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!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thanks For a Great 2016!

Thanks for allowing me to participate in your most important responsibility- being a parent! Every comment was important to me, and not surprisingly, you responded more strongly to advice that you could put into action!

Have a great holiday and we will be back 2017!

Good luck! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

What to consider when you are making a lifestyle change.

Stop!!! If you are considering a more demanding job opportunity, a plan to enhance your career opportunity, or any change that will negatively impact your child’s care, make sure their needs are the priority factor in your decision!

Tracy graduated from our daycare two years ago. During her last two years with us, her care became extremely unpredictable. Her dad was already in a stressful, unpredictable profession, and her mom had made the choice to further enhance her current position by returning to academia to earn a master’s degree in her field.

This decision was extremely demanding on her time and often left her scrambling to persuade someone to pick up Tracy from daycare.

We were very concerned, and became involved in their plan for Tracy once she would be in kindergarten. The issues were the predictability and quality of her after school care.

Our initial suggestion was to have a university student (there was one nearby) who would be responsible for her pickup, homework assignments, and possibly meal preparation.
Instead of taking that advice, her mom assured us that by changing her own schedule to be more compatible with Tracy’s school schedule everything would work out.

She began calling us for assistance every time the schools were closed and unfortunately we could not always accommodate her.

The kindergarten year was extremely stressful for Tracy and when we saw her, she seemed sad and distracted.

The most disturbing incident was when she attended our holiday get-together. She was the only child present accompanied by a family friend instead of a parent. She behaved in an out of control manner, ignoring the family friend completely and displaying no concern or respect for the other children.

Fortunately she was still listening to us. It was a very sad commentary on how her life had spun out of control, going from a sweet caring child, to a reckless and aggressive seven year old. She comment several times that her parents were too busy to attend the party and that she never came first.

What to consider when you are making a lifestyle change:

Do Not

1. Think that the change will not impact your child.

2. Think that you can figure out her care on an as needed basis.

3. Give your child the message that their needs are not important.


1. Have an in depth discussion as parents whether this lifestyle change is viable considering your current responsibilities.

2. Get input from a child care professional or a teacher before you ever consider such a change.

3. Discuss any change (regardless of its seriousness) with your child prior to its implementation. Like all of us, your child needs to know what is going to happen.

4. Delay increasing your professional responsibilities until your child is older (10+) when they can be more self-sufficient and can communicate their issues.

Remember, being a parent and having responsibility for another human being is the most important job you will ever have and actually live that belief!

Good Luck!

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Importance Of Positive Communication Between Parents in the Presence Of Their Children

Maria is a very bright four and a half year old who is consistently challenged to communicate in a normal voice tone.

She is drawn to games that require loud sound effects (fire trucks, airplanes, police cars, whistles etc.) she also communicates with us and her friends as though she is across the room instead of beside us.

We periodically have talk sessions in the work group about various subjects and today it was about feelings. It is always interesting to observe how our children see their world and today was no exception.

What stood out was when we talked about feeling angry and she stated that she feels angry when her mom and dad scream at each other and call each other mean names.

It was moving and painful to watch how emotional she became when she shared this experience. It explained her tendency to high volume levels in her communication style and also her sensitivity and her overreaction when another child raises their voice to her.

Children are indelibly influenced by the environment in their home, especially as it relates to how their parents interact. When there is conflict between their mom and dad, a child tends to believe that they, the child, is somehow responsible. Many times they perceive their parents’ behavior as normal since it is their constant environment.

If this is your situation, it may mean a major commitment to a life changing style. If so, it is important that you consider and hopefully follow the following guidelines.

Do Not

1. Discuss issues that require involved and possibly sensitive comments when your children are present. They may be in another room in your home (or even asleep you think) but believe and know they can hear you.

2. Disrespect the other parent verbally or by actions. That is not only scary to your child, but it can also deliver a message that this is an acceptable style for them to copy.

3. Use a loud forceful tone when communicating in their presence. It is not only alarming, but in Maria’s case it was what she came to consider normal.


1. Consider that you are you child’s role model and source of survival. Every action you take has an impact on them.

2. Show respect for your partner and your child at all times.

3. Draw on all resources you have (even professional help) to ensure your child’s life is as safe and secure as possible.

Be calm! Good Luck!

Friday, December 2, 2016

“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike” –Maya Angelou

The holiday season is usually a time when everyone taps into their generous nature, displays better understanding, kinder communication, and an overall feeling of love.

However this year when everyone is usually celebrating we are seeing a major shift in our country where we are being challenged by a life altering threat to our children.

We are hearing from the parents who are directly involved in the school system, that following the results of the recent election, most classes came to a standstill so children could share their experiences and circumstances.

They were emotionally distraught and seeking some reassurance and support that the threats they were hearing would never happen.

Thousands of our children are now living in fear that they will be separated from their families, possibly taken from the only country they have ever known and have all hope of a better future taken from them.

Each of these “at risk” children are “our” children. We have forever been united in our country’s desire and commitment for a better life for all of our children.

This is one of the critical areas where we are alike and we have to take all the steps necessary to ensure that they children are never denied a right they deserve.

As parents, we need to take an active role to support these children in every way possible and to get this message to everyone who may be instrumental in a positive solution.

Whatever happens to each of these children happens to all of us.

This must be the challenge where we are more alike in our desire to achieve positive results!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Success Parents Achieve When Values and Behavior Standards Are Clearly Communicated and Positive Results Are Expected 100% Of The Time!

Sam and Darya are constantly expressing frustration with their son Damon. He is consistently breaking rules, ignoring their requests, crying to get his way, stalling, and controlling the entire food process. In the final case, requesting something special and then not eating it or disliking most of the food being served or playing with it.

His latest tactic is to hit them when he is angry or displeased with what they are expecting.

They are at their wit’s end and request an evaluation.

I suggest spending an afternoon together at their home so I can assess the situation and provide some guidelines.

Within an hour, I can tell what many of the issues are, but I decide to “Tough it out” for the entire afternoon so I can better determine what he might be doing just for my benefit versus what is close to the norm in their relationship.

It is clear, almost from the beginning that Sam and Darya are inconsistent, unclear, lack agreement, bribe, give Damon too much power, undermine each other and generally are allowing Damon to run the show.

The parents and I have a meeting the following day. Initially we review our time together and they begin to acknowledge that they have never really understood and agreed on their role and what they expect from Damon. Somehow they felt it was not going to be that hard to raise a child and they would figure things out as they occurred.

I reminded them that parenting is the most important and demanding role a person can have. They were both successful in their professional careers and thought it would be easy to handle this.

I made them aware that they had committed years of their lives to being educated for success in their chosen profession, but not one minute to be educated to be a successful parent.

Their first assignment was to define the values and behavior standards that they wanted for Damon. 

They had to commit to whatever time and follow-up sessions necessary with me until they were in agreement.

Following that, we met to list those areas they agreed on and have further discussions until their disagreements were resolved.

They finally agreed on:

Values of:

Behavior Standards in:
-Self confidence

They agreed to:

-Never contradict each other in front of Damon.

-Whichever parent initiated a correction, completed it without interference.

-Never say anything they did not mean.

-Always follow up on what they request or expect.

-Never make a  promise if they were unsure they could keep it.

-Always be open to listening, no matter what was being said.

