Nancy Spencer knows all about the ups and downs of parenting. She's seen it and helped parents work through issues as a long-time parent educator and former teacher. And, as a mom of three grown children and a grandmother, she's been there too,
Spencer is founder of Confident Parenting, a Triangle-based service that helps parents and families with a range of issues from night time routines to behavior concerns. She strives to help parents understand their own children so that they can better handle issues when they come up.
"If we can understand a child's development and where they are developmentally, than we can understand where those behaviors are coming from," Spencer tells me.
Spencer, who holds a master's degree in elementary education, worked for 14 years as a parent educator at Project Enlightenment, providing in home services and screenings and helping parents with their kids. Project Enlightenment is Wake County schools' early childhood education and intervention program.
Spencer launched Confident Parenting about three years ago, offering services for expecting parents to those with grade schoolers. She is a certified teacher with H.U.G. Your Baby, which helps parents understand newborns' cues and helps families develop healthy habits around sleeping and eating, for instance.
"If we can start then with parents, the outcomes down the road can be so much better," she said.
Spencer also is a certified parent educator and national trainer for Parents as Teachers, a national program that supports and encourages parents as their children grow.
Spencer fields all kinds of questions from her clients - from troubles getting a child to sleep through the night to questions about kindergarten readiness or challenging behaviors.
Spencer meets with families at their homes, observes, plays games with the child and works together with the family to build a solution.
A good night's sleep, routines and daily bonding times between parent and child are all important ways to cut down on issues, she says. Spencer will talk more about that in a series of tips that starts here on Go Ask Mom on Wednesday.
Spencer says she truly loves her work - helping families work better together.
"I get to create what works best for the families," she said. "... It's really nice to see families move forward in a really positive way and to see the light bulb go off."
I had a wonderful time chatting with Spencer during our interview and am excited to share these tips, starting on Wednesday. She has some wonderful, easy-to-do recommendations that can make parents' lives a lot easier.
For more about Spencer, watch my video interview with her and check out her website.
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.