3 Simple Ways for Busy Parents to Make Books Part of Everyday Life!

It is never too early to begin reading! Stories engage a child's imagination and expose them to words and ideas. What they learn about people, places, and things can be important building blocks to school readiness and later life success. For both parents and children, times together with books form fond and lasting memories.

Any time that your young child spends with books is time well spent!

But in a fast-paced world where parents and caregivers are juggling so many responsibilities, you may feel that you don’t have the time and energy to read with your child as much as you'd like.

Here are 3 simple suggestions for making books part of everyday life:

1. Make “book time” part of your child’s bedtime routine.

Routines make children feel secure. Knowing what to expect helps them feel safe and happy. Whether it’s naptime or bedtime, when you weave books into your child's rest-time rhythm, you're creating a soothing transition to sleep. As your child begins to expect read-aloud time, books will naturally become part of your daily routine.

Even when you're tired and have had an especially hectic day, these moments with your child can be a special and needed way to calm and connect. (This is a great way to do Basic #1: Maximize Love, Manage Stress.)

Remember, if you’re reading to your baby or young child, don’t worry about finishing the book or whether they understand what you’re reading. What is important is that they hear your words, see the pictures, and start to develop positive feelings about books.

2. Keep books handy.

This sounds simple, but that's what makes it doable!

When you keep board books in the car, your child can enjoy them while they ride. You don’t always have to read to your child; let them enjoy books independently. As your child turns the pages, looks at the pictures, and babbles, they're developing important pre-reading skills!

When you keep a book in your tote bag, waiting rooms and checkout lines turn everyday moments into learning opportunities.
Instead of handing your child a phone or iPad, hand them a book. Reading with them means that you have to put down your own device, but when you begin to see waiting time as reading time, you may discover that you have more time than you thought to read to your child.

When books are always within reach—whether in your home or on the go—you and your child will indeed reach for them more!

3. Love your local library.

Sometimes the library seems too good to be true. Think about it—thousands of free books, plush chairs to read in, weekly storytimes and literacy activities for young children. Your local library is a treasure!

Making a weekly or monthly trip to the library can become a happy and anticipated outing for you and your child. Little ones love to discover new books and pull them one by one off the shelf for you to read. Whether you read at the library, check out books for home, or enjoy a special preschool program, library visits are a simple and special way to encourage a love for books!

 ///

Just 15 minutes of reading a day can have a powerful impact on your child’s brain development, school readiness, and even their emotional regulation. Have fun, keep it simple, and know that the moments you and your child spend with books will have lasting benefits!

For more ideas, visit the "Read and Discuss Stories" page at www.palmettobasics.org.

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!

 Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are doing Basic #5, "Read and Discuss Stories" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!


The Basics of Exploring through Movement and Play with Your Baby and Toddler

Movement and play build your child's coordination, strength, and overall health. It's also how children explore and learn about the world. Each stage of development comes with new and exciting opportunities for learning!

Here are 3 simple ways to make movement and play part of daily life with your little one:

1. Give them things to handle, and encourage everyday discovery.

When you provide objects of different colors, shapes, and textures to play with, you’re helping your child develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Use safe and simple items from your home; you don’t need fancy toys to keep your baby’s attention!

Babies and toddlers discover how the world works by interacting with the objects around them. They reach for things because they’re naturally curious; they want to see what objects do and feel like. For example, your toddler may reach for a spoon and drop it over and over to see what will happen (and because they learn through repetition.)

Watch and assist as they explore the world around them, knowing that this is how they learn!

2. Give them time and space to move their body.

There's a reason young children have boundless energy and are wired to move. Science shows that for a child's brain to fully mature, it needs stimulation through movement and sensory experiences. An infant might explore by touching, grasping, chewing, or crawling. A toddler might explore by walking or climbing.

Physical activity and curiosity don't simply build a strong body; they build a strong brain!

Give your infant regular “tummy time.” When they lift their head to look around, they strengthen the upper body and prepare muscles to crawl. They also get a new view of their surroundings!

For a baby, “play” may look like reaching for a small toy or shaking a rattle, both of which build coordination.

For a toddler, “play” may look like pouring water in the bath, building with blocks, playing hide and seek, and rolling a ball.

