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, April 29, 2016

The Fear Of Abandonment! The experience for any child whose parent has walked away from them in a public place!

Carla is a strong willed child who often is very challenging with either parent when she is picked up from daycare.

Her parents display a different style and seem to have a different relationship with her but she often mentions that neither of them listens to her. Their communication is often confrontational when she is being picked up from daycare.

After a few minutes of either parent’s arrival for pick up, frustration and displeasure will begin to be expressed in some form of threat that they will leave shortly if she does not want to put away her toys and come with them.

We have witnessed this scene repeatedly and so far, they have not applied our suggestions regarding how to communicate positively with her so she will be happy to leave.

This week was the most disturbing incident. After a three to five minute exchange, during which Carla did not stop playing, her dad stated “I am leaving now and you can stay here.”

With this statement he stared up the stairs and apparently walked far enough that he rounded and corner and hid behind a protruding wall so that when Carla left to follow him, thinking he was waiting for her, unlike previous occasions, she rounded the corner and could not see him.

We heard crying and screaming so loud that we rushed out thinking that she had been hurt. We realized instead that she was crying out of fear because she could not see her dad.

Unfortunately this family’s situation had to reach this critical point for the parents to understand their role in their child’s life and correct it.

A parent is their child’s source of survival. It is critical that each parent build their skills so that they are never using threats of any kind to manage their relationship with their child. This is never an option!

We discussed some of the important skills parents need to communicate positively with their child.


-Prioritize listening skills. This is a must!

-Only respond with positive solutions that you mean and follow up with 100% of the time.

-Listen to your child. Especially when you work and leave your child at daycare you are really spending very little time with them. I recommend that from the time they are picked up until bedtime:
No computer work
No business or personal calls
These needs can all wait until they are in bed.

-Always tell them exactly what you expect and what you are going to do. For example:

“Carla, when I come to daycare I really want you to clean up and leave right away. I have really missed you all day. We are going to make dinner together, have a healthy meal, clean up and then spend time together doing something that you can choose. I would love to hear about your day too!”

This obviously can be adapted for each occasion. Let you child choose some of the evening activities so they have involvement in what is waiting for them.

-Whether at daycare or in a different public place, if you have done everything right and they are still not cooperating, tell them you are going to take them by the hand and walk them to the car. You could say, “This is not being a good listening day so I am going to have to help you” There is probably going to be some resistance and crying but be firm and calm. While you are walking you can add “I know tomorrow will be better.”

-Never forget that your child needs to trust your words and actions. Be positive and think before you speak!

Do not:

-Threaten them with any reprisal or punishment in public!

-Step away from them. No distance is acceptable or effective in a positive way!

-Never move out of their sight!

It is heart breaking to know how much her parent’s behavior is hurting Carla.

Remember, every parent is not only responsible for their child’s survival, but the quality of that care will have a lasting effect on your child’s life! Look at our other posts on how to get your child to listen to you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tips on breastfeeding

A Cynthia Anka Post

Even though breastfeeding is natural and instinctive, making it happen easily and smoothly is not always what Moms encounter.

Both Mom and newborn have been through a lot and fatigue and recovery are all encompassing. 

Remember that mother's milk takes 3-5 days to come in. Colostrum is full of nutrients and satisfies most until the milk arrives. Sometimes this is not the case and supplementing is necessary for a little while.

What follows are some guidelines to enable the experience to be rewarding for both.


- Get comfortable in the chair
- Sit back
- Hold infant in optimum position i.e. cradling or football
- Hold your breast in your hand
- Bring infant up under your breast; can smell the milk
- Mouth will open
- Gently cradle the back of the head, tilt head up and inwards
- Mouth should close around almost the whole aereola
- Should be able to hear sucking and swallowing
- No air sounds
- No milk dripping from the sides of the mouth
- Should not be painful. Might feel discomfort when first latching on but should ease quickly. 
- Feed on one side 10-15 minutes. Can go a bit longer if infant is a hearty eater and really gulping
- Infant should ease off the nipple
- Allow infant to relax there for 3-5 minutes before moving position for burping
- Shift slowly
- Burp for 5-10 minutes
- Change diaper 
- Swaddle (if doing so) (under a month of age)
- Continue feed on second side
- Repeat the feeding rhythm
- Infants less than 3 months of age will sleep through almost the entire feed
- Infant will fall into deep sleep when satiated
- Feed should take an hour to and hour/fifteen

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hand Me Down Shoes? Please Don’t!

