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, February 26, 2016

Turning A Typical Behavior Into A Productive Teaching Opportunity

David, at seventeen months, has begun throwing toys on a sporadic basis for several days then accelerated it significantly in the next week. This was without regard for whom or what the object may be hitting.

He was totally ignoring any suggestion to stop this behavior, nor did he seem to care if another child was hurt in the process.

We also noticed a significant change in his play habits. He was spending play time collecting and exchanging toys instead of playing skillfully with them. Mostly the toys he was throwing were those he had targeted to exchange.

We began his next day by sharing with him that he had to really think before he chooses a toy because he would be responsible to play with it for ten minutes. This decision making process does require some interaction, requiring him to choose a toy he really wants.

He finally decides on a construction roller with a driver that he selects from the big playhouse. Within a few minutes, he instinctively looks around the room and starts walking over to the storage area for cars. He is stopped and reminded of his ten minute play commitment.

He does require a few suggestions i.e. building a road with blocks that he can repair. He ends up spending twenty minutes on the project with no additional toys or exchanges. We repeat this process a few times throughout playtime and notice he has not thrown a toy all morning.

Like all toddlers, he is experiencing new interests and new skills. He has successfully moved out of a behavior that was completely unproductive, potentially harmful to his friends, and with no redeeming qualities.

To be successful with any behavior change, you need to stay focuses on providing your child with clear directives toward positive behavior that you expect from them.

Not surprisingly, he realized he was being expected to follow the guidelines we have for the older children. Some of his resistance in other areas disappeared as a result of this such as improved sharing and decreased grabbing and showing aggression to the younger children.

With very little effort on our part, he moved himself into a new level of maturity.

Always focus on the positive solution!

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How to a Have Happy and Healthy Feeding Time

A Cynthia Anka Post

As was stated in the first infant blog, there is a guideline for the amounts of milk infants consume. Inside of them is a natural rhythm to increase the volume they consume during the first 3 months in order to wean out the night feeds and begin sleeping through the night. This could happen as soon as 2.5 months and up to 4 months. Just to clarify, sleeping thru the night means eleven hours or longer.

Along with the natural rhythm, the parents and caregivers assist in reaching the goal by listening to the child's cues as to when and how much to feed the child. Keeping a log for the first little while is helpful because the feeds all run into each other. Even I log because I do not always remember times and amounts.

Below are some key factors to successful feedings:

- Feeds should last from 1 hour to 1.5 hours.
- Your child sleeps from the end of the feed to the beginning of the next feed as well as during most of the feed.
- Long sleeps enable them to be very hungry and eat as much as needed for the next sleep.
- They eat to not just be full but satiated which enables optimum growth during sleep.
- They will usually eat about half the desired amount at the beginning of the feed.
- Take a break and let rest and digest, then burp (about 15 minutes).
- Change diaper (infants usually do BMs while feeding). This will wake them to be ready to finish the feeding.
- Can change clothes at the diaper change.
- Make the room ready for sleep time. Close curtains (if open), turn off lights, Swaddle now if still young and doing so.
- Top off or, in other words, can now feed the rest of the milk or place on breast.
- Your child will continue to eat and be satiated and fall asleep.
- Be patient. They can get restless because they are fatigued. Cuddle in, or pat on the back if needed. Will settle and feed.

Each child will need the amount of ounces according to his or her own body. The guidelines are helpful but your best gauge is what your infant is telling you.

- Take into consideration genetics.
- Where did your child place on the growth chart at birth?
- The average weight gain is 2lbs per month. Your child should gain weight every month.
- Is your infant sleeping from feed to feed?

Feeding time should be quiet and peaceful and. preferably, in the bedroom. Your full attention can be given to your infant and the feed.

This will allow them to eat well and digest well and have a pleasant and rewarding experience at each feed. It is also time for bonding and cuddling and assessing their growth and development and hygiene needs and comfort levels.

A very important fact to keep in mind is the experiences your child has early on directly affect them later.

Getting started in the right direction will keep you both going in the right direction.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Parental Guilt! How to prevent it or turn it into a positive and rewarding situation!

Children do not understand parental behavior driven by guilt. It is inconsistent, disregards rules, confuses your child and ends up undermining the parent.