-Always tell the truth and communicate pertinent information.
-Respect their intelligence.

-Always be on the same page. From your child’s perspective they have two bosses. How would you feel if you reported to two superiors who did not agree and never rewarded or reprimanded for the same time?

I often think a reasonable comparison is to evaluate what your needs are in a meaningful relationship and realize that this is your most important relationship ever!

It has now been three months since we initiated this plan and Sam and Darya are amazed at the change in Damon.

They are still challenged at times to remain on track, but they are seeing measurable changes and rewards for everyone.

He has stopped hitting, mealtimes have now become pleasant and a time they look forward to.

Everything is still not a habit and they have to stop themselves from speaking without thinking but it is getting easier and way more enjoyable.

New challenges will come up as Damon grows and tries to push some more boundaries. But they trust themselves more and know I am always available for a refresher and update.

This relationship is the most important one they will ever have, which is true for every parent.

Good luck!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tattling! The Challenge Of Managing This Natural Behavior For Positive Results!

Susan is a sweet, bright child who has accelerated the habit of tattling on her friends. Because she believes this habit brings attention her way, she has expanded the use of the technique.

It now includes what she perceives as breaking the rules by one of her friends, even though she is not involved in the process. She also has become skilled at remembering all the days’ incidents and reporting them at home.

This last situation is really concerning because her report is often exaggerated or incorrect and we usually don’t hear about it until it is too late to make a correction.

It is a very common tendency to tattle because it often gives the tattler power and attention. Usually they discover this reward by accident but are pleased by it.

The most common reactions to the tattler by the other children in the group (such as our daycare) are anger, resentment, and often isolation of the tattler.

The reaction at home is often complete trust and belief that what they are hearing is 100% correct and the child can be given sympathy and support tat may not be justified. This seem to only accelerate the tattlers behavior.

This is how we handle this situation at our daycare.

-Children can only report what has happened to them personally.

-Then they are totally supported.

-The only time they may report on someone else is when that person was physically or verbally hurt and they are not verbally skilled.

-If the incident happened to a child who is still not verbally skilled, we will verify with another child who was close to the incident.

-No one can report on an incident that occurred between two verbal children.

-If the report is confusing with no evidence then we may inquire an observer.

For Parents

-When you child is reporting that they are being mistreated at daycare, the first action should be to talk to the teacher.

-When you are inquiring about your child’s day at daycare, stay focused on that. Tell your child you do not want a report on anyone else.

-When your child is repeatedly reporting the same child causing the problem, you should inquire what action is being taken to correct the aggressive behavior.

-If there are any offenses by your child it is a kind and thoughtful gesture to apologize to the other child’s parents.

-If you notice at social events such as birthday parties that you child is being ignored or isolated, this could mean they are seen as a tattle and are not welcome to participate.

-You want to be supportive of your child but be cautious about your reaction and the amount of attention your child is getting or demanding from this. This behavior could be triggered by the need for attention.

This is a challenging situation for all parents, whether your child is on the cause or effect side.

Make sure you are getting all the information and be clear that your goal is to resolve the problem on both sides.

This tendency can easily become a permanent habit that will negatively affect your child’s relationships!

Keep a balanced approach!

Good luck!  

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Traveling Without The Children? We Have The Best Plan To Ensure Positive Results For Everyone!

Edward and Carol have never left their children before. They are hoping to attend a business conference in Europe, since they own their own company and do an extensive amount of business in the countries they will be visiting, they feel the trip will be an advantage for them both personally and business wise.

Currently, Edward has been traveling but this would be the first time both parents would be leaving their children.

They feel anxious, excited and guilty about going away and want to be as certain as possible that the trip will be a positive experience for everyone.

We shared our guidelines that not only worked well for our families, but also left everyone feeling good about the decision.

1. Only leave your children with a responsible caregiver that they know really well and that you feel sincerely cares about them.

2. Have them cared for in their own home.

3. Have all behavior expectations and rules posted and clearly understood.

4. Discuss any activities that they caregiver is planning. Make sure they are appropriate and planed for approved times.

5. Ensure that no one else is in the home that you have not OKed

6. Make a calendar with the locations of your trip for each day.

7. Select some highlights you have planned for yourselves so they will be connected to you at all times.

8. Share some information about your location and activities that really connect to pre-travel conversations.

9. Roleplay before you leave so they are expecting some questions from you. This area can be tricky. Since if you just ask a general question like “what are you doing today?” they may not know the answer, nor have any idea what you expect.

10. Give them some age appropriate responsibilities so they will feel important.

Do Not

1. Get too emotional. This can be very disturbing for your children. Keep it warm, friendly and caring.

2. Show distress. If there has been some incident or injury, tell them you trust the caregiver.
Well planned travel can be a wonderful advantage! The key is to make it work for everyone!

Good luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Babies Won’t Listen To Just Any Babble!

The title from this blog is the headline from an article that appeared in the L.A. Times. 

I can’t express how overjoyed and proud I felt when I read this headline and the accompanying article.

I have believed from the time I had my own children that children were intelligent from birth and that they responded to my voice and its message instantly.

I watched this interest and connection expand and explode as each child grew and became more articulate. At that time I suspected, but was unsure, that this apparent phenomenon was true of all children.

I have now been a daycare provider for twenty three years and have proven to myself that it is true for all children. We had great success with every child who joined us, but the best success and reward was with children who came to the daycare at a very young age.

We often began caring for three month old infants and we were constantly amazed at the comprehension level and early verbal skills.

I am particularly excited that the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” concluded that infants did not respond to babble. In the experiment, a second language was used as a control, which I personally feel baby talk also falls into the control category. Instead of responding to the babble, the children in the study responded to the correct language they had been hearing that sounded like their current experience.

Those researchers already knew that infants respond to learning something new, and in fact, their brain wave activity bore a surprising resemblance to that of adults primed for important incoming information.

They also concluded that well before a baby begins speaking their native tongue, their in born drive for information makes them a discriminating judge of who is worth listening to.

When we wrote our book Smart Parent Smart Child, we emphasized our own experience and success of communicating with children from birth about everything we expected and what was happening.

The book was written ten years ago when our philosophy was termed “revolutionary”, I hope that now it will go mainstream.

Know that you  are your child’s invaluable teacher and revel in the fact that they are coming to you for even more information and a language they are already hearing correctly spoke.


-Speak in clear and concise sentences.

-Repeat information and directives as needed and give them time to react and respond.

-Respect their intelligence and ability at all times.

Maximize their potential and enjoy it!!!

Good luck!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Career And Parenting! How Do We Balance It?

“I have already taken on an upper management position and now my husband has been offered a chance to open his own business which we know will be very demanding, how do we handle this?”

I shared the following case study with these parents.

Bernice graduated three years ago, like all children she benefited from being in our daycare, but the strongest influence in her life was her parents. When she first joined our daycare, I thought of them as being almost ideal.
-They were always on the same page.

-They gave clear directives.

-They followed up on what they said.

-They spent their non-working time with Bernice exposing her to creative, educational, social and fun experiences.

Then both parents changed careers at the same time. These career were more demanding in every possible way: time commitment, challenges, availability and stress.

Without realizing it, they were communicating with each other while at home almost exclusively about their work conditions and challenges and only focused on Bernice’s world when she acted out, i.e. breaking rules, not listening, playing at mealtime, stalling bedtime.