Mary, David, Sam and Judy are the most recent children in the last year who have found themselves dropping out of outside playtime because their feet were hurting so much they didn’t want to even walk, much less run and play.

The outdoor heat and harder surfaces are much less forgiving, so the most discomfort I see typically occurs outdoors.

What did they all have in common? Each of them was wearing hand me down shoes at those moments.

There has been a huge cultural shift in how parents acquire shoes for their children. It used to be an unwritten responsibility of a parent to take their child to a store that specialized in children’s shoes where they would have their child’s feet measured and then purchase shoes that accommodated their child’s specific needs.

What we see now is that shoes are ordered online. At best, an outline of the child’s foot is provided, or the worst case scenario by guesswork. The other option is the child wearing hand me downs from friends or a resale store.

We realize that providing clothing for a child is a very expensive responsibility, however there are multiple solutions including discount stores, sales evens, resale stores and hand me downs.  All of these options are fine except for their footwear needs. You child should never wear hand me down shoes.

There are no two children who have exactly the same body structure and the same exact way of placing their feet on a solid surface, and handling the weight and rhythm of their body.

A few facts are extremely important.
     1. Their shoes need to be long and wide enough to accommodate the current size of their foot with a reasonable amount of space for growth. In the first three years of their life that could be from three to five months.

     2. They must provide proper support for their current needs.

     3. They must not have been previously worn and molded by someone else’s foots structure and walking style. This condition will force your child’s foot to adapt to the inner and outer shape of the shoe rather than their natural one.

We are repeated observing situations caused by poorly fitting footwear:

- Tripping if the footwear is too large or small.
- Limping because their footwear hurts.
- Developing an unbalanced walk as the result of the condition of their used footwear.
- Trying to ease the discomfort of a poorly fitting shoe by pushing their foot to the outside of the shoe and probably turning in at the same time.
-Showing signs of being flat footed because their feet are not being properly supported.
-Showing signs of weak ankles that are being overlooked and not supported and corrected.

The health of your child’s feet can have an impact on their entire body structure and should be a priority.


-Prioritize your child’s footwear from the time they are developed enough to be showing signs of early walking

-Check the size and fir of their footwear after three months. Their feet usually grow before you feel they need a new clothing size.

- Pay attention to the way your child walks! If they are walking as though their feet hurt, it is more likely a footwear problem than an injury.

-Make sure your child’s shoes have adequate support. We have had several children over the years (More than I would have thought) who required arch support. Whenever possible, let you child walk in their bare feet. It can be indoors or a safe outdoor area where they will not be injured, this will allow their foot muscles to strengthen and find their natural pattern.

-Find a store that specializes in children’s shoes where the sales staff is well trained. When you are investing in your first purchases they will give you good advice regarding what manufacturers are making footwear that is appropriate for your children. Then you can balance online shopping with store shopping.

-Try to have your child with you as often as possible when you are changing their sizes.

Do not:

-Short change your child with ill-fitting footwear ever! It can cause damage to their feet at a very early age!

-Expect your child to continue to wear footwear that is not fitting well.

-Poorly fitting footwear will shape your child’s feet and how they walk for the rest of their life!

I realize raising a child is a very expensive proposition and everyone is trying to control costs all the time! But please plan to save money on all their other needs but get them the most appropriate footwear every time! We have another great post on the importance of children's footwear!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions of New Parents

A Cynthia Anka Post

Parents have so many questions about all the information they have heard from so many different sources: OB, mid-wife, doula, hospital staff, lactation specialist, parents, grandparents, parenting books, online sites, blogs and so on.

    Here are some answers to some of the frequent questions I have been asked.

Bottles? I recommend Avent and Born Free. Both are eco-friendly and easy to use. The nipples work really well and the flow is accurate for the age stated.