Some of the most common causes of parental guilt we see:

You either work away from home or at home. Either way, you made a conscious choice to do so either out of necessity or preference. The first choice will probably mean you see them less and the second will probably mean you often need a break.

In the first situation (working outside the home) you want to be totally present when you are with your child. Business communication cannot be when you are together, no phones or computers! Schedule work during bedtime or naptime.

In the second situation you need some time apart to take care of your needs. Try to makes these times consistent.

In both cases, communicate clearly what the plan is. Be comfortable with your life choice, decisions, and discipline yourself to be in the moment.

When you take this confident and mature approach, you do not need to let guilt creep in.

Being late for a pickup
You promise your child you will pick them up from daycare and then your supervisor calls for a meeting at 3pm and you finally arrive at the daycare late.

Call the daycare as soon as you get the news and make sure that your child is advised of the change.
By the time you arrive, you need to have put together an alternative plan. For example instead of 3 hours at the park and ice cream, it can be one hour at the park and pizza for dinner.

Communicate the change positively and move on to enjoy.

-Always respect your child’s need to know what is happening and what is expected of them. I often compare these situations to how you treat your best friend.

-Have well defined behavior standards and boundaries for you and your child.

-Know that they will respond positively when they are treated with respect.

-Apply this approach to all the similar circumstances that may occur in your life.

Do Not
-Ever let your guilt turn to anger for yourself or your child.

-Act until you can proceed with a solution calmly.

Take a deep breath and know you can do the right thing under any circumstances!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to find the feeding rhythm of your newborn

A post by Cynthia Anka

Depending upon where you choose to give birth to your child, the care given by the hospital staff may vary. In most hospitals, it is the norm that your child is brought to you every three hours for a feed. This will change when your hospital visit ends.

The feeding rhythm is a little different for each child and each birth experience. During the first couple of days, one of two patterns will occur. Either they will eat every 2-3 hours or they will eat with occasional long sleep stretches.
Many of the families I have worked with have shared how different it all becomes upon arriving home. Yes indeed.
Your child is still recovering and adjusting and now has to acclimate to another new environment.
This is when newborns begin to establish their individual sleeping and feeding rhythms.

The following is a general guideline  that parents can work with.
-Every 2 hours for the first week.
-Every 2-3 hours the second to third week.
-Every 4 hours from the first month on.

Their are many variables that will change the above to less or more such as birth weight, genetic build, medical complications, etc.

Feedings usually last one hour to one and half hours. Upon waking, your infant will eat for about 20 minutes. If breast feeding, the feed will be on both sides. Next, take a break and hold them for a few minutes and then burp. Now, you will change the diaper as they usually go to the bathroom while eating. Next get them settled for sleep by dimming the light and topping off the feed. Splitting the feed In half allows time for digestion in order to consume the rest of the feed to satiate. Your child will fall into deep sleep. Hold and burp for a few minutes and then place onto bed for sleep.

By allowing your child to communicate to you when he/she is hungry, the feeding rhythm will happen naturally and your child will eat and grow as they should.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Awesome Parenting!

As I am checking out of a supermarket I overhear the following conversation.

Boy (5/6 years old): “Mom, can I have this?” as he holds up a bag of Skittles.

Mom: “I don’t think so. If you had had an awesome morning I might think about it, but you didn’t.”

Boy: “I’ll have one now”

Mom: “It’s already one o’clock, it’s too late for any awesomeness, sorry.”

The boy returns the package to the rack without a word and the mom exchanges several comments with a friend at the next checkout. The friend then leaves with, “So long! Great Family. See you later!”

My Observations:

There was also a dad and sister (8 or 9 years old) but neither made any comment. The tone was friendly and warm but firm.

I immediately concluded:

-This family understands that there are behavior standards and values that are lived by.

-The parents are in agreement and consistent, hence why the boy did not beg or whine or act out.

-The girl did not speak out either because she respects her parents’ role.

-The comment by the friend tells me this is how they interact and behave all the time. Hence their 
label of “Great family”.

What a heartwarming moment it was for me!

Every time there are parents who are in total agreement on behavior standards, values and are 100% consistent, this is the result. I would hope it is everyone’s goal!
Congratulations to this family and everyone like them!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Importance of Keeping a Cool Head No Matter What and Keeping Out The Guilt Factor!

