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!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Breastfeeding Tips

A Cynthia Anka Post

There are some essential ingredients that go into a successful breastfeeding experience:

-Keep yourself healthy, eat and sleep well.
-Exercise sensibly.
-Drink water.
-Take prenatal vitamins.
-Consult with your care provider regularly.
-Be attentive if you have a medical condition.

All of the above will be very positive for milk production. Your main focus is having rich creamy milk as this will be the kind that satiates your infant. Volume will fill them up, but quality enables them to grow fully and have cute, chubby rolls which are necessary for early development. Weight gain and fat production for internal growth will also occur. Upon birth, milk production begins. Colostrum will be your first milk. Thick, creamy, and rich in enzymes and immunity. Real milk usually comes in 3-5 days.

More tips:

-Get lots of rest!
-Drink water, especially while feeding.
-Eat 3 meals plus 2 snacks a day. No dieting!
-Keep exercise to a minimum. Walking is fine when you are mobile.
-Allow your infant to eat when hungry, they will latch well and eat better if so.
-Iron can be constipating, consume an appropriate amount.
-Pumping is a back up usually starting around 3 weeks.
-Pump after each feed to empty fully.
-Your body will refill and be ready for the next feed.
-Pump if skipping a feed.
-Milk can be stored in fridge for up to five days.
-It can also be stored in freezer up to 5 months.

You may need milk enhancing products to help you production, do not worry if this is the case! Some recommended ones are:
-Mother’s milk tea.
-Mother’s milk tincture.
-Non alcoholic dark beer.

Friday, March 25, 2016

What We Have Learned About Early Development Patterns And Our Young Children’s Amazing Accomplishments!

Over the years we have had hundreds of children in the early toddler group (one of these days I will review the records and have an exact figure). Because we have so much respect for their intelligence, we resist setting limitations on their skills, comprehension, problem solving, social relationships, independence and self-motivation. 

Ninety percent of these children are with us five days a week, for six to eight hours a day. This gives us a unique perspective from most child development experts who have periodic exposure and mostly clinical observation experience with children who may not know each other well.

As a result, many of the age related expectations that are communicated to parents are untested and below the actual typical behavior and accomplishments we witness all the time.

Following are some examples of what we actually experience and observe in this age group.

-They begin seeking out specific individuals as play partners before their first birthday and now are skilled enough to entertain themselves for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

They individually follow the routine expectations:

-Getting their own chair and taking it to the snack table.

-Sitting at the door and waiting for the older children to use the bathroom and then line up for outside playtime.

-Carrying board puzzles from the storage bin, completing them, and returning them to the storage bin intact.

-Making choices throughout free play time so that they are combining some play time by themselves and some with a friend with no help from us. The friend is often an older child that they seek out.

-Inviting themselves into work time for the older groups and listening intently to what is being taught.

-Already displaying their unique style at dance time.

-More than ever we find ourselves suggesting interim steps when their request is not reasonable, ie “Let’s do this puzzle first before you try that one in the box” and “Your legs need to be longer for that tricycle so let’s pedal this one first.”
-Learning to count: if they have three and are only allowed two, they know to return one.

Our approach is all about empowering them, building their self-esteem, increasing their attention span and learning to resolve conflict.

We have rarely experience what is referred to as “The Terrible Twos” for two primary reasons.

1. We address an issue as soon as it occurs with these toddlers.
2. We ensure that each child clearly understands what is expected of them. We keep working at improving any unacceptable situation until it is fixed.

No one gets stickers, stars, or tangible rewards because our goal is to help them understand that the accomplishment is the reward.

They do get high fives!

If you are not already understanding how capable they are, take a moment to recall something your child did that you did not think they were capable of!

There are hundreds more examples than we share here! Good luck!

Friday, March 18, 2016

How To Ensure That You Enjoy The Best Possible, Positive, Nutritious, Interactive, Rewarding Meals All The Time!

Sam and his parents are friends of my son and his family. They are spending the day with us, participating in the daycare activities, including mealtime. At 2 and a half years old, he is enjoying himself immensely. He has been introduced by his mom as a “Problem Eater” and she inquires whether we prefer that they feed him away from the group so that he is not a distraction.

