Posted On 12:04 PM by susang | 0 comments

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Your child is signed up for Kindergarten and that moment when your child starts his journey into the "big world" is just around the corner. Many parents look forward to this transition with excitement and trepidation, mirroring the feelings of their child. Parents often want to know if there is anything they can do to smooth their child's entry into Kindergarten.

The first thing parents tend to worry about is will their child be able to do the work. Many Kindergartens today look like first grades a generation ago. Children are expected to come to school writing their name, recognizing letters, matching letters to their sounds, rhyming words, recognizing numbers and counting to 10 or higher-and this is just some of what a young child will be expected to do.

If you have read to your child daily since they were babies, answer their questions fully, encourage their curiosity and give them ample opportunities to express themselves verbally and creatively, the chances are your child has incorporated many of this skills without direct teaching. However, there are things you can do now that will help you see if there are areas that need extra support.
*Ask your child "Why" and "Where" questions. "Why" questions should be answered with a reason and "Where" questions with a location. See if your child is using complete sentences and gives clear responses.
*Ask your child to retell a favorite story or movie they have seen. Your child should be able to tell the story (mostly) in sequence and be able to name the main characters of the story. Ask them to tell you which character they liked (or disliked) the best and why.
*Read a new book to your child and ask them to predict what they think will happen next. Help them see how they can use the pictures and the story up to that point as clues.
*Play rhyming games when you are driving in the car. See how many words they can come up with that rhyme with car-even nonsense words like "gar". Include rhyming books in your daily reading, such as The Cat in the Hat.
* Help your child listen to beginning sounds. If Daddy is walking the Dog, stress the first sound and play a game like "I spy" to find two other things that start with the same sound.
*Increase your child's vocabulary. If your child says: dinosaurs were big. You could say: Yes they were big-or we could say they were huge or enormous. This type of exchange can occur anytime during the day.
*Use the grocery store for a math lesson. Have your child get you 3 cans of soup or help them see that items are "categorized" or sorted: all of the cereals are in one aisle and the cookies in another place. Talk about the shapes of the things you buy: the round oranges, the rectangle shaped box, the chips shaped like a triangle.
*Make a "writing center" for your child. If your child does yet have a special place for writing or drawing, create one. You can place pencils, markers, rulers and many different types of paper there. Get a small plastic school box (you can find them at dollar stores) and help your child learn to be responsible for keeping their materials secure. This provides ample opportunities for practicing letters and numbers. The writing center can then become the homework place because, yes, in many K classrooms, homework is part of the routine.

When I ask Kindergarten teachers what they are looking for, many of them mention academics second and the child's ability to be responsible for themselves and their belongings first! This means that your child should know how to pack and unpack her book bag; take care of her lunch, be able to recognize her jacket and sneakers (and be able to put them on). Apparently, many children come to school used to having their parents be in charge of these things-and a teacher who may have 20+ children needs her class to be able to do these things on their own. More than once teachers have told me that a child has actually asked them to wipe their behinds after using the toilet! This is a heads up for parents. If your child has not already mastered these simple, but important tasks, use the next few weeks to help them take responsibility.

Try and visit the school a few times before your child starts so she can get used to the physical space. If your child is taking the bus, make sure she understands what will be happening (i.e if she has to change buses or if there will be many stops) and reassure her that bus drivers know how to keep children safe. A child who has not had much experience out of the home may even shed a few tears the first few days. Each school has its own policy on how they handle this so call the principal if you think this may be an issue. However, for most children the excitement of starting K is stronger than their fears and the people shedding tears are likely to be mom and dad!

Your job is not over just because your child is starting school. For children to be truly successful, a partnership between home and school is essential. Your child needs to know that you think school is important and that you are there to support them, even when you hit a few road bumps on the way.
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What Do I Tell the Kids?