One incident stands out in my mind. Her dad came to pick her up and changed his initial request to her five times until he arrived at a version she approved of. Then he congratulated her on being such a good listener.

He was  now settling for whatever worked so he could get home to complete a follow-up assignment.

He had easily given up his role as a guiding parent.

She was still at our daycare for two more years and at the time she graduated, we were witnessing a major change in who she was and her relationship with her parents.

Do children change over such a long period? Of course. But, they should not lose their core values, their self-confidence and their important guiding relationship with their parents.

She was no longer their priority. The amount of time they spent together was reduced to a bare minimum. She was neglected, was constantly pushing her boundaries to the extreme and displayed both physical and verbal signs of aggression.

She was still loving and sweet on occasion, but no longer the confident, outgoing, high performing child she had been.

The parents who raised this question understood the impact their decision could have on their family and decided that the best solution for them was for the dad to postpone the launch of his own business for a few years. This ensured that one parent was always available for their children. He felt confident that an opportunity would open up for him again in the future.

We are also working with another family right now who have taken on a major career change and are being challenged to make this all work for their daughter. They have finally found a really reliable baby sitter to provide care for their daughter, but are still witnessing behavior changes that are not positive.

Their present plan is to figure out how they can work out a better schedule so they are no relying on the sitter so much and spending some additional time together before the situation gets out of hand.
Our families all consist of two working parents. Under those circumstances, being committed and effective parents is already a challenge.

In our experience, having only one parent with a demanding high powered position that includes long hours and travel and the other parent hopefully with some schedule flexibility and less pressure in their workplace is less stressful and more realistically successful. It usually allows for more direct parent/child time.

A nanny/babysitter, even when great, is no substitute for the parent’s involvement. For their best well-being they need time and involvement with their parent.

Do everything you can not to shortchange them!

Good Luck!

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Challenges And Solutions For Sugar High Time: October 31st to January 2nd

We have always played a major role in educating our families about the negative impact of refined sugar in a child’s diet.

Our commitment is to keep it to a minimum in terms of our food offerings and to transfer that approach to their daily lives.

On a year round ongoing basis, your child needs to know that sugar is not good for their health. 

Never reward them with a sugar item, instead choose something healthy, creative or educational.

Unfortunately, in our culture with associate sugar items as rewards.

The best way to ensure the best results is for you, as parents, to set an example for them.

Even when you have this approach, the holiday season is a challenge, particularly starting with Halloween and the ongoing party season.

Some of these strategies have provided the best results:

1. No sugar treats at all obviously is ideal, and committed parents are successful at achieving that result.

2.  For those families to want to do the right thing while allowing some flexibility, one way is to allow your child to have one candy of their choice each day for one week after Halloween and then discard the rest.

3. Count how many treats they have collected and give them a small financial compensation for each so they can purchase an education or creative item with the proceeds. You could also allow them to donate it to charity, or even put said funds in a savings account.

4. This might be a good opportunity to teach them how to read an ingredient label so they better understand what they are putting into their system.

**Remember, the tone for the holiday season will be set by how you handle Halloween!

5. Do apply very clear restrictions to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and any major holidays that are part of your culture. This also includes holiday parties.

6. A conversation should occur prior to each of these events. Be consistent and firm about your plans and the season will be positively manageable.

7. Make sure your child has nutritional meals and plenty of sleep!

Set a good example! Let your children see that you are also carefully managing your own diet. This is the best example!

Good luck!

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Sippee Cup? The Case For Taking Them Off The Market!

Last weekend I felt it was time to purchase some new cups for my daycare. I always select a solid cup in multiple colors so that each child has a designated cup in a selected color.

The last time I went on this search I found it challenging since this seems to no longer be a popular item. However what I found when I came to the kitchenware section of an extremely popular store was that not only did they have 0 of the style I was looking for, but instead had 40 choices of sippee cups! Some had a permanent straw instead but most had some form of an extended spout with a single or multi-hole tip.

I have forever banned these cups from my daycare and have explained to all my parents the reasons behind my decision. I now realize that the market is so saturated with this style that an option is hard to find.

Why I do not approve of sippee cups:

1. The name itself is a distortion of the English language. Also, unless you are a professional wine taster, you do not sup liquid, you drink it.

2.These cups were with 8 oz or larger.

What do they get filled with?

Water- the campaign to convince everyone to drink eight 8oz cups of water per day was created by two of the major soft drink companies who had each purchased a water bottling company. They saw this as a new market for them and wished to expand it.

Is water necessary? Yes, but it should be in proportion to a person’s body weight. These containers were large enough to accommodate a child going on a safari.

Juice- Children can have some juice during the day. Very importantly, the amount needs to be balanced by the amount of fruit they might consume during the day. Many bottled juices also contain added sugar. At any given time, they should not have more than 3 to 4oz twice a day.

Milk- It is unusual that these containers are used for milk, but if they are, remember milk is a food and large quantities close to meal times can have a negative impact on the amount of solid food they may consume. I keep remembering a parent who was complaining that her son was not eating his dinner and then I discovered she was giving him 8oz of milk prior to his meal.

Other factors

-The continued sucking activity on sippee cups. One of the reasons children should no longer take a bottle or be nursed after a certain point is because their tongue muscles need to develop for speech. Continuing to engage in a sucking motion on an ongoing basis could lead to a speech impediment.

-Excessive amount of liquid as a regular diet can dramatically reduce the child’s interest in food that must be chewed. The body may also become deficient in the adequate amount of solid food for the best nutritional benefits for development and growth.

-There should be an assigned location in the home where the child is expected to be when they need a drink. This will keep any spillage accidents to a minimum as well as control the quantity of liquid intake.

-For the trips to the park or any outside activity, take a small regular water bottle. There will be plenty for the average excursion and can be easily handled by a child.

The positive of sippee cups? NONE!

General information:

1. We introduced our children to a regular small cup (5oz) as early as nine months. We usually start with water and then add their formula, breast milk or whole milk as they are getting closer to discontinuing the bottle or being nursed.

2. I have also noticed a major change in the food offering for children at some stores. Mixed food are being pureed and presented in pouch like containers with spouts so children can ingest them but just sucking.

3. I am all for the conveniences and progress, but not at the expense of our children’s health and family relationships as one of the most bonding experiences is sharing food together. Who knows what the trend may also be doing to their digestive systems.

4. Getting back to the beginning, the good news is that I found those cups online, primarily at kitchenware sites. So you can be doing the right thing without leaving your home.

I know this approach may be a major change for you and your family, it is one of the first steps to your child becoming more skilled and confidant.

I know for certain it is the right thing to do!

Good luck!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Freedom Of Movement! An Important Key To Your Child’s Development!

Barry was an alert, skilled eleven month old when he joined our daycare. We realized immediately that he was a making no effort to pull himself up in his playard, had no crawling ability and in fact, resisted putting his feet on the floor.

This was extremely puzzling, since we have found that in the majority of cases, an infant will learn these skills without adult assistance and often before the parent realizes they are capable of these accomplishments. For the most part, these skills are self taught.

We requested details of his experiences to date and discovered that he had been:

-Kept in a sleep bag for both nap and night times until he was nine months.

-Had very little “bellytime” during awake hours.

-Sleeping on his back for all sleep times.

