Testimonials for Say Think Know!

My friend Kelli Bettenhausen wrote this book and gave it to Oliver when he was 2 years old … Now, he loves to read and he does it perfectly in both languages … Gracias Kelli !! This was the very first step to this great habit … Miss you !!

Oliver got the first signed copy ! … Mil Gracias !

Photo: My friend Kelli Bettenhausen wrote this book and gave it to Oliver when he was 2 years old ... Now, he loves to read and he does it perfectly in both languages ... Gracias Kelli !! This was the very first step to this great habit ... Miss you !! </p>
<p>Oliver got the first signed copy !  ... Mil Gracias !

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Meet Mugsy ~ Benefits of pets and children

IMG_0484This is my bulldog Mugsy at about 3 months old. Although he is much bigger today, I could not help but post my favorite picture! As I was thinking about the next post for Say Think Know, I looked at my lovely bulldog and smiled while thinking how awesome pets make us feel. So how does having a pet affect children? I was curious and searched for some answers. Most of what I found was common sense. The best result with the highest credibility came from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Facts for Families (see below).

Advantages of Pet Ownership

Children raised with pets show many benefits.  Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.  Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others.  A good relationship with a pet can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy.  Pets can serve different purposes for children:

  • They can be safe recipients of secrets and private thoughts–children often talk to their pets, like they do their stuffed animals.
  • They provide lessons about life; reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death, and bereavement.
  • They can help develop responsible behavior in the children who care for them.
  • They provide a connection to nature.
  • They can teach respect for other living things.

Other physical and emotional needs fulfilled by pet ownership include:

  • Physical activity
  • Comfort contact
  • Love, loyalty, and affection
  • Experience with loss if a pet is lost or dies.


In my opinion, the theme to positive child development lies in providing experiences with loved ones (including pets) which foster critical thinking, socialization, encouragement and creativity.

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I Am! Yo Soy! Shares Joy of Baby Board Book with Early Head Start

Yesterday I visited my sister in New York to share our baby board book, ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’, with an Early Head Start program. I am super psyched to share our book in such a venue. Why, you ask me? It isn’t a Barnes & Noble. It isn’t a Toys R Us. However, it is the best, most wonderful place to market and share the concept of this baby board books with children and their families.

The Early Head Start National Resource Center wrote a document called The Foundations for School Readiness. As the creator of the concept for the book, ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’, this document supports and further explains the reasoning for this baby board book. It is my intent in this blog to parallel the concepts of ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’ with that of Early Head Start programs, so that you might fully understand why speaking with this Early Head Start program means so much to me.

Before I go into listing the connections between the book and Early Head Start, let me also share (before I forget to say this) that I am very passionate about this topic. The most important job we have as adults is to nurture the minds of the very young. Everything we do molds their minds and impacts who he/she becomes. A baby board book like ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’ is a tool to build positive character, positive relationships and a love for learning. So now let’s draw the parallels by breaking down the concepts of the book:

1. Builds positive character. ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families published a series of monographs which identified seven characteristics of children who are best prepared to thrive in the school environment (ZERO TO THREE, 1992): Confidence, Curiosity, Intentionality, Self-Control, Relatedness, Capacity to Communicate and Cooperativeness. Through repetition, the book ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’, develops these characteristics. As the parent says, “I am smart,” the infant repeats these words in their own brain and believes he/she is smart, hence, confident.
2. Builds positive relationships. The foundation to everything in life is relationships. Relationships are key. Providing experiences to teach infants and toddlers how to build relationships in a positive way is imperative to success in school and life. The book ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’ provides the positive relationship building experiences. As the caregiver holds their infant or toddler and reads this book, the caregiver is speaking kind words with a calm voice, their arms are embracing their child and laughter occurs as the child reacts warmly to real children doing real things.
3. Builds a love for learning. The primary goal of Head Start is to build the emotional foundations for school readiness. The book, ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’, is a tool to be embraced by parents as professionals to make this goal a reality.

Early Head Start is a key partner with ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’ in making my vision for all families come true. (Visit Early Head Start at www.ehsnrc.org.) I believe in educating our children before birth and truly value the importance of relationships. I know together we can build a bright future with competent and intelligent children.

