak for them. When someone asks them their name, let them answer. Make sure you have practiced this with them and help them be comfortable with answering questions.

4. Label them shy or anything similar. It sicks. I have parents say “well that what I was when I was young”.  I encourage you to break that trend if this is the case.

5. Do not make up excuses because your child is not communicating confidently. If you feel you have to say something say “We are really working on their social skills, and like most things, we still need practice.”

Understand you are preparing your child to be a confident, successful human being that you are preparing to be able to cope with the world!

Do not burden them with labels!

Good luck!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Why Do All The Parents (Well, 99%) Describe The Task of Diaper Changing as “traumatic, a battle, a screaming scene, a chase around the room after their child”?

Diaper changing is a task parents will have to do for an average of five times a day, probably for two years. It is in everyone’s best interest to make it a pleasant and uneventful experience.

Predictably, when parents come to the daycare and we are diaper changing while the child involved is happy, talking and patient, the parents’ comment is always some form of “How do you do that?!”

Here is the secret!


1. From the beginning, you want to be telling your child what is going to happen and what to expect. They will become comfortable with the sound of your words and the calmness of your voice. At some point, probably for unrelated reasons, they may show distress. They could be tired, hungry, teething ect. Do not change your approach. Keep talking and assure them that it will soon be completed and they have to help you by being calm.

2. As soon as you determine you will be changing their diaper, tell them that.

3. Once they are crawling, teach them to crawl to you. This may take several tries but do not give up. This will not only give them time to connect to the task, but also a role in it.

4. Somewhere near their first birthday they will be less comfortable on a changing table partly because you have to pick them up to place them on the table. This causes them to associate it with being a “baby”. They  will feel that they have less control because they are moving forward out of the baby stage.

5. Change all diapers on the floor where they are most at ease (after their first birthday or so). You can use a protective pad or the new clean diaper as a protector. They are already exposed and comfortable with the floor so it is a much easier location.

6. Still expect them to come to you since they are now probably walking. Be patient. It might take them a minute or so after you have informed them to leave what they are doing. If you think they are stalling, then that is mostly a listening issue. Address that and not the diaper changing routine.

Do Not

1. Suddenly pick them up with no warming, put them on their back (which is probably not where they want to be) and start the diaper changing task. You are probably not going to get a great reaction. Just think how out of control that must feel to them.

2. Give them a toy to play with. This is a task, not a game. They do not need to be entertained all the time.

3. Give up. You are teaching you child invaluable skills of listening, responsibility and partnership.

Good luck!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why Would An Eighteen Month Old Child Suddenly Start Having Tantrums?

Bryan is a terrific child. He is full of energy, constantly learning new play skills, and even sometimes expecting to display skills that he is not tall enough/advanced enough for i.e. pedaling a bigger tricycle or doing a more complex puzzle. He has been easy to satisfy by diverting him to something that is more challenging, but still possible with some practice.

He arrives at our day care one morning with an exhausted mother having just had a fifteen minute tantrum, not only for the first time, but for a reason she cannot figure out.

We hear on the following Monday that the previous weekend was the most challenging ever for the parents: with tantrums at meal time, play time and bed time. They feel that the situation will be out of control soon if they do not take action.

Bryan’s parents are very wise to seek advice. Everyone talks about the “Terrible Twos”, but in fact whatever behaviors and expectations that are a problem at two actually started much sooner and were not resolved. In most cases they probably began before eighteen months.

Most parents do not believe children can understand and correct behavior at an early age. Most children are frustrated and angry because they are not being listened to and their needs are not being met. The result is that by two years old both sides are dealing mostly with frustration and unresolved issues.

1. Pay very close attention to identify what conditions are triggering the tantrum.

2. Tell your child what is going to happen and what behavior you expect from them.

3. Once they become verbal, tell them what they should have said and have them repeat it. This will dramatically reduce their frustration and reinforce the message that they should resolve issues verbally.

4. Begin at  appropriate stages after their first birthday to edit their toys, books, and activities so they are challenging and stimulating.

5. Consider that by at least 18 months their high chair should be adjusted so they can join the family at the table with unbreakable versions of the family tableware.

6. Assign your child some personal and family tasks.

7. Recognize that by the time you figure out one developmental stage, your child is already ready to move on to the next one.

8.Look back on earlier blogs here to help you through other daily challenges.

Do not
1.Underestimate what your child can understand and the level of their intelligence.

2.Allow your child to have their way when they have a tantrum.

3. Underestimate your role in establishing clear guidelines, boundaries and well defined values and expectations.

Good Luck!