    *Nipple sizes change with the growth of the child. Milk flow needs to flow easily as your child wants to feed in a quick rhythm. If they have to work hard, they will tire easily and only eat enough to not be hungry, not enough to be satiated.

Formulas? In general, organic is a healthy choice. Earth's Best and Baby's Only are well liked by parents and infants. There are many choices should your infant have a medical issue. Do your best to choose the one best suited as too many changes will throw off the feeding rhythm.

    *Powder is the preferred over ready-to-feed (ok in a pinch). Easy to make; fill bottles ahead with water and just add powder at the feed or take in proportioned containers on the go. When mixing, do not shake vigorously. Turn up and down and swirl until well mixed. Uncap to release air bubbles and close (not too tightly or will create suction and be difficult to feed).

Diapers? An assortment of brands fitting all shapes and sizes. Natural and chemical free will be gentler for your infant. Ages on label are not always accurate. It can sometimes be trial and error.

    *Sizing changes comparable to age. Newborn (first 2-3 weeks), Size1-1 month. Size 2-2 months. Size 3-3 months. Size 4-4 months. Size 5-5 months. Size 6-6 months- underwear.

    *Top of diaper should fit to the belly button. Sides should easily close with tabs meeting in the middle. When the diaper is mid-way between belly button and groin and you are tugging to close the tabs, it is time to change to next size. Important for belly expansion when feeding and elimination.

Bumpers? An important safety item and a must have. Recent recommendations have been either no bumper or the mesh style. The first risk is that your infant will get either arms, legs or both stuck in between the bars and/or hurt themselves banging into the sides while "traveling" in their sleep. The second is that the mesh is not child-proof and can shred and be eaten.

    *100% cotton
    *Polyester filled or Organic

    *Fits evenly all around the crib

Friday, April 15, 2016

Expecting Your Child To Develop and Display Proper Playskills Does Make A Difference!

Periodically, several parents may be leaving the daycare at the same time at the end of the day and what can, and usually, does occur, is that the parents engage in conversation and the children begin to play in the yard.

The vast majority of those parents will allow their children to utilize the play equipment incorrectly with no comment from them. Such as:

1. Hanging over the swing seat on their stomach.

2. Walking up the slide.

3. Going down the slide head first or backwards on their stomach.

4. Older children riding small tricycles.

But Mark, one of the dads, takes a totally different approach. He is socializing too, but he is very aware of what his son, Steven, is doing.

Instead of allowing Steven to follow the other children, he challenges him to do something that Mark has been talking about but has not yet tried.

In one situation, he suggests Steven try pedaling a much bigger bicycle than usual, giving him specific guidelines regarding speed and technique so he will succeed and assuring him he will be watching.

Later, he suggest Steven try to make a basket after raising the basketball net higher. They practices a few throws together and then the dad backs off and watches, verbally cheering him on.

In both cases, Steven and his dad appeared totally connected in their relationship, with both of them earning praise. Steven’s dad has chosen a well defined role and is keeping his message constant.

Did all the children have fun? Of course they did, and everyone left happy.

But the child’s dad who took advantage of the situation to reinforce his teaching/coaching role and challenge his child with great success did something better.

They had fun too, but Steven’s dad took advantage of an unexpected situation to provide his child with his attention and experience.

The most interesting result was that Steven talked about the experience several times in the next few days. The joy in his voice and pride on his face said it all. He not only was proud of his accomplishment, but obviously gets a consistent message from his dad 100% of the time.

Take advantage of every opportunity to educate, support and bond with your child in a positive way.

Good luck!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Mom Says Thank You

A Cynthia Anka Post

"Cynthia helped us as an infant caregiver and consultant for just a week. She did more than typical night nursing-she helped us as new parents understand our 8 week old baby in a new way. She analyzed (with lots of two-way conversation) the problems we were having with our daughter's frequent feedings, stomach discomfort and non-restorative sleep and made excellent suggestions to alter our patterns.

Some of the amazing changes made:

- Increase the nipple flow on the bottles which allowed us to increase the amounts of milk she would consume for her age and need.

- Increase diaper size to allow her more room to expand with increase in milk feedings and growth.