3. Remember that YOU are your baby’s favorite plaything, especially during the first months of life.

A baby’s development depends on human interaction. Your face, voice, and responsiveness to their needs are more important to their development than the latest and greatest toys on the market. As your child engages with the world around him, talk and point as he reaches for a toy, play peek-a-boo as you change her diaper, sing during bath-time. These fun, simple, powerful activities are what The Basics are all about!

For more ideas, visit the “Explore Through Movement and Play” page at www.palmettobasics.org.

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!

 Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are doing Basic #4, "Explore through Movement and Play" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!


3 Everyday Ways to Talk About Math with Little Ones

The Basics are 5 fun, simple, and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life! The third Basic has to do with math and you may be thinking: “But I’m not a math person!”

Never fear. Basic #3, Count, Group, and Compare, is already part of your daily life with your baby or toddler. You just don’t realize it. Think about the words you use each day as you talk with your child:

Let’s go up the stairs.

Your diaper bag is heavy.

Eat three more bites and you can get down from the table.

In everyday ways, you are already nurturing an understanding of basic math concepts!

Becoming good at math begins long before a child enters school. Even infants are wired to learn simple math ideas, including small numbers, patterns, and making comparisons. YOU have all that you need to prepare your child to be a problem solver. One of the easiest ways to build math skills is to use “math language” as you go through your daily routines.

Here are 3 simple ways to begin:

1. Count out loud. Children can count strings of numbers before they understand what numbers mean. Toddlers and young children LOVE to count. Seize their enthusiasm by making counting part of your everyday life.

- If you’re walking to the mailbox, “Let’s count as we walk!”

- As you push her on the swing, count in rhythm with each push.

- When you snap his onesie or pajamas, count with each snap.

 2. Connect numbers to groups of things. This begins to teach them that numbers represent things, that "3" (for example) stands for 3 blocks. Here are simple ways to help your child connect numbers to groups of things.

- As you’re getting groceries, “How many apples am I getting? 1-2-3. 3 apples!”

- When it's bedtime, “Go get two books and we can read them.”

- If your baby is eating in her high chair, “Let’s count your Cheerios. 1-2-3-4.” Then group them into a cluster a 4.

- When you’re changing your baby’s diaper or putting on his socks, “Let’s count your toes! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.”

 3. Talk about size, distance, and shapes. This helps children learn important concepts about measurement, space, and shape. Being mindful of these concepts will help you talk to your child in ways that are intentional, but still simple.

- When you're loading groceries into the car, “This bag is heavy! Can you hold it and feel how heavy it is?”

- As you’re walking outside, “Wow, that is a big leaf! Can you find a smaller leaf?”

- To talk about concepts like distance, “We have a long walk to the park, don’t we? Is the walk to the mailbox long or short?”

- Begin pointing out shapes wherever you go and your child will begin to do the same. “The tires on our car are a circle. Do you see something that’s a circle?”

There are countless ways to use math language throughout your day. You don’t have to set aside extra time or buy fancy educational toys. By including your child in everyday activities, talking about the things you see, touch, and do, you are building a valuable foundation for math!

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!

 Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are doing Basic #3, "Count, Group, and Compare," in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!


The Brain-Changing Power of Talking, Singing, and Pointing During Your Baby’s First Year!

Children learn language from the moment they are born. Day by day, babies learn that sounds have meaning. Every time you talk, sing, or point, you provide clues to the meaning of your words.

We neglect the power and significance of interactions like talking, singing and pointing because they seem so simple. But simplicity is what makes them so wonderful. Anyone can talk, sing, or point when interacting with a baby or young child.

Researchers found that when mothers communicate with their newborns, babies learn almost 300 more words by the age of two than toddlers whose mothers rarely spoke to them.

This is why “Talking, Singing and Pointing” is the second of the 5 Basics.

Here are tips on everyday ways to interact with your young child at each stage of language development during the first year! *

Birth – 3 months:

Talk as you go about your daily routine –as you change her diaper, give him a bath, ride in the car, or cuddle up for feeding time. Remember, your voice is your baby’s favorite sound!  

Sing! From nursery rhyme songs to your favorite tune on the radio, singing to your baby helps stimulate the brain and make important neural connections.

Don’t worry that your baby doesn’t comprehend what you’re saying or singing. This stage is simply about exposure to language. Eventually, your baby will begin to make connections and understand that words have meaning.

3 to 6 Months:

As you continue to talk and sing to your baby, he is learning how to “talk” back in the form of coos and giggles and mimicking simple sounds.