Posted On 7:49 AM by susang | 0 comments

The other day a mother of three children under five shared some sad news: her father-and her children' s beloved grandpa-was diagnosed with a serious illness. Her father was hospitalized and his prognosis was unclear. This mom described the stress and anxiety of the last week; the visits to the hospitals; the calls with her mother as they all tried to wrap their minds around the unexpected news. She was concerned about making her children anxious so she told them that her father was out of town. Like many parents, she thought she was protecting her children by keeping upsetting news from them. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, not telling your children can lead to far more anxiety and confusion than if you keep them in the loop. Children will inevitably overhear bits and pieces of conversations-they will know that something is wrong. However, if the adults in their lives don't directly tell them the news, they will fill in the missing gaps on their own-often with ideas that are scarier and more confusing than the truth.
Even the youngest toddler is sensitive to a parent’s mood and body language. If something major is happening in your life you can be sure that it will impact your child. So often, parents cannot believe that their child can pick up on adult concerns. Although they may see that their child is more clingy, has sleep issues or other behavior changes, they do not connect that change with what is happening in their (and consequently their child’s) world. If they talk about the issue in front of the child they cannot be sure what part of the discussion will be understood. Even if the parents are being careful with their discussions, their child will notice changes in their routines and their parent’s temperament.

The key to speaking to your child about sad news is to tell the truth without giving them more detail than they need to understand the basic situation. In the case above, this mom can honestly tell her 3, 4 and 5 year old that grandpa is not feeling well and he is in the hospital so the doctors can help him. If they ask if he will get "all better" a parent can simply answer: We hope so. It is also important to help a young child differentiate between serious illness and their everyday maladies. You can say something like: Grandpa is sick-but it is not the same as when you get an ear ache and the doctor gives you the pink medicine. Assure your child that she is fine and that adults will be there to take care of her. This is especially important if you must enlist frequent caregivers.

If your child wishes to see the person who is ill, let her, if it is medically allowed. Prepare the child in advance if she will see an IV or other paraphernalia that may be confusing. Let her know that grandpa will not be able to give her a piggy back ride etc. but he will be glad to see her. Encourage your child to bring something for the sick room-such as a picture they have drawn. Keep visits short-young children find it hard to keep a vigil.

Sharing distressing news is not easy but when you give your child appropriate information you help her begin to understand and accept even the most difficult situations.

Next blog: How to tell children that someone they love is dying or has died.


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Ice Cream or Children Screaming?

Posted On 1:23 PM by susang | 0 comments

A couple of months ago, an article in the NY Times (8.19.09) described a group of parents who were trying to limit ice cream vendors at their playgrounds.

One Approach: Try to Protect the Child from a Decision
The parents complained that these vendors would come around with their enticing goodies late in the afternoon causing their children to scream for ice cream-right before dinner.The mother who spearheaded the effort to rid the playground of vendors did so after her daughter had "an inconsolable meltdown about not being able to have a treat". Parents reported that they would "tell their children they had no money" instead of dealing with the inevitable tantrum.

Like so many families in the 21st century, this apparently well-educated and certainly well-meaning group of parents were looking for a way to avoid conflict with their children.

The Who's the Boss? Approach: Help your Child to Manage their Conflicts
In fact, conflict is unavoidable. Children will seek out conflict with the people they trust and love the most-their parents-to learn the rules and to test out the limits of safe boundaries. In this case, parents could have used their children's pleas for ice cream as an opportunity to teach boundaries, delayed gratification and problem solving! Parents could help children label and understand their feelings: "I see how mad you are because it is not the right time for ice cream. That's a big disappointment!"

