Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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April 16, 2018

Is my Preschooler Ready for Kindergarten?

This time last year, I was contemplating the decision whether or not to send Christopher and Jack to Transitional Kindergarten (TK) or full day Kindergarten. I had all the forms ready to go. I kept asking myself: Are they too young (summer birthday)? Because of their minor milestone delays, are they going to struggle? Are they socially/emotionally ready?

In my head, I would tell myself:
“My husband and I both have late birthdays.”
“We were the youngest in our class.”
“We turned out fine.”

But as a former educator, I was aware of the differences in the school system today vs. my elementary days. Would my kids be able to survive the rigorous demands of today’s curriculum?

Internally, something was telling me to hold off. For more insight, I decided to reach out to family and friends. I received an overwhelming response to the benefits of giving my children the “gift of one more year of preschool.” 80% of the people I asked were in favor of sending the twins to TK. Surprisingly, more Dads joined the conversation and voiced the benefits. One dad, Christopher and Jack’s Pediatrician said, “No one ever regrets holding them back.”

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April 15, 2018

From the Smarty Education Corner and The Fletcher School: Everyday Tips and Tricks to Prevent the ‘Summer Slide’

Recommendations for Gr K-5 students provided by Trina O’Connor, The Fletcher School Academic Affairs Coordinator, Grades K-5

Summer is right around the corner, and while children are counting down the days until their much-deserved break from school, many parents are considering ways to keep their child engaged in learning throughout the summer.

Photo/Mike McCarn

For many children, a break from learning over the summer means that skills in reading, math, and writing don’t always pick up where they left off at the end of the previous school year. In fact, studies have shown that without continued practice children can lose one to three months of academic growth. This phenomenon, often referred to as “summer setback”, “summer brain drain”, or “the summer slide”, is oftentimes a concern for parents and teachers, especially those of students with learning and attention issues.

At Fletcher, we highly encourage parents to engage their child in routine learning experiences over the summer. Practice and repetition of learned skills are critical, especially if your child struggles with memory issues, confidence, or has specific learning gaps. This doesn’t mean that summer must be all work and no play! Below, we’ve provided a list of daily or weekly tips and tricks that allow your child to practice academic skills while enjoying the fun and relaxing days of summer. Read More →

April 14, 2018

Smarty Mom: Kristen Wheeden

Married to: Mike Wheeden (editors note: amazing guy!)
Kids: Cameron 17, Zach 15 and Brady 12 (editors note: fantastic kids!)
Occupation: Director of Development, American Porphyria Foundation

I am beyond thrilled for you to meet one of my favorite people in the entire world. Since she lives in Bethesda, Maryland I haven’t had the chance to introduce you to her before but now that her story ties in with the new film Midnight Sun it seemed like the perfect opportunity! Kristen is one amazing gal. I’m not saying that just because she was one of my bridesmaids when she was eight months pregnant (though she deserves a huge round of applause for that!) but she is fun and brilliant and sweet and loyal and kind and all the best things a friend can be. I always knew she was a great mom, but she took it to a whole new level when her son Brady was diagnosed with EPP. She’s got an amazing outlook on how to manage the curve ball she’s been thrown and she’s made it her mission to help other families with similar circumstances. So while there are so many things I’d love to share about my dear friend (like her oldest son heading to college next year!) today we are going to focus on her expertise with Porphyria.

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April 13, 2018

Movie Review: ‘Midnight Sun’

Midnight Sun
Directed by: Scott Speer
Run Time: 1 hour 31 minutes
Rated: PG-13

When I saw the preview for Midnight Sun , I knew that this would be a difficult film for me to watch. Not because I’m such a huge fan of teen melodramas, but because this story hits very close to home for me. Several years ago, my dear friend Kristen called from a family vacation. Her youngest son, Brady, had gotten a horrible rash after a day at the pool and she wanted my pediatrician husband’s help in figuring out the cause. None of us could have guessed that this was the start of a long process that would eventually find Brady being diagnosed with Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP). What this means is that if Brady is exposed to sunlight, he develops very painful skin rashes. This extremely rare condition is one of several types of sun sensitivity disorders that as a group are called porphyria.

Midnight Sun tells the story of Katie (Bella Thorne), a beautiful 17 year old who suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), an extreme photosensitive disorder. Katie has spent all of her days living inside her house watching the world go by through tinted windows. She sleeps during the day and her nights are spent alone singing and playing her guitar. Her one real teen experience over the years is the crush she has developed on Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger), a boy who skateboards by her house each day on his way to swim practice. Katie’s only other link to the outside world is her friend Morgan (Quinn Shephard) a delightfully quirky yet completely loyal friend. The school year has ended and Katie has graduated with the help of her adoring father Jack (Rob Riggle) who has homeschooled her all these years. To celebrate, Katie talks her overprotective dad into letting her go to the local train station to sing after the sun sets. As fate would have it, handsome Charlie has just left a graduation party when he walks by the station and hears Katie’s beautiful voice. Even Katie’s incredibly awkward social skills can’t detract from her beauty, so when the skittish gal dashes off without giving Charlie her name, he’s hooked. Just as Cinderella left behind a clue, Katie forgets her journal full of songs. With Morgan’s help, Katie and Charlie reconnect and when he asks her on a date, she tells him she’s busy during the day but free in the evenings. Read More →

April 12, 2018

Perks of a Season Pass to Carowinds

CSP Team Note: We are so excited to welcome new Smarty blogger Tonya Miller to our team and look forward to reading more from her!