We assure her that he is welcome to join us for snacks and lunch and in an environment of happy, healthy, responsible eaters and that he is more likely to follow suit than not.

He starts with morning snack which is bananas and small wheat crackers .

We all sit around one table. The children are responsible for getting a chair and figuring out where to sit so I can reach each of them. It is a light snack, thee ½ inch slices of bananas and one to two crackers. The number of crackers depends on their history of how well they eat their vegetables at lunch. This is followed by a half cup of milk. We want them to get an energy boost that does not diminish their ability to enjoy a full nutritious lunch.

When it is lunch time (2 hours later) I decided to have him seated close to me in case he needs extra assistance.

This day we have carrots, peas, and cauliflower for vegetables. Average portions are placed on each dish prior to the meal beginning. Each child is expected to finish the vegetables before requesting the protein (fish fillets). This is eaten before requesting the pasta or rice, and then the fruit. Each food group has to be eaten before requesting the next one.

Sam seems surprised but excited to be participating in and be responsible for the process. He not only finishes his meal but requests seconds of cauliflower and a serving of black beans (we sometimes have an added item available if any children are extra hungry).  

Sam completed his meal and was happy to continue to take a responsible role in preparing for naptime. This is followed with an afternoon of puzzles, duplo building, and outside play.

I am totally unprepared when I enter the kitchen at the end of the day and Sam’s dad is taking him off the counter stool, places him on the floor and forcibly states, “You are done! Every time I looked at you, you were playing with your food. Dinner is done!”

Sam is screaming, agitated, and begging his dad to let him back up on the stool, while crying and promising he will eat his food.

I notice that his meal is being presented to him in a small bowl where his vegetables are mixed up and on a small dish where protein and rice are together. Also, he is being expected to eat by himself since his parents usually wait until he is in bed to have their evening meal.

From my perspective, red flags are flying, and I can fully comprehend why Sam’s eating habits are not only less than ideal, but in fact are creating a very negative relationship with the responsibility of nourishing himself as well as a conflict/power struggle with his parents.

Sam’s dad is horrified that I have witnessed this scene and deeply embarrassed by his behavior. I respond that I see this as an opportunity to help him family understand a very different approach that will completely change the dynamic.

I discuss the situation with Sam’s parents and we agree on a plan.


1. Provide food that is nutritious, seasoned, served separately, and eaten together by the whole family.

2. Provide a menu as outlined in the daycare for whichever meal is the most important in their home. At our daycare it is lunch, but for some families it might be dinner. For the other meal we suggest a lighter menu: a vegetable, a protein, a small amount of grain and one fruit.

3. Commit for every meal possible to be together until this approach is working and Sam is feeling connected and responsible for his food intake.

4. Have him utilize the same dishware as his parents.

5. Only serve food that you enjoy so when you tell him it is delicious, he knows you are being honest, which is a great step in your credibility rating.

6. Keep snacks at least 2 and a half hours prior to a meal as they should be light and nourishing.

7. Listen when he tells you an hour before a meal that he is hungry, and remind him that he is supposed to be hungry and that is a good thing. Keep him occupied and save any liquid intake until the end of the meal.

8. Relay and approach meal time as a social event and as “sharing family time.”

9. Reduce having him eat alone to emergencies.

Do Not

1. Use any disciplinary tactics during mealtime. At the beginning, Sam may take a while to understand his role in the process and misbehave. Give him two reminders and then excuse him from the table. Note: the only time this has ever happened at our daycare is when a new child has joined the group and brought old habits with them.

2. Focus on every bite that goes into his mouth. Let him handle it!

This is such an important issue that as in Sam’s parent’s case we suggested they contact us if the plan got off track.

We feel the same way about you! Let us know what is happening! We are here to help! Email us at You can also read another one of our great posts on having a good mealtime with your child!