Peter, Stephanie’s dad, informs us that she will be arriving the next day in a “party type dress” he will be taking her to a “holiday style party” hosted by a client of his. We conclude that this is a very important event for him. Stephanie is super excited because the event includes a performance by a children’s dance group.

When Stephanie’s mom picks her up that evening, we have the unfortunate responsibility to inform her that Stephanie not only had a difficult day, but that she also bit two of her friends during outside playtime.

Her mom’s immediate comment is that Peter will be incredibly upset to hear this news since he places biting at the top of his list of unacceptable behavior.

Stephanie arrives the next day in her regular play cloths and Peter informs us that he is not picking her up early as he has decided that Stephanie will not attend the party.

Needless to say, we are more than surprised when Peter arrives early evening with Stephanie’s party cloths and tell her to hurry and put them on or they will be late.

A standoff occurs when Stephanie refuses to put on the party cloths and her dad begins putting them on for her while she is resisting and crying.

He struggles with her for what seems forever, and finally succeeds in getting her dressed.

By the time they leave the daycare, Stephanie is screaming and her dad is frustrated, exhausted and bewildered.

We find out the next day that he had reacted very angrily to the news that Stephanie had bitten her friends. In the moment, he told her she would not be going to the party as her punishment.

This incident was somewhat complex because:
1. It involved a professional relationship for the dad.
2. Behavior that ranked highly unacceptable.
3. A punishment that was difficult to carry out since he would need some explanation for his daughter’s absence.
4. The punishment solution really went against his better judgment when he thought about it. He felt guilty about having taken that action.

Do Not
-Even make a decision driven by anger. Take a break and arrive at a plan that you feel will support your values and be a teaching opportunity.

-Play the guilt card more than once. When you make hasty decisions that you rescind, you diminish your credibility if that style becomes a pattern.

-Become physically or verbally abusive. You can never take that back.

-Apologize and explain your change of decision if that is the case.

-Understand that on occasion you will have to make decisions in complex situations. Think them through! They can be invaluable teaching moments.

Love, trust, and credibility are the basis for a strong relationship with your child. You will be tested all the time!

Make sure your words and actions support your values all the time so your child gets a clear message of what is expected!

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bringing Your Newborn Home

A Post by Cynthia Anka

Congratulations to the proud parents! Whether it is your first or your fifth, the awe, thrill, excitement and nervousness is the same. A new life has been born and becomes a real person and a part of you as a family. Cherish this moment as it is the beginning of so many special moments ahead.

The first two weeks are a mixed-bag of emotions. Fatigue, recovery, wonder, focus, puzzlement and adjustment. My most important words of advice that I want to share are to take this time for you, your baby and your family. 

- Eat and sleep on the same rhythm as your newborn.

- Give the same attention to your needs as your newborn's. 

- Eat, sleep and drink fluids! 

- Don't worry about the laundry and the household chores.

- Leave the techno outside the door.

This is your time to recover and relax. This is your time to bond with this new person and get to know each other. It is a time for reassurance. Your newborn is discovering the new world outside. It is the time for learning how to "talk" and get needs met. The first two weeks are recovery for them as well. Now it is important to gain weight and learn the feeding/sleeping rhythm.

I do understand that there may be circumstances that could hinder this happening perfectly. I also know that families and friends like to come and visit and wish you well and see your child. I strongly urge you to keep this to a minimum and very low key. It is exhausting and distracting for you and your family. However, these visitors can be of help to you. Helping around the house, making sure you have healthy meals prepared and ready to eat, or helping with the other children would be all amazing ways to give you the support you would need during this time. 

Each child has his/her own body rhythm. Each child KNOWS his/her own body rhythm. Sleep will be continuous. There is no real awake time (for the first 3 months). Sleep and being fully satiated are the two key factors to healthy growth.

The average is as follows:

- 2oz (60cc) every 2-2.5 hours (may sleep longer if needed. will wake when hungry) for the first 2 weeks
- 3oz (90cc) every 3-4  hours for 2-3 weeks
- 4oz (120cc) every 3.5-4+ hours for 3-4 weeks

After the first 2 weeks, you should be feeling more like yourself again (EXCEPT FOR NOT SLEEPING AS MUCH OF COURSE). You can now get up and around more. Do remember that you still need to do all of the above because you will be waking around the clock for a little while and want to stay healthy and give your child the very best you can.