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Temper Tantrums: Ever have one of these days?

Ever have one of these days? Lying in the aisle of Walgreens is your two year old. He is kicking, screaming and barely conscious from the explosion of sound, frustration and physical release that just left his body. All you can say to yourself is… REALLY??? Some days are better than others in dealing with such public embarrassment. The best way to handle this age of temper tantrums is to understand why they occur and prepare yourself for ways to avoid and handle them when they do occur. Trust me, they will occur in the most awkward of times.

What is a temper tantrum? (Before I write the exact definition, let me just say that I LOVE the internet. Where was this when my kids were growing up? Yeah, I know, not all of the information is accurate. However, on this topic, good stuff. I will list the links below) A temper tantrum is a raw and unplanned extreme emotional response to frustration, emotionally overwhelming situations, anger, sadness, unexpected events or opposition by another person.

Whew! That is a long definition. Yet, very accurate. Put yourself in the shoes of your toddler. Here you are seeking experiences, looking to be more independent, and for the most part enjoying life. You are in Walgreens and see the most awesome baby board book called ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’ The baby on front cover is so cute and smiling at you. You just have to hold it. So, you reach for it. Hmmm, not working. So you reach out again, this time taking two steps closer to the books. Nothing. Frustration starts to set in. You turn, look over at mom and point, then grunt. Nothing. No response. Mom is busy. You grunt again and this time point more fiercely. Nothing. In fact, this time, mom looks over and says, ‘Come on, let’s go’. That does it. You freak. Misunderstood once again. Based on your limited experiences and lack of language development, you do not care how this conversation goes down. You WANT THAT BOOK! So splat, on the floor you go. Most likely mom will not get the fact you want the book and most likely at this point does not care. She is now feeling like that mom everyone talks about who cannot control that kid in the store. (Oh, I remember the good ole days)

So what can you do to avoid such treachery as a parent?

1. Understand that this will happen and why it happens. Don’t take it personal. About 80% of children from the age range of two to four are likely to have frequent fits of temper.

2. Avoid public displays by doing the best you can to NOT take them out at times when you know they are the most likely to act up.

3. Explain clearly to your child your expectations in certain places. I used to let my kids know in the car before we entered a public place what my expectations were of their behavior and what to expect if they did not behave that way. We left many stores before I wanted to.

4. Give your child choices. This helps them to develop critical thinking skills and gives them a sense of power over their situations.

5. Talk about it with other parents. It can be quite funny or be a gauge if the situation is getting out of control. Ask for help if needed.

Most of all, be consistent and try to remain calm. If children know what to expect, they feel safe, secure and loved. Anyone (including pets) will listen and respond positively when they know what to expect.

Here are those links that I promised.

KidsHealth.org  - http://www.bing.com/health/article/kidshealth-1250016491/Temper-Tantrums?q=temper+tantrums

Wisegeek – http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-temper-tantrum.htm

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Why Baby Board Books?