When your baby talks, you can imitate the sound and wait for him to respond. You may discover that he tries to makes the same sound you make. If he does, smile and make the sound again. These sweet exchanges between you and your baby are the important beginnings of conversation!

6-9 Months:

Your baby may begin to say simple words like “baba” and “dada.” She can also respond to emotion. A happy voice may make her smile and an angry voice may make her appear unhappy.

During this stage, your baby can enjoy interactive games like “pat-a-cake.” (As you sing, take her hands and teach her how to pat yours.) Give her simple objects like a stuffed animal and say, “Can you pat the doggie? He feels soft.”

Look in the mirror and point to her, saying, “Who is that?” She may lean in to touch herself in the mirror. You can respond, “That’s Kate!”

Have fun during this stage as you play games, ask questions, and point to objects while naming them. Everything is brand new to your child and they love learning about the exciting world around them. Simple, daily interactions are building the brain in powerful ways!

9 to 12 Months

It’s amazing how brilliant your baby has become in just 9-12 short months. Imagine your tiny newborn. Now consider the fact that he is already communicating with gestures and simple words!

If you say “no,” your baby will stop and look at you. If you ask where someone is, he will look around to find them.” He may point to an object, curious to know what it is, or notice a favorite animal and make the sound that animal makes.

///

Your baby’s language development depends on how much people talk to them. Every time you talk, sing, or point, you’re providing important information to their brains about how language works.

As your child develops, talking with them and answering their questions is a way to teach them about the world. By talking with them, you will also get to know the fascinating person they are becoming. Remember that you are your child’s first and most important teacher!

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!

 Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are "Talking, Singing, and Pointing" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com.

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence! 

 

*These tips on early language development adapted from resources at Zero to Three.

 

 


How a Simple Bedtime Routine Can Help Your Child Feel Secure (and help you manage stress)

 

Young children thrive when their world seems loving, safe, and predictable. Little ones love knowing what to expect! 

Predictability helps them feel secure.

It's why young kids love the same books, movies, and activities over and over again! It’s also why they need consistent boundaries and guidelines. You don’t have to be an organized, “Type A” personality to create simple routines for your family. It may help to think of them as “rhythms” instead of routines.

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a new routine:

- Routines should be realistic for you and for your family. What works for someone else may not work for you.

- Start small and simple. Establish consistency in one area before you add something new.

Not sure where to start? We recommend an early and consistent bedtime routine if you don’t have one already!

A bedtime routine helps to condition a child’s brain that it’s time to fall asleep. Your young child may be more “wired” or hyperactive when it’s time for bed or past time for bed. This is often because they are overtired. Providing a consistent, comforting, predictable routine may help your child go to sleep and even get more sleep. This makes for a happier, healthier child (and a less stressed parent.)

Here are 4 simple tips for creating a bedtime routine:

1. Say “goodnight” to screens as early as possible in the evening.  

Screens interfere with the brain’s ability to settle down and fall asleep.

2. Do your bedtime routine in the same order each night.

Over time, having an order to your routine (bath, pajamas, brushing teeth, a bedtime story) signals your child’s brain and body that it’s time to go to sleep.

3. Create a calming environment.

This is helpful whether your child is a baby or a five-year-old. Turning off screens, quieting the house, and focusing your attention on bedtime (instead of your phone or other distractions) helps your child to relax and prepare for rest.

4. Make sure part of the routine feels like a reward for your child.

Snuggles, rocking, a bedtime song, a favorite book to read aloud – these are some of the best gifts you can give your child at the end of the day. They will begin to look forward to this special time with you! And you may be surprised at how grateful you are for the snuggles at the end of the day. Bonding with your child at bedtime is a great way to do Basic #1: Maximize Love and Manage Stress.

///

Routines take time to get traction, so don’t become discouraged if there’s resistance at first. This is normal. Think about what happens when you try to start a new exercise routine or eating regimen. You resist, you avoid, you procrastinate! The same can be true when you begin a routine with your child. Gradually, however, you and your child will establish and new normal.

Simple routines – for eating, playing, sleeping, etc. – are one of the ways you give your child a great start in life because they help your child feel loved and secure. Over time, they can also help you manage stress if it means you’re fighting fewer battles with your little one.

 

 

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!

Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are "Maximizing Love & Managing Stress" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
  • Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
  • If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! palmettobasics@gmail.com. 

Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence! 

 


There are 22 items on 5 pages.