- Implemented a sleep routine where we would no longer wake her for nighttime feedings but rather allow her to wake herself when hungry.

- Showed us effective ways to calm our daughter to fall asleep without us having to hold her to help her fall asleep.

Some of these sound so simple and they really had a significant impact on our daughter's eating and sleeping. On the first night, she slept longer than she ever had and ate more as well. It was a dramatic difference.

Cynthia was so successful in helping us understand and manage our daughter's eating/sleeping regime that we only needed one week's help since our daughter responded so well."

Even though it may seem that you are in a "dark" place with no way out, do not despair. Seeking the right advice sooner than later will get you to a better place and the reward is enjoying each day with your infant more and more.

If you have a personal question email us at

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Advice For New Parents Of Twins

A Cynthia Anka Post

It's Twins!

Those words tend to take a bit longer to get a handle on than hearing "Congratulations! You are pregnant". The expectation to becoming parents is amplified once the reality has set in that there will be 2.  
One parent wrote, " We expected that the first six months would be very difficult, but I don't think we fully understood how difficult until we were in the thick of it. Our strategy was to quickly tend to whichever baby started to cry first with the hope that the other would not be woken. That did not work very well and we would spend anywhere between 30-90 minutes at a time putting them back down. This would happen multiple times during the night, resulting in a maximum of 4-5 hours of broken sleep for months on end. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a very good reason..."

These parents were feeling so helpless and exhausted and did not know how to make the situation better. 

"The difference with our kids after our first night working together (with me) was incredible. Simple techniques, such as changing the size of the diaper to allow for better digestion and elimination, and letting them cry it our for a period of time had a dramatic effect. That, combined with a better understanding of "why" they were crying, how to deal with it without feeling like horrible parents, more knowledge of the feeding pattern and lots more useful information put us back on the path to sanity. In just one month, as our twins turned eight months, it was pretty much smooth sailing from there."

Yes, twins are double the care and worry and time but the key to minimizing being overwhelmed it to think of them as two people, not one. They just happened to be born at the same time. They are individuals with their own personalities and body rhythms. Yes, they have similar needs and developmental stages but they will not always be in sync. Listen to them as each one communicates with you. 
Usually, if you let the flow happen naturally, they will stagger and you will be able to spend quality time with each one and both will be soundly sleeping within a reasonable time frame and then rest time for you until the next feeding time. 

Of course, having help would be a huge benefit, especially the first 3-4 months until sleeping through the night. If that is not available to you, do your best to be organized. Find your rhythm

Yes, there will be days when it is all a blur but there will be many more filled with joy and delight and you could not imagine your life being any other way. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Joy of Dads and Their Children Sharing Experiences Together!

We are enjoying a current increase in sales of our parenting book to dads more than moms. It reminds me of how delighted I am when I see dads and their children bonding in every possible kind of way!

There is something so special about dads taking on routine, but demanding childcare, as well as prioritizing their non-work time to spend it with their children.

I realize that our current dads are more likely to be very involved with their young children’s lives than former generations, but every time I witness it or experience it, it makes me smile.

Here are some of my most recent experiences.

A Dad:

1. Picking up his 3 and a half year old son from daycare while he already has his four month old daughter in a baby Bjorn. They are off to the supermarket to shop for the family.

2.  Celebrating father’s day at a Chinese restaurant and obviously educating his child about the experience of totally new foods.

3. Taking a day off from work to take his five year old daughter and two year old son to an amusement park.

4. Being the sole caregiver for his four year old son and fourteen month old daughter while their mom is out of town on business. The unexpected challenge was that they both got sick and it did not occur to him to ask for help.

5. Trying to braid his daughter’s hair before taking her to school.

6. Trying to keep up with a very young toddler who is exploring the mall.

7. Going shopping with his five year old daughter and trying to select items she will love.

8. Taking his son to a ballet class because that is what he wants to do.

9. Who takes the time to let his fourteen month old daughter come down the stairs by herself, even though he is behind schedule to catch his early morning flight. He is so respectful of her skill and intelligence.

All these dad and many more are committed to being completely involved in their children’s lives!

Good luck to all of them!