CONFUSED ON WHAT TO DOThe moment of truth. As a mom of three kids (ages 11, 9 and 4), it quickly became apparent that my kids were not born with the ability to act politely. The onus is on me as their parent to teach them how to behave in society. But schedules are busy – for myself and my kids. Learning social skills, while vital, is not exactly on my kids’ top list of priorities. I often felt overwhelmed-how do I teach my kids all those unwritten rules that make such a BIG difference in raising happy and confident children?

Over the years, I have searched the library and web for help. I was looking for an educational workbook on the subject of manners and social skills. (There are plenty of workbooks on reading, writing, math but nothing on a subject that I felt really should go hand-in-hand with these core subjects). I wanted to stop yelling at my kids (or at least cut down on the yelling) and find an action plan to bring back the basics. It had to be modern and relevant to today’s generation.

I found four less-than-perfect options:

1. Parenting Handbooks – There are plenty of great parenting books on manners and social skills. But it takes a lot of time to read all these books, and even after I did, it’s difficult to translate them into a plan that my kids would use.

2. Kids Manner & Character Books – These books share wonderful lessons, but most don’t show how to help my kids practice what they learned. Life skills are like any sport, even if you read the rules and understand them, you need to practice to get better.

3. Etiquette Classes – Manner and social skill schools have popped up all over to help guide parents. My main problem here is the expense. Plus, we are already way too overcommitted with activities. My kids also cringed at the idea of attending class. And again, you need a practice plan.

4. Family Games – There are some great manner and social skill games. None offers a reward system to help you reinforce good behavior and practice on a daily basis.

I became a mom on a possibly impossible mission: to create a fun, practical and effective tool for developing manners and social skills –not just for my kids, but for other families to use, as well. My challenge was two-fold: 1. How to create a modern fun way to teach old-fashioned life skills to a new generation? 2. How to make a plan where your child works independently to learn skills and earn rewards?

As a family, we spent countless hours researching life skills to tackle, developing games and challenges, drawing stick figures, testing out fun jokes–all to find a relevant and effective game plan. It took two years to develop it, but we finally created a book that my kids would use, and that would really have an improvement in their current and future lives. Introducing The SMART Playbook. Game-changing life skills for a modern world. Kid-Approved!


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