-Often in a car seat and if he fell asleep, remained there for his full nap time.

-Never encouraged to be independently mobile.

Since his health was great and he had no physical ailments including his bone development, it was clear that his delay was the result of his environment.

After one month, he was already crawling forward and backward, doing the “buttshuffle” and working hard toward accomplishing his crawling efforts with his arms and thighs extended.

Obviously, with a lot of effort and practice he is going to catch up, because we are all now making his path to success a priority. But what should have occurred naturally is now a lot of work for everyone and may have led to serious problems if we had not become involved.

Here are our suggestions that will allow development to occur naturally.

1. We are committed to having our children sleep on their belly from birth or at least three month of age. Please refer to guidelines on this from the CDC.

2. Whether you choose to have your child sleep on their back or stomach, do not use confining clothing. Make sure their sleepwear is loose enough for movement. A traditional pajama will provide warmth and ease of movement.

3. If your child is sleeping on their back then awake time should be on their belly.

4. Set the mattress low enough that the child can pull themselves up to the top bar in the crib and be safe.  

5. Usually once they can turn over on their own, many parents move them to belly sleeping. It is a sounder sleep, more developmentally beneficial and often reduces the child’s habit of playing in their bed.

6. During awake time, once they can sit up on their own, a playard will be safe and easily managed environment allowing your child to pull themselves up and develop/reinforce their leg muscles. It is also a safe area for their first steps as well as ongoing practice.

7. Time in a car seat, stroller, swing, bouncy chair, should be kept to a minimum.

When children are provided with the most supportive and beneficial first year their physical development is usually an effortless success!

Good luck!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Responsibility And Pride Of Teaching Our Children The Correct Use Of The English Language!

Amelia is almost two. She has been at our day care for one year, has a vocabulary of probably one hundred words. She frequently speaks in sentences or at least phrases.

Several weeks ago I was going through an animal book with her that unintentionally turned into an affirmation of a typical child’s verbal skills that reflect how they are spoken to and taught. She was enunciating every word I said: hippopotamus, boa constrictor, orangutan, white rhinoceros and flamingo.

I head read this book with her before, but this was the first time she began repeating every word.

It occurred to me once more as this was happening that because we have always communicated with all our child in grammatically correct and clearly enunciated sentences, that they are also capable of learning to do so at a very young age.

Years ago when my children were growing up, I recall reading about a theory, espoused by a child development professional, that a child would be more successful enunciating the English language if the IE was added to it.

Unfortunately this theory also fit with the general emphasis that our culture places on the baby stage. We typically hear potential parents say they would love to have a baby rather than using the world child or family. "Baby" is only one year of a person’s life out of possible 82 plus years!

At the time I found this opinion very puzzling, since my own children were at a young age when they became mostly fluent in English.

Now that I have had twenty three years of experience teaching language skills to hundreds of children at various stages of learning, I am positively convinced that this theory has absolutely no merit.

Unfortunately the habit has become so accepted that the majority of parents and the general adult population use this approach when communicating with all children. For example: dog, horse and cut/bruise/scrape are never used, what we hear is doggie, horsie and boo boo. The last one, boo boo, is of course a made up word supporting the baby culture. When any child joins our day care and is already somewhat verbal we are always shocked that they have no idea what cut, bruise or scrape even mean.

I find this circumstance disrespectful of a child’s intelligence and a strong reflection of our prioritizing of baby culture.

It is rare that you hear people say that they are planning and hoping to have a child or a family or children. Instead the common statement is “I really want to have a baby.”

Considering that the baby stage is only one year, this emphasis is often a barrier to any child achieving their maximum potential, socially, emotionally and academically. It also may interfere with their assertiveness and self-confidence.

Fortunately for many children, including those in our care, they are being treated like intelligent, responsible people and enjoy a full mature life because of that!

Thanks for letting me share one of my deepest beliefs with you!

Good luck!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Professional Therapy! It Is Not An Embarrassment – It Is a Wise Decision!

Raising children has always been the most important and challenging responsibility!

We have established a relationship with our parents that involves daily updates, effective directives to gain positive results when any behavior needs improvement, and if appropriate, counseling sessions with both parents.

We have had ongoing improvements and mostly excellent results with this approach. However, for certain situations, the process has demanded more time and in some cases, more knowledge than we have.

In these cases, we recommend family therapy with a practicing psychotherapist who has been wonderfully successfully with several previous families.

Even in this current culture where people seek expert advice for all their personal issues, we have found that to some of our parents this suggestion is a public admission of some level of failure.

In some cases, it has taken a lot of persuasion and in others the parents resisted until the behavior accelerated and the child was transferred to a special needs daycare. In one instance, he situation exploded with the child and parent while they were at our daycare. The parents then realized the child’s behavior was out of control and a sibling’s safety was at risk.

There is no embarrassment! Like all other problems in life, situations that have negative components always become more serious and sever when neglected!

Taking positive corrective action at the beginning is always the best solution! Your only concern is doing the best thing for your child and family! It is never what anyone else thinks!

Good luck!

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Importance Of Preparing Everyone Involved For A Major Change!

We recently shared the excitement and joy of our recent graduation. We are continuing to see how these children are adjusting to their new environment, responsibilities and new friendships as they happen.

The impact this major event would have on their younger siblings was somewhat underplayed. The parents were surprised and unprepared for the emotional reaction that occurred on the actual graduation day and continued for several days after.

Several factors come in to play from the siblings’ perspective.

-The room is decorated and the graduates are wearing special celebratory clothing.

-The parents are present in the middle of the day and then leave to go back to work.

-All the attention is on the older child with no defined role for them.

-Younger siblings often see themselves as benefiting from all family events and in this once instance are unquestionably excluded.

We have found taking the following approach has had the best results in helping them make a positive adjustment!

1. Describe in some detail what the classroom will look like for the event.

2. Ensure they understand that you, the parents, will be present for the celebration and clearly explain that you will be leaving without them. It helps if you are clear on what time you’re returning to pick them up.

3. If possible, have the sibling play a role such as giving the graduate flowers.
If appropriate, coordinate a change involving the younger child that is necessary anyway such as a grow up car seat.

4.Rehearse how the younger child can express their congratulations.

Do Not
1. Treat them like a baby. Holding them, carrying them etc. If they are crying (which is a possibility) it is because they see themselves as not big enough for the occasion. So babying them will not make the situation better.

2. Buy them a gift. It is a maturing experience for a child to realize they cannot be the center of attention at every event.

3. Downplay any of the older child’s accomplishments and pride.

All milestones in any family require planning. You want to have everyone enjoy it based on their role in the event.

Good luck!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Critical Importance Of Family Respect!

Evelyn is almost five. She joined our daycare when she was eighteen months old. She was very excited that she was going to have a new little brother, Mark.

Evelyn and Mark’s relationship was not exactly warm from the beginning, partly because their mom returned to work shortly after Mark was born. She was stretched thin and stressed by her responsibilities. At the time, their Dad was often traveling for work and missed a lot of the early relationship building.

When Mark joined our daycare at eighteen months, it was evident he was an extremely charming child in every way and did not have to work very hard to get all the attention.

The basis of the family’s relationships was not uncommon i.e. children competing for attention, a second child who is much more assertive than the first, and the parents unknowingly and unintentionally giving much more attention to the younger child than the older one.