The opening weekend of Carowinds had a high temperature of forty eight degrees. Not exactly spring-like weather, especially in the Carolinas. My first inclination was to put it off and wait for a glorious spring day. My daughter Audrey, 4, however, was beyond excited to go in the cooler weather “I’ll just wear my polar bear hat and gloves,” she said. We arrived just before noon, parked near the entrance, scanned our passes and off we went.

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Smarty Podcast: Teaching your child civics, leadership and character


Welcome back to the Charlotte Smarty Pants podcast series, which is powered by Charlotte Star Room, Charlotte’s premier boutique music development and corporate video production studio + the best birthday parties in the QC, the Popstar music video parties, AND professional voice lessons in a studio.

You can now find the entire Smarty podcast series on iTunes! So, please subscribe and share!

Today Smarties Jen P. and Cheryl are talking to educator Mary Yorke Oates, Admissions Director at Charlotte Latin School, about how to teach your child good character, civics, and leadership. Definitely one you won’t want to miss!

Click to listen to the podcast. Read More →

April 11, 2018

Calling all cheerleaders! Carolina Flipz All-Star Cheer hosts Open Houses this month

If you’ve got a cheerleader (or a wannabe cheerleader) in the house, get your calendars out now. Carolina Flipz All-Star Cheer is hosting three Interest Meetings/Open Houses for new and returning families this month for their awesome All-Star Cheer program. This is the Smarty top pick for All-Star Cheer in the QC. We {heart} this program that encourages positivity and teamwork like no other!

But, don’t take our word for it. Come to Carolina Flipz on Friday April 13th, 20th, or 27th from 6:30-7:30 to get all the information you need on the program. You only need to attend one Friday evening meeting – the information will be repeated at each one. Super awesome Head Coach and Program Director Carissa Sawyers, along with other Flipz cheer coaches, will be there to meet parents and interested cheerleaders. Don’t even worry about getting a sitter – kids will get a chance to have a little fun while the parents are in a meeting. Read More →

Smarty Scoop On Weekend Events April 13-15


Carolina Flipz Open Gym
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Parkway, Pineville, NC
April 14, 5:00pm – 7:00pm, Ages 6-18, $10 members, $15 non-members
Summary: Registration required, please call (704) 544-4511

Food Truck Fridays And Concert Series
Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade Street, Matthews, NC
April 13 – September 28, See website for schedule, All ages, Free
Summary: Favorite area food and dessert trucks will provide varied menus including seafood, Tex-Mex, burgers, sandwiches, specialty dishes and more. There will also be a great line-up of local and regional bands, inflatables and a craft beer pavilion

Stonecrest Summer Concert Series
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rae Road, Charlotte, NC
April. 6 – September 29, See website for schedule, All ages, Free
Summary: Live music every Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer.

Come See Me Festival
Various location around Rock Hill
April 12 – 21, See website for schedule, All ages
Summary: For more than 50 years, the Come-See-Me Festival has served as Rock Hill’s annual salute to spring. With nearly 80 events and activities, there’s something for everyone. Join us April 12-21, 2018 and experience our beautiful gardens, friendly folks, and all the fun the festival has to offer. Read More →

April 10, 2018

Smarty Summer Camp Giveaway: Harris YMCA Summer Camps


Smarties, we’ve got a big giveaway for you this week. Y-O-U could win a week of summer camp at the Harris YMCA for your li’l Smarty. You’ll get to choose any week from June 11 through August 20 and can choose half-day preschool camp or a full day of traditional day camp.

The Harris YMCA summer day camps are some of the best in town. They have SO many different types to choose from – sports, art, gymnastics, and so much more. Here’s what the YMCA says about its camp:

Let day camp at the Harris YMCA inspire your child this summer through friendship, accomplishment and belonging. Kids grow up so fast today. At the Y, we encourage kids to be kids and give them the freedom to dream and explore their potential. Kids let loose, discover new talents, gain skills and make friends. Harris YMCA summer day camp is a place where kids can feel invincible and not only explore their passions, but discover new ones! Read More →

Smarty Alert: Register now for the Hunstad/Kortesis/Bharti After Hours Event

Our friends at Hunstad/Kortesis/Bharti (HKB) are hosting their super popular After Hours Event this April 19. This RSVP-only event includes wine, appetizers, mingling with actual patients and an opportunity to meet their board certified plastic surgeons, renowned for their leadership within the cosmetic plastic surgery field, specializing in breast augmentation, tummy tucks and liposuction.

You can learn more about their luxury-level cosmetic surgeries, non-invasive procedures and their new Wellness + Age Management program.

There’s no fee to attend but space is limited. You must RSVP online attend. Complimentary valet parking available. Read More →