The Importance of Creativity: What My Mother Taught Me

The Importance of Creativity - SmartMom

Photo by Meaghan Curry

My mother, a woman who always taught me the importance of creativity, was accepted to University of Cincinnati’s prestigious design school, DAAP, back in the seventies. She grew up at a time when women were encouraged to be nurses or teachers. Her dad said he’d only pay for college if she chose one of those occupations instead of the ever-bizarre world of design. She obliged, got a fine arts and education degree from The Ohio State University, and had two daughters.

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Language Development in Preschoolers

Language Development in Preschoolers - SmartMom

Preschool is an exciting time in the realm of a child’s language. In fact, from age 2 to age 4, a child goes from expressively using 200+ words to 1500+ words! Because of the language development in preschoolers, your little one could be a whole new person by the time kindergarten comes around. The growth in language is exponential both expressively (the words a child uses) and receptively (the words a child understands). This is an exciting time both for your child and for you as you navigate new experiences and foster language in day-to-day activities.

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Fed Up: A Documentary Review

Fed Up: A Documentary Review - SmartMom

Pull out the cookies and Coke and snuggle up on the couch to watch this one…NOT! Personally, I haven’t met a documentary that didn’t make me passionate, and this one was no different. Fed Up unveils the problem and solution to the childhood obesity epidemic in our country. Thoughtfully and downright deceptively, food companies have managed to control our view of their food through advertisements, endorsements, and funded research. This documentary seeks to reveal their secrets and the widespread impact it’s having on our country.

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Best Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Best Baby Shower Gift Ideas - SmartMom

Amidst the butt creams and swings, onesies and Wubbanubs, it can be stressful to try to think of the perfect baby shower gift. If you’re anything like me, you want something that will surprise the mama with something she really wants, while also avoiding traffic and aimless shopping. Good thing SmartMom’s got you covered, we’ve crafted a list of the best baby shower gift ideas just for you.

You’re welcome.

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ADHD In Boys: Hyperactive or Just a Kid?

ADHD in Boys - SmartMom

ADHD in boys is such a common issue in this day and age.

“He’s off the walls!”

“He won’t sit still.”

“It’s like he can’t listen to me if I say more than 3 words.”

You’ve heard parents say these things about their children. Likely you may have said something similar about your child. However, how do you know when your child is just being a kid and when it might be something more?

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Ask Away: the Parents’ Role in Child Development

Ask Away - SmartMom

We’ve all seen it. You’re in the park, and there’s a parent pointing to every green leaf and asking their child, “What’s this?” The child answers, either eager to please his/her parent or annoyed by the constant inquiry. Alternatively, perhaps you’re sitting with your child, who happens to be picking leaves and putting them in a pile. You start to feel that parental pang of guilt. Since, of course, along with caring for your child, you should also be educating him on the flora and fauna of the local area. What’s the best way to ask your child questions?  How do you help expand your child’s knowledge for life, instead of enabling them to memorize trivia for the Jeopardy game they may never be asked to play?

What is the parents’ role in child development, anyway? Here are some things to consider when seeking to ask your child meaningful questions:

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10 More Reasons to Love Children’s Literature


If you’ve read my previous post, Enrichment over Entertainment, you know that I’m a fan of Enrichment. Books provide the best of both worlds: the perfect opportunity to enjoy literature while also enriching your child’s life with pre-literacy skills, rich language, and creativity.  Here are all the reasons I love Children’s Literature (and you will too!) 

I usually travel with a bag of books, often borrowed or purchased on Amazon. You’ll find children’s books stashed in the back of my car, backpack, and scattered around my desk. I was the college student that read children’s books to my friends because I would be so astounded that their mother never read them classic titles like Love You Forever. Continue reading

The Art of Open-Ended Play: How to Shop for Toys

SmartMom: Open-Ended Play. Photo by Nicole Gerulat

Photo by Nicole Gerulat for MerMag Blog

You’ve got a playroom.  A trunk full of toys in your living room. From the toy you trip on during your walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night to the mesh bag of plastic sea creatures that take up three quarters of your bathtub, there is proof of your motherhood in every corner of your home.

In your child’s extensive toy collection, which ones are the best for inspiring creativity and open ended play? How can you prevent your little one form getting bored with their toys?

In moments of frustration (or when you step on a lego) it can be tempting to indiscriminately purge your toddler’s extravagant toy collection. But before you pull out the garbage bags, take a look at these tips for shopping for the best toys for your little one. Continue reading

Enrichment over Entertainment: How to Fill your Home with Opportunity

SmartMom: Enrichment vs. Education

Photo by Design Mom

It’s so very alluring: the iPad app that entertains your child while you take a shower or make another phone call, the battery operated toy that’s a must have for every American toddler, or maybe it’s that next episode of ‘educational’ television.

Let’s admit it: we like to be entertained. And the convenience of entertainment in our generation makes it even more enticing.  But I want you to ask yourself a question: What kind of home do you want to create for your child?  I propose that choosing Enrichment over Entertainment will be exponentially more rewarding in the long run. Continue reading

How to Cure the Post-Holiday Blues

post-holiday blues

It’s inevitable. The tree will dry up and be thrown out to the curb. The Christmas cookies will disappear, (unless you’re one of those freezer moms…) and the Christmas lights will come down in unison with your electric bill.  Your family might be greeted by something new and seasonal: the post-holiday blues. With all the excitement of the holidays behind you and all the wonder and drudgery of winter ahead, you might be left with the duty of curing the post-holiday blues. Here are some tips to keep your family smiling through January and finding joy in the post-holiday season. Continue reading