Finally what began to alarm us was that the parents were always responding to Mark first as he became a screamer and a tantrum manipulator, completely dominating the family dynamic.

Most of the interactive communication in the family involved everyone talking at the same time. In most cases, Evelyn would start the conversation, Mark would talk over her, at the same time the parents would often be responding to Mark and correcting Evelyn.

The parents were constantly being referees, Evelyn was being held accountable all the time and Mark was given too much power.

There was a total lack of role responsibility and personal respect.

Because we have experienced that situation repeatedly, we were able to help these parents correct the destructive family dynamic by providing the following guidelines.

1. Guarantee the same quantity and quality of interaction with each child.

2. Express yourself respectfully at all times and provide similar terminology for the children that is always used with a respectful tone.

3. Think before you speak and be especially sensitive to the older child’s personality needs. They are often very sensitive to the constant competition.

4.Spend time wisely. Have activities with each child that are interesting, rewarding and relevant.

Do Not
1. Every compromise or change direction at the expense of the older child i.e. “It’s time to leave the park now.” The older child starts walking to the car-the younger child begins crying that they want to stay longer- the parent changes the course and says they will stay a little longer, and then when the younger child realizes they have won they want to leave and the parents says it is now time to go. We see some version of this behavior all the time.

2. Allow the younger child to interrupt their sibling’s conversations. They have to wait until the initial communication is complete.

3. Say any words that are psychologically or emotionally hurtful if you have to apologize for it.

Typically a second child has no concept of what life could be like if they were an only child, but the first child remembers it well.

Be caring, fair and sensitive!
Good Luck!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Our Graduation Celebration!

Like all graduations, this one came with very mixed feelings. We are so proud of their accomplishments but are also already feeling some anxiety not having them with us every day.

They are moving on to kindergarten and are confident, skilled, knowledgeable, assertive and best friends. They are also a little sad that they will be in different schools.

If they follow the path of many of our former graduates, they will still be friends in college.

Interestingly, we noticed some measurable social changes this year that may have been happening for a while. Our five year old girls (yes, it was only girls) were already behaving as if they were in middle school. Their primary social activity was to “hang out” and talk. Even when they were encouraged to play a game it would quickly evolve into a conversation that seemed to go on forever.

Their favorite entertainment? Playing beauty parlor which included hair styling, facial care and makeup. They were much more conscious of each other’s wardrobes than I can remember former graduates being.

Socially, they were much more aware than former students. I am sure that this was a progression over the years but this year became their focus.

The exciting part is that all this did not detract from their academic interest and performance. They excelled in reading, critical thinking and even mastered early levels of grammatical structure.

Every year these wonderful children amaze me!

We will really miss them, but we are so proud!


Friday, August 5, 2016

The challenge of toilet training a strong willed, independent twenty month old!

Krista joined our daycare when she was twelve months old. We realized after several months that she was not only intelligent, but also opinionated, highly skilled, and extremely independent.

She fit right in with our philosophy and thrived in our environment. Our approach worked easily and effectively with her, so we were not completely surprised when at eighteen months, she began resisting having her diaper changed.

We suggested that if she did not like to have her diaper changed, then she was going to have to use the toilet.

After a few days of this ongoing interaction, she arrived one day, walked into the bathroom, moved the stool in front of the toilet, climbed up and tried to take her diaper off. We worked out the logistics with her and began our training.

The challenge with her was acknowledging she needed to be in control, rather than our usual process of taking our training child to the bathroom on a schedule of timed intervals.

She was able to hold her pee much longer than most children in training, so we found ourselves being very anxious that she would have accidents.

If anything, she often sat on the toilet for twenty to thirty minutes before completing her bathroom task.

Periodically, we found ourselves doubting she could last so long between trips to the bathroom. It was hard to back off and let her be in control.

She continued to be in a diaper for her night bedtime, but never had an accident during naptime and was doing her bowel movements in the toilet by the third day.

Fortunately, we have had several children over the years like Krista, both boys and girls.

The keys to our success with children were:

1. Really respecting what we already know about their personality type and believing it would transfer successfully to one of the most demanding and mature responsibilities a young child has.

2. Creating an environment where they have clear guidelines and expectations and their strengths are encouraged and supported.

3.Understanding that when a  child is acknowledged as intelligent, you will often be astonished where their abilities will take them.

4. Not letting the fact that they are learning new skills faster than expected interfere with their development.

5. Making whatever adjustments necessary to support them!

Enjoy that challenge every day! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A question on sleep from a mother

A Cynthia Anka Post

This is a Mom writing about her 2 month old son.

We have had a wonky day or two and the result is that he has been sleeping long stretches at night - which is good! - but, during the day, he is awake a lot. Is this how he is transitioning to sleeping through the night?"

Continued: "It all started Thursday night hen he had a super slow long feed. Partially because I think there may have been air in the bottle and no suction so he was not getting any milk. Once he fed and fell asleep, he did sleep 5 hours and 44 minutes."

Yesterday, had a doctor's appointment. Had to wait a long time and he was mostly awake. Did a partial feed. After getting home, he finished the feed and slept for less than an hour. I fed him more and he tried to go back to sleep but couldn't. The whole day was thrown off and he never really slept enough or ate enough to sleep enough and hence the vicious cycle. I tried to space out the feedings so he was hungrier but did not help. It was as if he was fighting sleep. Would close his eyes and doze but be wide awake for no reason. In the evening, he ate 220ml (8+oz) and slept 6 hours and 20 minutes."

The response back to the Mom:

Both having the feed take so long the night before and the doctor appointment threw him off his rhythm. Nothing during the day happens to transition to sleeping thru the night except the increase in ml/oz at the four feeds. Naps and feedings stay the same. For instance, say that he eats 6oz 4x/day, then he will sleep 6-7 hours at night and wake for only one feed ( at 2 months). Should be able to get his rhythm back within a day. When the rhythm is interrupted, he gets overstimulated and overtired and the upside down cycle happens. Was a good idea to try to stretch out the feed. Fatigue will win out hunger and trying to get him to sleep longer will help the rhythm adjust quickly.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Downside Of The Tangible Reward System and The Consequences!

Over the years we have had so many parents who used the instant reward system.

-Mary’s mom gives her a stamp on the tracking board every time she puts her clothes in the hamper, picks up her toys, does not cry when brushing her teeth, stays in her bed etc. When the designated space on the board is filled in, she can purchase a toy of her own choosing with a maximum cost of $25.

-Jeremy can have a lollipop every time he eats his meal, uses the toilet without soiling the floor, does not hit his sister for a day.

-Eric can buy a new lego project if he goes to bed for one week without having a tantrum,. This reward system is expanded as needed.

-Max resists leaving out daycare every evening when his mom arrives. She decides one time to offer him a treat at the ice cream shop on their way home even though he is picked up at 6 pm and dinner will be served shortly after they arrive home. She has realized six months later that she is bribing him with a food treat every time he does not want to follow her request. She not only feels trapped by the situation, but she realizes that it has negatively affected his eating habits at mealtime.

-Cindy shares that she will be given some candy when she is picked up one night if she eats all her lunch.

I could go on with dozens of additional examples because bribing is such a common option for parents when their requests or rules are not being followed.

What happens as a result?