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Newborn Constipation Issues

A Cynthia Anka Post

Mitch and Leslie have a 2.5 month old son Matthew who was born 5 weeks premature and only 3lbs 14oz. He did not need much support after his birth and went home after 3 weeks of NICU.

He has been doing very well with eating and sleeping and gaining weight. He is living his life in 2 different phases naturally which is very fascinating. He is 5 weeks old ( from due date) and 2.5 months old from delivery. 

Two days ago, I received an email:

Matthew had been doing great until a couple of days ago. He was eating a lot but spitting up and not sleeping. Had been constipated for 2 days. Crying and pushing and out of his rhythm. Please help.

I asked what had happened that might have set this pattern in motion. His mother was not sure. He had a doctor's visit and had been given a shot. 

- The doctor visit will affect the daily rhythm. Eating and sleeping will be thrown out of sync. 
- Immunizations will affect each child differently. Constipation can occur as well as other symptoms like fever, crying. not eating and not sleeping. 

At 2.5 months, his food volume had increased to 6-7oz 4x/day with one feed in the night. This is a large volume for an 8lb infant. He was trying to consume the volume but was not sleeping and eating too often and not having enough rest time between feeds to digest. This is why he was spitting up and constipated. 

- Need to spread out the feed. He will eat what he wants the first part of the feed and then needs to take a 20 minute rest to digest and burp and then have his diaper changed and get ready to settle down.
   Then he will "top off" the rest of the feed. Then hold him 15-20 minutes to digest and burp and settle and then place him on the bed.
- Needs to have 3-4 hours between feeds to be able to be hungry enough for the next feed and eat well

- Give a small amount of water or chamomile tea in a dropper.
- Massage abdomen with massage oil or lotion. clockwise and counter clockwise.
- Push knees up, place hands on his feet an rotate legs in both directions
- Place in warm bath or place warm cloth on abdomen
- If none of the above works, lay infant down on clean diaper and place rectal thermometer slowly and gently just a few inches into anus. Hold for a few seconds and remove. 

Leslie only had to try the first option and let me know that he started to eliminate very quickly and had done 4 BMs that day. Good news.

His eating and sleeping pattern fell back into place. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

No blog post today!

Hi everyone, I've just had a wonderful visit with some members of my family that also included some friends. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with them since I rarely get to see any of them, as a result I was unable to fit in a blog this week. 

I do have a very insightful and meaningful topic for next week on "Great foods and eating habits" that I hope will be welcomed by you to include mealtime. Talk to you then, thanks!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Foods to Avoid Eating When You Have a Newborn

A Cynthia Anka 

Food List: What to Avoid

The foods you ingest have a direct impact on your infant's digestion and growth. You are what you eat!  Everything you eat and drink metabolize into your milk. (Medications too)

Firstly, avoid any foods that you or your husband/partner are allergic to or having trouble digesting as there is a likelihood your newborn may have similar issues. 

The following is a list of the most common foods that have been selected as difficult for infants:

    - Spinach
    - Kale
    - Broccoli
    - Cauliflower
    - Onions
    - Tomatoes
    - Cucumbers
    - Asparagus
    - Spicy foods
    - Beans (gassy): black, garbanzo, kidney, white
    - Citrus; pineapple, orange, grapefruit, lemon
When your infant is about 3 months of age and the digestive system is beginning to mature, you can slowly introduce one of the above foods and wait 24-48 hours for a reaction. It will usually occur sooner. If negative, stop and try again in a month or two. If the reaction is strong, best to eliminate from your menu until you have stopped breastfeeding.

This next list is the one that gets the biggest reaction from the Moms. Do try to follow as best you can by avoiding all together. There are also substitutes that are just as tasty!


- Dairy
- Nuts
- Chocolate
- Caffeine
- Diet Soda
- Sugar

These should be avoided until you have discontinued breastfeeding. The reaction can be very serious and therefore, not worth taking the chance.

There are still plenty of foods to eat even though most Moms have the same response that "there is nothing left to eat!". The common feeling is they have given up a lot while pregnant and think everything goes back to pre-baby all at once. Not exactly. Still a little bit of sacrifice to make but it is well worth it. 