Instead of giving in or giving endless explanations (i.e you will spoil your dinner, sweets aren't healthy) a parent could engage in a more meaningful conversation with their child. In our book, Who's the Boss: Moving Families from Conflict to Collaboration" we offer specific guidance on how to handle these daily conflicts.
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Raising Children Isn't Easy

Posted On 6:55 PM by Paige Lucas-Stannard | 0 comments

As soon as you figure out sleeping through the night, along comes fights over food, then sibling rivalry, and discipline, and on, and on, and on. When you're dealing with your children, it seems as though there's always one conflict after another. And even when you get through them, you wonder if there wasn't a better, easier way. The truth is that conflict between child and parent is a normal, natural part of growing up; dealing with conflict is a learned response. Conflict is the method by which children learn the important behaviors of life. The trick is to let conflict do its job of teaching without letting it, or even encouraging it to rage out of control. So, how do you learn to deal with conflict between child and parent? Who's the Boss? Parenting Education Center offers programs that will help you better handle the conflicts of childhood. The parenting philosophies are based on the themes from the international hit books Who's the Boss? Moving Families From Conflict to Collaboration, and Baby & Toddler Sleep Solutions for Dummies, by Susan Glaser, MA, and Arthur Lavin, MD. Who's the Boss? techniques have been successfully used by more than 10,000 families so you can be sure that when you take them home and put them in practice, you will see real progress and success nearly 100% of the time.
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About Us

Posted On 5:58 AM by Paige Lucas-Stannard | 0 comments

  • Board Certified Pediatric Medicine
  • America's Top Pediatrician, 2004-2005
  • United Health Care Premium Quality & Efficiency of Care Designation, 2007
  • Specialty Training and Certification

    • Newborn Medicine
  • American Academy of Pediatricians

    • Outstanding Service Citation, 1994-1999
    • Distinguished Service Ciation, 1996-2002
    • Special Achievement Award
    • Creation of National Policy on Children with Special Needs
  • Co-author

    • "Who's the Boss? Moving Families from Conflict to Collaboration"
    • "Baby & Toddler Sleep Solutions for Dummies"
    • "Every Child Deserves a Medical Home: Component Three"
Dr. Lavin was educated at Harvard (BA) and Ohio State (MD). At Harvard, Boston Children's Hospital, and MIT, he completed training, became board-certified in general pediatrics and the subspecialty of newborn medicine, taught, and published original research in such journals as Science. He has been in pediatric practice for more than 20 years. He has served on several national committees of the AAP, as president of the Northern Ohio Pediatrics Society, and been invited to represent the US in Slovakia for a medical mission. Recently Dr. Lavin has co-authored two books on parenting: "Who's the Boss? Moving Families from Conflict to Collaboration" (Collaboration Press, 2006) and "Baby & Toddler Sleep Solutions for Dummies" (Wiley, 2007).

  • Educational Psychologist 
  • National Consultant on Early Childhood Education 
Ms. Glaser is an educational psychologist and early childhood educator with more than 30 years of experience in supporting families of young children. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University, where she worked with noted educator Dr. Jane Kessler in a school for children with special needs, and received her Master of Arts Degree from John Carroll University.

Ms. Glaser served for 15 years as the Director of Early Childhood Services for the Jewish Community Center of Cleveland. She currently works as a national consultant in this field and travels the United States and Canada to assess early childhood centers and present workshops for parents and teachers. She contributes to the parent Web site of the national association of Jewish Community Centers. Susan is an instructor and lecturer for Who's The Boss? Parent Education Center.

Ms. Glaser is the chairperson of the Infant/Toddler Network of the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE), a national group devoted to furthering and improving education. She is also a member of the Universal Pre-K Committee of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Her articles on parenting appear in newspapers and national publications in the field of early child development. She is the co-author, with Dr. Lavin, of "Who's the Boss: Moving Families from Conflict to Collaboration" (Collaboration Press, 2006) and of "Baby & Toddler Sleep Solutions for Dummies" (Willey Publishing 2007).


  • Nationally Certified School Psychologist 
  • National Association of School Psychologists 
  • Instructor, American Sign Language 

Ms. Evenchik was educated at The Ohio State University (BS, MA) in the specialty of school psychology. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, a member of the National Association of School Psychologists, and an instructor in American Sign Language with a focus on babies. Ms. Evenchik is now a parent educator and an acclaimed leader of parenting workshops as well as an instructor and lecturer for Who's The Boss? Parent Education Center.
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Parenting Resources

Posted On 5:57 AM by Paige Lucas-Stannard | 0 comments

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