-These children are no longer listening to their parents or following requests that are made.

-The bribes expand and multiply.

-You house begins to look like Toys R Us.

-Sugar becomes a staple of their diet.

-By the age of 6 they will be bargaining for a major purchase and you will have given up your responsibility to set their boundaries, reinforce their values, and generally have an enjoyable, positive relationship with your child.

Don’t let that happen!

Review what you have defined as your child’s boundaries, values and behavior that are important to you!

Both parents need to have a talk with their child together. Have an honest conversation and admit that as a family you have gone off track. Bring them in as partners to help everyone achieve the family’s original goals.

Rewards are acknowledging the accomplishments with verbal praise, high fives, hugs, an additional privilege (if appropriate). The goal is to have a mature, empathetic, socially skilled child.

It will not be easy, but it is possible!

Good luck!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Listening! The importance of the other side: listening to your child

Cheryl is a happy, bright three year old. She plays well with her friends, mostly follows the rules, can follow instructions during independent academic assignments, and is overall, a great child.

However, when her parents come to pick her up, her speaking tone rises ten decibels so that she never really speaks to them, but is shouting her requests and answers.

This habit is beginning to show up at daycare if she feels the other children are not listening to her or if we do not immediately respond to her requests. She is also using it if she is not getting her way during playtime. Sometimes the sound borders on a screech.

We have seen this before. It seems to happen mostly when parents might be still on a phone call while present to pick up their child, or if a parent (especially the mom) conducts a business at their home, and not surprisingly, we have heard the parents communicate in a harsh, loud, disrespectful tone.

Obviously this child does not feel she is being listen to and has resorted to a style of communication that she believes will get her attention.

It is not surprising that any child will seek whatever level of tone they feel will work for them.

1. Ensure that you are totally available to your child when arriving at daycare. They have not seen you all day and clearly need your undivided attention.

2. Refrain from having confrontational conversations in public or private when your child is present. I know this requires a lot of discipline and a firm agreement between the parents to be mature and respectful.

3. Arrange your work schedule, if you are conducting business from your home, to be completed when your child is present. If there are necessary follow-up activities, schedule them when your child is already in bed.

Do Not
1. Give your child corrective attention when they are screaming. Like crying, they must be calm before any discussion occurs.

2. Ever scream in anger at them. Obviously, they will copy you because they think this is how people communicate.

You always want your relationship to be a productive one. Your role as a parent is to provide the best possible example, to set clear guidelines with respect and to ensure to allow both quantity and quality time without interruptions and distractions.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Possible complications during breastfeeding

A Cynthia Anka Post

- Mastitis: infection and swelling of the breast, usually caused by a blocked duct
- Bacteria enters thru cracks in the nipple
- Soreness, redness, fever, yellow pus, fatigue; sign of infection
- Inverted nipples
- Sore/cracked nipples; issues with latching on

- If any of the above conditions occur, call your OBGYN and obtain advice
- If antibiotics are necessary, you will pump and dump your milk (supplement with stored milk or formula)
- Keep nipples clean and dry
- Clean before and after feeding

- Engorged: Fast let-down of milk thru ducts: swelling of tissue with milk, increase blood supply; hard and tender, skin shiny and hot
- Pump or manually express 1oz to relieve the breast before feeding. Advisable to pump after feeding to empty the breast and avoid
   the same thing happening at the next feed
- Apply moist heat 30 minutes (approximately) before a feed
- Massage breast

- Blocked ducts:
   Nursing will help eliminate this problem and get milk to flow
   Massage down from top of breast to nipple either for comfort or before feeding
   Warm compresses
   Wear loose clothing
   Keep breast clean

- Helpful products:
   Aloe vera gel
   Slippery Elm
   Avocado Oil
   Olive oil
   Nipple covers
- Wash off any product before feeding
- Do not use soap, rubbing alcohol, or petroleum based products
- Air dry breast after washing

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Second Most Important Responsibility Of A Parent Is To Be Honest! (Maybe it’s the first)

Thomas arrives at daycare after lunch to pick up his daughter. Several of the children ask where she is going. Thomas responds that Cheryl (his daughter) has a doctor’s appointment. When one of the children specifically inquires whether she is going to get a shot, Thomas tries to move quickly out the door and places his finger over his lips as a sign to the questioning child to please be quiet and that he also intends not to answer that question.

Later that same day, Ronald mentions that his dad is picking him up early so they can go to the museum. It happened that the two previous days he had to be picked up by a family friend instead of his parents. He was really looking forward to this special time with his dad.

His dad finally arrived at 6:40pm. This particular day all the other children had been picked up by 6:00. When Ronald greeted his dad with the comment “I thought you were picking me up early” his dad’s reply was “This is early!”

These two situations are slightly different but cause the same result.

1. Both parents show disrespect for their child by lying to them. The first was by omission and the second was by commission.

2. Both parents are establishing a relationship of mistrust, hurt feelings, loss of credibility and confusion.

Every parent is not only the source of values, behavior standards and boundaries, but is also their child’s most important role model.

-Always tell your child the truth.

-Provide them with the details that will directly affect them.

-Prepare them for situations that could possibly be traumatic or painful. For example, regarding Cheryl’s visit to the doctor, her dad could say “You are scheduled to have a shot and it is probably going to hurt. It’s ok if you cry, I will be right there with you. Your mom and I are providing you with protection so you will never have (Whatever the shot was for).” Cheryl will probably talk about it all the way to the doctor’s office. Reassure her. She could still be upset when it happens, but she will know you told her the truth!

-In the second case, always admit it when you have not kept a promise. Ronald’s dad should have done two things. Called our daycare as soon as he realized he was not going to be able to keep his promise, and apologized to Ronald when he arrived.

Depending on his schedule, he needs to select another date to keep that commitment. He needs to make sure to block out that time on his schedule because it is the most important thing he has to do.

Do not
-Delude yourself that it doesn’t matter what you tell your child, that they will “probably forget it anyway”.

-Treat them as less important than your other business and personal responsibilities, they’re number 1!

-Never lie to them or to anyone else when they are present.

Think of it this way, if a friend or co-worker or business associate treated you this way, would you respond this way or be silent? Probably not!

Treat your child as the most important responsibility you have in your life. Good luck!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Unconditional, consistent love! The importance of expressing your positive feelings for your child all the time, not just when they are sick or good!

Derek’s parents have a history of mostly being preoccupied with their careers. They rarely pick him up early (before 6pm) and he is often the last one at daycare. We rarely observe verbal or physical “loving” expressions and in fact none of us can recall seeing him hugged or kissed by either parent. He often is lacking basic necessities such as clothing that fits correctly, attendance at special events, or even play dates at his home.

The only exceptions to the above occur when he is sick or we had to report that his is breaking day care rules. He seems pleased to share conflicts that he has had with his friends.

Over time, we noticed that he is exaggerating (or may be faking) health problems.

Several months ago he was diagnosed with a chronic respiratory condition that understandably has alarmed his parents. He is now experiencing ongoing attention because of that fact, his whole behavior has changed. He seems to exaggerate his condition when they appear and has become demanding of them.

He has quickly learned that he has finally found something that demands their attention. Even his physical demeanor has changes. He has taken responsibility for his own survival and mostly was assertive and independent. Now he stops playing, takes on a stooped body shape and speaks in a whining tone when they appear.