When I talk with people about our ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’ baby board book, I often receive a look of confusion when I state that reading this book begins at birth. In my perception, too many adults have a hard time understanding the concept of reading to their babies. I can relate.
When I was pregnant with my first child, my mother encouraged me to read to my baby, even before my baby was born. I thought she was crazy. What an absurd concept to me. There was no way that my baby would understand this book.
This similar thinking keeps many babies from reaping the rewards of books. As adults we believe the book is the story and fail to realize that reading a book involves a variety of experiences that builds our brain.
Think about all that goes into reading to a child……
 Being held by you. He/she feels you, a person he/she loves the most, next to them.
 Hearing your voice. Believe it or not, by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The Nemours Foundation.
 Big, bright images. The child visually focuses on the colors, shapes and figures in the book. (Baby board books have big pictures and often bright colors)
 Turning the page. He/she observes as the page is moved and a new page appears. Through repetition, he/she learns that this is how books are read.
 Communication, imagination, words, stories and literacy become a way of life. He/she does not know any difference but to have books in their life.
We created ‘I Am! Yo Soy!’ with this experience in mind. This book has bold colors, legible font, two languages (bilingual), pictures of real children doing real things, repetition and a positive message to make reading to your child a positive experience.
As parents, we want our child to be smart and successful. So, why is it important to read to your baby?
1. Promotes listening skills
2. Increases the number of vocabulary words the baby hears.
Believe it or not, babies who were read to regularly starting at six months had a 40% increase in receptive vocabulary by the time they were eighteen months of age. Babies in the study who were not read to had only a 16% increase in receptive vocabulary. Pamela C. High, MD and her associates at the Child Development Center at Rhode Island Hospital (Cite below).
3. Develops attention span and memory
4. Helps baby learn to understand meaning to words
5. Promotes bonding and calmness for both baby and parent
6. Instills the love of books and learning
For more information on reading to baby, check out:
‘Read to Your Baby’ at www.readtoyourbaby.com
The Nemours Foundation: “Reading Books to Babies” Internet. http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/all_reading/reading_babies.html. Date accessed 12/29/10.
High, P.C., LaGasse, L., Becker, S., Ahlgren, I. & Gardner, A. (2000) Literacy Promotion in Primary Care Pediatrics: Can We Make a Difference? Pediatrics, 105(4), 927 – 934.
Baby with Baby Board Book

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Say Think Know Publishing is live today with a new website! Let’s talk about fatherhood.

Our first blog topic is about fathers and the importance of fatherhood to children. Regardless of gender and role (fathers or mothers), children absolutely love them. In the eyes of a child, the parent is the world; their entire universe. Somehow, somewhere along the way of time, we discounted the importance of the role of a father. This has led to fathers who feel disconnected from their families and communities.

According to the US Department of Census, 43% of US children live without their father. There are several reasons why this is such a staggering number. The real shame is not only in the percentage of broken homes that our children live in but the message sent to the parent who is not living with the children. When I worked in the world of early childhood and families, we were encouraged to engage fathers about everything their child was going through. Fathers wanted to know what their child was needing and experiencing. It was the perception of others that the ‘father’ just wouldn’t understand. For example, it wasn’t the fact that the father was not interested in the doctor appointment that he did not show. He was not showing because when he did, rarely would anyone talk with him. Instead the medical personnel talked to the mother. Fathers would state that they felt useless in these types of situations.

The effects on fatherless children are too important to ignore. By the time children without fathers become teenagers, they are more likely to be involved in drugs, crime and dropout of school. Children without fathers feel a void. They often look to other males to be their role models. However, going back to the true concept of love for a parent, other males are not the real deal. I agree that mentors are a must for all children. (In fact, mentors should be a part of our lives through adulthood.) Mentors are not a substitute.

So what can be done to build the lives of children with the involvement of fathers?

  • Educate young males and females on the importance of fatherhood and what it takes to be involved even if they do not live in the same house. It is not just about the money.
  • Explain to both parents how a young brain develops and the impacts the two together make on that brain. I have yet to meet a parent that did not want their child to be smart and succeed. (I know that can be debated but I believe it to be true.)
  • Encourage the fathers to read to their children from birth. This bonding activity will become habitual and last a lifetime.
  • Include fathers and encourage fathers to participate in doctor appointments, school activities, etc.
  • Some fathers will be ridiculed for appearing soft, whipped, and not the MAN for behaving in a ‘maternal’ type fashion. Although, this stereotype is slowly changing in my perception, the more people view fathers as equally capable, the less this will happen. Give fathers the supports to respond to these types of beliefs.
  • Encourage fathers to have a ‘routine’ activity with their children. For instance, take them to the park every visit, go to a specific restaurant, eat ice cream that is a certain flavor from a certain location.
  • This blog on fatherhood and the importance of their role with their children is my perception based on experiences and facts while working with families. I do want to say that violence, abuse, mental illness, and other situations that hurt others and are not being monitored or addressed are not healthy for children. There are exceptions and times when children are better off without their fathers. However, these issues cross no boundaries and look at no color or gender. Children should not be subject to others who hurt them for any reason.

    For more information, check out the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) website at www.fatherhood.org

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    Welcome to SayThinkKnow blog!

    Welcome to SayThinkKnow. This is our first post. Please add your comments.

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