SMARTT Parenting

What is SMARTT Parenting?

SMARTT Parenting is designed to help loving and attuned mothers avoid making parenting mistakes by incorporating evidence-based techniques informed by neuroscience, as well as ancient contemplative practices and meditation techniques. Mothers learn how to shape their children’s minds for resilience, competence, success and happiness.

In parenting it is important to understand that our kids are born with a very underdeveloped brain (it takes the human brain about 20-25 years to mature). Babies don’t know how to think - they only know how to feel. One of the most important factors in parenting is parenting by modeling. Being a parent myself I know how hard it is to be relaxed when you are challenged and unsure how to handle emotionally charged situations. It is hard to model being calm and happy when you are pushed into so many different directions.

When I was a young mother in the 70-ies there was very little help available. There was no such thing as parenting coaching, and very little was known about the brain and the mind. Starting in the 80-ies with the advent of new brain imaging technologies neuroscience experienced a revolution, and today the field of psychology and child development has many answers to the questions that many parents may be asking. I find it empowering to know what the brain does, how the mind is developing, and I greatly enjoy helping good mothers be great by incorporating this knowledge into effective parenting practices.

Using research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, we now know that we can affect another’s mind and brain. Our brain is equipped and biologically wired to pick up other people’s feelings.

 Science Behind The SMARTT Model

When the mother is in the “green zone” or relaxed state, the child is more likely to feel relaxed. When the mother is stressed out, the child picks this up as well. Evolution has wired our brains to be in two kind of states, reactive (fight or flight response) or receptive (relaxation response). When the brain is in a reactive state, the "red zone," often we feel overwhelmed by our feelings, and it is very hard to think clearly and make good decisions. The brain is in the "fight, flight, freeze, or faint" state, making  reasoning abilities hard to exercise. When the brain is in a receptive state, the "green zone," one is feeling calm, relaxed and resourceful. Would it be nice to learn to be in the "green zone" most of the time? Easier said than done.


What evolution did not teach our brains is how to "pause and plan," or be in the "yellow zone." Pausing and planning is a sophisticated function that the brain is highly capable of learning due to the prefrontal cortex. Learning to be in the "yellow zone" by following the SMARTT Checklist, mothers learn how to integrate all three parts of the brain, achieving a "whole brain state" and bringing themselves into the "green zone". As a result, mothers will feel more resilient, competent, and trusting of themselves and model the SMARTT way to their children.   

The SMARTT Parenting Model lays out the steps mothers can follow to learn to parent from the inside out.

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