We are concerned with the changes in him, and in fact compare his behavior to that of other children we have had over the years who were in similar situations.

These visible symptoms of the need for any child to feel loved and attended to is truly the basis of emotional expression.

We shared our observations with the parents and are reinforcing the coaching we originally provided. It took them a while to realize we were not exaggerating.

The most fulfilling and beneficial relationship is based on the following.


1. Let your child know that you love them unconditionally, no matter what.

2. Separate their actions from who they are. You may not like what they say or do, but who love who they are.

3. Treat an illness for what it is: a condition to care for and about, but not the only relationship you have with your child.

4. Provide whatever time and care they need to be healthy, but do not allow that to dominate your relationship and be the only topic of conversation you have.

5. Give them quality time every day! They should have at least 2.5 to 3 hours each day between daycare and bedtime, and be totally present with them.

6. Invest in an inflatable bed for you if you think their condition is serious and they should not be left alone.

It is concerning and amazing to us how many times we have seen this type of relationship dominate. Children often feel good about being sick, especially if they get to sleep with their parents when that occurs.

Your child’s self confidence and emotional health are keys to their future. Support it, protect it, and nurture it!

Good luck!  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Is Your Infant Getting Enough Nourishment

A Cynthia Anka Post

The basic needs of all infants is nourishment, sufficient sleep, changing diapers and elimination of gas bubbles in stomach (burping)

Information was given in a previous blog regarding the sleep/feeding rhythm. Here are signs to watch for to help you assess the feeding rhythm and health of your infant.

- Should sleep throughout a sleep time without frequent wakes
- Should hear sucking and swallowing when eating
- Should sleep throughout most of the feed in the first months and then may occasionally doze when older
- Should fall asleep on night time feed
- Should not be doing any increase crying while feeding or while sleeping
- Should have sufficient urine output as per age
- Should have sufficient weight gain. This is probably the most significant sign. Should gain about 2 pounds each month and stay in an upward climb on growth chart
- Should establish sleep rhythm in sync with feeding pattern and amounts
- Should increase volumes of milk intake with age growth

Being aware of the feeding rhythm with keep you in sync with your child's growth and health. Do not hesitate to communicate with your child's pediatrician if you have any concerns. You are the parent and know your child best and should be asking questions and should be satisfied with the answers given. If not, continue to ask until you are.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Two Parents With High Demand Careers, What To Do?

We received a challenging question, “I’ve been offered a major promotion that will be very time demanding. My husband is already in a high powered position that includes long hours and frequent travel. What should I do?”

Many of our parents have been in this same position and arrived at different decisions.

Those who turned down the offer, both moms and dads, felt strongly that their family would be negatively impacted if both parents were in a position of spending less time with their children. This was even when they had a full time nanny that was highly skilled and very dedicated to their children.

These families were already in situations where one parent was not available for nightly dinner and bedtime and often away for important invents such as birthdays, school activities, family gatherings and important milestones. They found it challenging to compensate for these losses and chose not to increase and emphasize the situation.

From our perspective, we observed that the children who had both parents absent from typical family share time, i.e. dinner, bedtime, trips to museums, parks, playdates and sports events, often made statements such as “I’m not important”  and “Daddy and mommy are always busy”. They were often taken to birthday parties and playdates by another child’s parent and usually commented on that fact.

They also had a higher rate of fabricating illness to get attention, or relied on teachers and friends’ parents for attention. We also had several children express their feelings in anger towards their friends instead of their parent; which they usually expressed physically.

We are very aware that a parent’s basic responsibility is to support their children and be in a position to give them the best education while living in a desirable community. They also fear that if they turn down an opportunity there may not be another one anytime soon.

Fortunately our culture is more supportive of the family unit than it has ever been and most bosses will support the decision a parent will make to remain accessible to their family.

It is a big decision! Do you favor your time with you child or your personal success that may have a negative impact on your role as a parent?

We believe that especially during the first five years, which are so important in terms of the experiences of a child that build confidence, leadership, values, boundaries, security and love, that at least one parent has the responsibility to be present for them.

Good luck with such a huge decision!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sleepovers! Do They Work For Children Who Are Five Years Old And Younger?

Amy’s four year old daughter has been invited for a sleepover at her friend’s house and Amy has several concerns and questions whether this is a good idea and whether it can even work.

We share our experiences with her so she can decide to accept this invitation or delay such an opportunity to some later date.

Some important considerations:
1.Has your daughter already had playdates at this friend’s house? How did they work?

2.Do you know the parents well?

3.Are you comfortable with their parenting style?

4.Do you feel that your values are compatible?

The success or failure of this opportunity appears to have very little to do with your child’s maturity.

Instead, what dominate is your child’s reaction to the family dynamic. We have seen children enjoy a sleepover and then begin to have issues with mealtime and bedtime. They observed their friend being allowed to reject the foods served at dinnertime and get something different and special instead. Also the bedtime routine and expectations may be very different and can have a huge influence. We heard of significant problems for the following days.

There is also the probability that your child will not enjoy their normal amount of sleep being allowed to stay up later than usual. Hosting parents have been known to call for the invited child to be picked up because they cannot fall asleep.

The best success seems to be when the home your child is invited to is a very familiar one, the parents have shared and expressed similar philosophies and lifestyle, and are in sync on rules and behavioral expectations. Because of all the variables, we usually advise against it unless your situation is comparable to the last example.

So don’t rush!

When it happens, you want it to be a positive, enjoyable experience with rewards for everyone.

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sleep and food rhythm for a Newborn

A Cynthia Anka Post

-Sleeps all the time the first 2 months and just "wakes" to eat. Will sleep through almost the whole feeding time. Changing the diaper halfway through feeding time will help to "wake" an infant to assist in continuing to feed and be satiated.

-At two months, will be a bit more awake and alert during feeding time. Still may doze off but not as deep as earlier on. Still will be changing the diaper halfway through feed

-At 3 months, will be more alert during the feed and feeding time will extent to about 11/2-13/4 hours. Will be awake no longer than 2 hours. 
( this happens when infant is sleeping through the night...11+hours. this happens between 3-4 months)

Food rhythm;

-Feeds are irregular the first week or two. Some infants eat every 2 hours and some eat and then sleep for long stretches. Each handles the "trauma" of birth differently and each mother produces milk differently. Bottle fed infants can have somewhat of a set rhythm but still unpredictable.

-By week 3, will be eating every 3-4 hours around the clock. Volume will be average of 3-4 oz. By week 4, volume should increase to 4 oz.

-By week 8, will be eating every 4 hours with an increase in sleep time to a 5-6 hour stretch in the night. Will decrease to 2 night feeds. Volume will be average of 6 oz. Will increase 1 oz each week.

-By week 12, will be eating every 4 hours with 4 feeds in 12 hours. Volume will be average of 8 oz. 

All of the above is a general, average list. There will be some variation in time and volume depending upon individual traits.  

Friday, June 17, 2016

What Has Happened To Family Dinnertime?

One of the all time successful bonding, educational, communicative, healthy and interactive experiences in a family is the commitment to sharing the evening meal on a daily basis with everyone present and involved.

Unfortunately, it is not predictable that the majority of our families are committed to this extremely valuable time together. When we question why it is not a daily practice these are some of the responses they share.

