Thursday, May 1, 2014


As some of you may know, I recently returned home from a two day conference in Florida, which I must say was an amazing little getaway. We learned a lot and the beautiful venue was a bonus. The conference was about addressing serious challenging behavior in early childhood settings. At the keynote speaker, he spoke about happy kids versus smart kids and the conflict schools have between the two. Do we focus on academics or social/emotional development? He spoke about the importance of integrating both of them and his tag line was to encourage our kids to be SMAPPY (smart and happy) My coworker and I rolled our eyes and laughed, as this information didn't seem too earth shattering, rather common sense.

However, as some of you also may know, we have been struggling with increasing challenging behavior of our dear Sophia at school. She has increasingly been throwing tantrums and not listening to her teachers. To give a little background, she has been at this center since she was 1 year old and since she has been there, she has had six teachers that have left the center that were in her rooms. Sophia is a woman of routine and is hard to warm up to new situations/people so as you can imagine these transitions of different teachers has not been an easy one. There are also some challenging behaviors from other kiddos in the room so the teachers probably have their hands full and it is a stressful job. Yesterday, I picked Sophia up and she reported that she got mad during lunch and pushed a chair over and was sent to another room to calm down. Obviously, this upset me and Sophia and I continued to talk about what she can do instead if she gets angry/upset. The best part about my job is that it has drastically changed the way I parent as well as given me lots of resources right at my fingertips. One of the resources we use at home is a chart of coping skills and Sophia is able to point to the one she wants to use when she is upset. Her favorite is hugging a stuffed animal- which as some of you may also know, she has always been attached to one friend or another for most of her life. Right now, it's a little bear, so this coping skill really works for her.

My point of this post is that the tagline of SMAPPY really hits home for me as I am writing this post. Her new teacher has come into the room and I can already see the changes she has implemented. From the schedule/routine to implementing a lesson plan/curriculum. Sophia talks about the things she has learned and I see evidence of that when I pick her up. I have liked seeing the teacher implementing these things however, Sophia doesn't talk about her teacher at home, she doesn't give her hugs, she doesn't run to her in the mornings. With her other teachers, we could not leave the building until Sophia sought them out to give them a big running hug good bye. I have to say, I miss seeing my child form that attachment to her caregiver and I think this is where SMAPPY is relevant. Her teacher seems to be focusing her attention on the SMART part but forgetting about the HAPPY part. I would almost rather see the HAPPY part than the SMART part and the best possible scenario: SMAPPY.  I hope Sophia can get past this little bump in the road and I hope to update everyone that she has but until then I'll be singing:

"Because I'm Smappy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm Smappy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm Smappy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm Smappy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do"
A child who is obviously very smappy