The menu is full of proteins and grains and all the fruits and vegetable not listed above.

Friday, March 4, 2016

How Did Two Sets of Siblings Achieve Complete Toilet Training In Under 3 days?

David turned two a couple of months ago. Periodically since his birthday, we would inquire whether he wished to line up with the older children to use the toilet. He always declined very calmly.

However, one day, I am changing his diaper after naptime and I felt some hesitation on his part to lie down to complete the process.

Something in his behavior caused me to ask him if he wanted to use the toilet and he unexpectedly said yes!

I was more than surprised when he instantly peed and did a bowel movement.

I immediately inquired whether he wanted to wear underwear the next day and to go on the “Big Slide”, a major benefit reflecting his skills and maturity.

He responded positively and arrived the next day with a backpack holding extra easy to pull up pants and two new packages of underwear he had selected.

We were amazed that he had no accidents for the next two days, one on the third day, and was even taking responsibility to leave a play activity by the next week!

In discussing his amazing success, I remembered that his sister had accomplished essentially the same feat when she was his age. Also, several years prior, another family with a girl and boy achieved almost an identical success.

Was it possible they had a similar profile? Well I decided they did!

Both sets of parents had high, well defined behavior standards and boundaries for their children that they expected on a consistent basis. We had also always noticed that there was a great deal of respect toward the parents as well as from the parents.

Maybe, most importantly, being toilet trained, as far as the parents were concerned, was simply treated as taking responsibility for a normal bodily function. No rewards were promised, no bribes were offered, and correct language was always used.

These parents reacted the same when their children learned to successfully when their children learned to successfully pedal a tricycle – with pride and congratulations!
So what can we learn from this?

1. Welcome your child into the bathroom with you whenever it is appropriate and expose them to a normal activity you think they are curious about.

2. Use all the correct terminology and, depending on their verbal skills, answer their questions.

3. Be comfortable!

Do Not
1. Show anxiety or set timelines.

2.Refer to any aspect of the process in made up language that has a ring of illiteracy to it, “Potty, poopies, weeine ect”. This will probably give your child the message that what you are communicating to them is somehow different than what you do.
Being toilet trained is an important step in their skills building and maturity.

Relax and let everyone enjoy it!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Helpful List For New Parents

A Cynthia Anka Post

In the beginning:

        Shopping can be overwhelming. So many stores; so many choices! That does not include the baby shower gifts, hand-me downs from friends and family, and take-home from the hospital. 

        Best not to overbuy. Growing happens every day and infants outgrow clothes and diapers faster than you can imagine. It happens almost by the month. It is very important that the fit has a little room for moving and growing. 

        The following is a practical short-term and long-term list for new parents:

- Crib 
- Bassinet (for first 2 months)
- Firm 100% cotton mattress (organic is the best choice)
- 100% cotton waterproof mattress pad cover
- 100% cotton crib sheets, bassinet sheets, changing pad sheets
- Firm cotton bumper 
- Newborn diapers (not too many) ( for 8lbs or smaller)
- Pacifiers
- Wipes (can use cotton pads and warm water for the first 3 weeks)
- Dresser with changing pad
- Caddy or basket for products
- Onesies - socks - feet pjs - sleeper gowns
- Burp cloths
- Wash cloths for bird bath
- Swaddle blankets ( optional) (can use to cover over car seat when needed)
- Organic shampoo/body wash, body lotion
- Organic bum rash cream
- Monitor
- Pump - bottles - freezer storage bags - nursing pads - nursing bras - 
- Formula - bottles - nipples - drying rack - bottle brush
- Sterilizer ( optional)
- Eco friendly laundry soap, dish soap
- Bottle warmer ( optional)
- Boppy ( optional)
- Stroller/car seat
- Genie or wastebasket/ bags
- Chair - side table - night light or dimmer on room light
- Clock
- Air purifier (optional)
- Humidifier (optional)
- Hamper

This should be a good start without overbuying. Happy shopping and for more newborn advice check out our post on How to find the feeding rhythm of your newborn!