1. It is nerve wracking.

2. We need a quiet time at the end of the day.

3. We don’t eat the same food as our children do.

4. It is easier to feed them and get them to bed so we can relax and catch up with each other on our day.

5. One of us is always late.

Family dinnertime should be the anchor of the day. When that happens it allows the rest of the evening to run smoothly.

Food is a social experience. You also want your child to understand the value of balanced and nutritious meals.

It should be designed to develop and reinforce good eating habits for life, learn good table manners, and share everyone’s experiences for that day. You also want your child to understand the value of balanced and nutritious meals.


-There should be no electronic equipment at the table, even for the parents.

-Involve your child in the menu at the beginning.

-Provide them with food they are familiar with and enjoy.

-Serve vegetables first, then protein, then carbs or grains, then fruit. Each category needs to be eaten before the next one is requested. This may be a new concept but it really works and reduces coaching and arguing to a minimum.

-Begin introducing one new food at a time and serve it in smaller portions.

-Evaluate what works with everyone and build on that knowledge.

-Try to include one item that your child can help you prepare.

-Have conversations that are educational without being too intense. Also make them interactive and positive, this is not the time and place for the resolution of serious disputes.

I guarantee that within a short time you and your family will be looking forward to dinnertime!
A successful dinnertime has the power to carry over to the evening and bedtime and who knows, could have a positive impact on your whole family life!

Enjoy and good luck!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Weaning from the bottle

A Cynthia Anka Post

Infants start to wean from the bottle at 9 months old. They have been having 4 bottles in a 12 hour day somewhere between 3-4 months old. At about 5 months, cereal is introduced and they begin transitioning from a liquid menu to a solid menu. It is a continuous process of introducing solids i.e. vegetables, then fruits, then protein as well as finger foods such as cheerios, puffs, bread, pasta, teething biscuits, etc. By the age of 9 months, they are eating 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks with water as well as 4 bottles. At this time, the food is no longer pureed but begins to have some texture and infants now are chewing more.

Here is the weaning process:

9 months: no longer taking the third bottle which is in the late afternoon
10 months: no longer taking the bottle after lunch before nap
11 months: no longer taking the bottle after breakfast before nap
12 months: no longer taking the bedtime bottle at night ( this one can be gradually weaned by decreasing the 8-10oz by 2oz each night until done)

If your child eats larger amounts in only 3 feeds (bottles), then omit the bottle after lunch, then the bottle after breakfast and then the same procedure for the bedtime bottle.

At the same time that this is happening, you will be transferring the milk (formula or breast milk)(2-3oz) into a small cup to help in the transition. Your infant is now understanding that he/she is drinking more milk in a cup and less in a bottle.

Remember to talk with your infant each day as this change is happening. Be reassuring and positive and let them know how proud you are of their progress.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A day in the Life of an 8 month old

A Cynthia Anka Post

Woke at 5:45
Woke at 7:15
Breakfast at 7:30
Top off
Nap at 8:45
Woke at 9:45
Nursed/Not hungry
Lunch at 11:15
Nap at 12:30
Woke at 2:00
Nap at 3:30
Woke at 3:50
Dinner at 5:30
Nursed at 6:15
Bedtime at 6:30
Woke at 11:30

I don't know about you but I was tired after just reading this log.

At 8 months, she should be sleeping 11-13 hours through the night, eating 3 meals and 2 snacks, having either 2 2.5-3 hours naps or 3 1.5-2 hour naps with some playtime between each nap. The consensus was that she was not napping well and eating well during the day which was affecting the nights and it was a vicious cycle. Also, the mother was nursing out of habit not to satiate hunger.

After a conversation about how to change the above pattern, her daughter dropped the night feeds and ate and slept better during the day.

Friday, June 3, 2016

What Happens When You Child Does Not Share Your Most Special Interests?

Molly is a wonderful involved mom who had a dream of being a dancer when she was growing up. Unfortunately, her family lived in a small town that only provided basic skills. When she was ready to move to a more challenging level of training, her family was unable to support the cost and the logistics of such a move and she ended up never enjoying any advanced training.

She knew that if she ever had a daughter she would ensure that she have the best and most advanced training possible. Since she now resides in a major city, all the advantages are available.
When she became a mom, she could hardly wait for Stephanie, her daughter, to start walking and she was sure she showed signs of being a natural dancer. The last year of Molly and Stephanie’s lives have had moments of serious strain and almost heart break.

Molly rushes to daycare on the day we have dancing, bringing a special dance dress and shoes and excitedly helps Stephanie change.

For a few months, Stephanie complied to please her mother but then began to exclude herself from the actual dancing for no reason that we could understand.

Molly’s anxiety was evident when she began buying new dresses and shoes for the occasion to entice Stephanie to be involved. The situation has now reached an impasse. When Molly arrives, Stephanie leaves the dance area and sits at the wall.

We discussed the situation with Molly at various intervals to help her understand that it was not that Stephanie wanted to hurt her mom, but because she simply did not enjoy dancing.

It was heart breaking to watch Molly lose her dream twice.

After a month of periodic discussions, Molly is giving Stephanie her own space and beginning to accept that Stephanie is her own person. Together we have discussed that she might want to do a special Saturday morning activity. At the top of the list is a free-form art class that she is joining with her best friend.

She and her mom have begun a new journey of discovery where their goal is enjoyment, expression and new skills. We are all waiting to see where it takes them.

We have always shared the following guidelines with our parents regarding their child’s special interests.

1. Listen to, and observe their behavior when it involves their special areas of interest: creative, athletic, entertainment and educational.

2.Attend one or two events or sessions before signing them up to a schedule of classes.

3. Resist establishing any accomplishment goals.

4. Carefully evaluate the message your child gets. If all participants in any activity gets a trophy, let the experience be the reward.

Do Not
1. Exaggerate and brag about their ability when they are present. The objective should be to develop their confidence and self esteem.

Young childhood is a very special place, let them take it at their own pace! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

More advice on breastfeeding

A Cynthia Anka Post

Even thought breastfeeding is a natural element of childbirth, it is not always as easy as expected. For many different reasons, it can be challenging. The most common question asked is "How can I be sure I will have enough milk to feed my infant?"

A healthy pregnancy is the key to getting started. Eating well, sleeping well, exercise and good mental health all contribute to being ready when the time comes. 

- Prolactin is the hormone for milk stimulation
- Prolactin level rises during pregnancy
- Prolactin, Insulin and Cortisol/Oxytocin is the combination for milk production
- Colostrum is the first "milk": thick, creamy and rich in enzymes and immunity
- Real milk is expressed in 3-5 days from delivery of placenta
- Colostrum is usually satisfying; may have to supplement bigger infants
- Focus on you: Continue to eat well, sleep well, drink water. NO DIETING
- Allow your infant to eat when hungry. Will feed better and fuller and sleep longer which will allow your body to produce the volume necessary for the next time. This tells your body how much food your infant needs to be satiated.
- Pumping is your back up. Best time is usually about 3 weeks after delivery.
- Pumping will send a message that the infant has eaten and to replenish the volume
- Take your prenatal vitamins
- Enhancers:
    Mother's Milk Tea
    Mother's Milk Tincture
    Non alcoholic dark beer
    Healthy eating habits
    Healthy fatty foods ( oils, avocado, meats, poultry,  etc)