4 Ways You Can "Do the Basics" During the Holiday Season!

The holiday season can be a wonderful time for young children and for those who care for them. The festivities and traditions take on a magical quality when seen through the eyes of a child.

But as we all know, the holidays can also be a stressful and challenging time. Extra treats, later bedtimes, parties, presents, and travel can be disruptive to normal family rhythms. Many parents and caregivers also experience extra financial and family strain during this season.

With these realities in mind, how can we take the "The Basics" (5 fun, simple, powerful ways that to help all our children become the happiest and most successful they can be) and weave them into both the celebrations and the challenges of the holiday season?

Here are 4 simple ways:

1. Maximize Love

Regardless of what holiday tradition your family celebrates, the best present you can give your child is your presence.

Your young child needs your hugs and kisses, your bedtime snuggles, and your voice. Our consumer culture convinces us that we need the latest and greatest toys and experiences, but all a young child truly needs is consistent love and care.

 

2. Manage Stress

This is easier said than done, right? Remember that caring for young children is already a full-time job! This is definitely a stage of life when it's always best to simplify.

  • Store-bought desserts instead of homemade are just fine for the holiday party.
  • Remember that less is more with young children. They are easily distracted and overwhelmed. Keep treats and toys to a minimum so they can really enjoy the gifts of the season!

  • Keep normal routines as much as possible. Kids will enjoy the holidays more if they are well-rested and so will you!
  • Know your limits and your child's. It's nearly impossible to please everyone. If others' expectations of you are more than you can handle, it's okay to say no or offer an alternative.
  • When stress is unavoidable, take steps to cope effectively. This may look like finding a trusted caregiver for your child if you need a break, walking away from a tantrum for a minute to take deep breaths, finding someone you trust who can help or listen, or going for a walk.

 

3. Turn family moments into learning moments.

The great thing about The Basics is that they become part of everyday life!

Talk, Sing and Point as you take in the sights and sounds of the season. If you're traveling, point out new things you see through the window.

Practice Counting, Grouping and Comparing with the unique holiday items and foods you have around your home. If you're doing extra baking, let your child help with counting and measuring in the kitchen.


Explore through Movement and Play as a way to run off extra energy (and sugar.) If weather permits, take a 30 minute break and go to the park or take a walk.

The holidays are also a great time to enjoy fun indoor games together!

Read and Discuss Stories by picking up some books about your family's holiday from the library. There are so many wonderful seasonal books for young children!

 

4. Pay attention to the stress of those around you.

We all have a part to play in the well-being of the young children in our own communities. If you see or know of parents who are under too much stress during this season, offer to help. When we step in to lighten someone's load, we're not only helping the parent, we're helping the children who depend on that parent to provide love and stability.

 

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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!

 


8 Simple Ways Your Child Can Become a "Math Person!"

"I'm just not a math person." 

We've all heard someone say this. Maybe you've said it yourself.

As adults, we know our own strengths and weaknesses, and this awareness can lead us to believe that we don't have what it takes to equip our young children, especially if it's in an area where we haven't had success. 

That's why many of us say, "I'm just not a math person!"

But think about this:

Would you refrain from tossing a ball to your child because you weren't good at sports?

Would you choose never to read a book with your child because you don't consider yourself a good reader?

We believe every parent can give every child a great start in life if they know "The Basics!"

Believe it or not, children come into the world pre-wired to learn simple math ideas, including numbers, patterns, and making comparisons. As parents and caregivers of young children, you can seize this important window of brain development and teach them to become a problem solver. 

This is why "Count, Group and Compare" is the third Palmetto Basic.

 Here are 8 fun and simple ways you can do math with your child and help them develop important thinking skills! 

1. Move in rhythm. 

Clap, tap, rock or kiss your baby in a steady rhythm. Count while you do it. 

If your child is in a baby swing at the playground, count each time you push the swing. Have fun! These are simple ways to teach your child about patterns and counting. 

2. Count objects.

Count groups of things, starting with small numbers. You can count your child's toes or count their Cheerios. Infants learn through all of their senses, so hold objects up for your child to see and touch. "Look, there's one...two blocks. Two blocks." As your child gets older, continue to count things together. 

3. Compare. 

Provide opportunities for your child to touch and explore things that are the same and different. For example, let your baby shake things that make different sounds, or touch fabrics with different textures. Talk about how they are similar or different.  

4. Use math words. 

 

When you talk to your infant or toddler, use words related to math ideas like amounts or comparisons. Examples of math words are more, less, big, small, tall, short, round, square, equal. 

5. Make groups.

Children learn to say strings of numbers before they truly understand the meaning of numbers. After they learn to count numbers out loud, the next step is understanding how many things each number stands for. "Five" isn't just a word that comes after "four;" the word five represents five of something. Count objects, like socks or blocks, and put them in a group so your child can see the whole set.  

6. Make it a game.

Have fun with counting. You can count 1, 2, 3, and then let your child say 4, 5, 6. If you're walking down the sidewalk, you can clap after every 5 sidewalk lines. All sorts of everyday objects and activities can be turned into math games. You know that you're building a healthy brain, but your child simply enjoys the fun and loves bonding with you!

7. Name shapes.

Shapes are everywhere! Look for them with your child and name them.

"The clock is a circle. Do you see any other circles in this room?"

"The sign is a rectangle. What other rectangles do you see outside?" 

8. Match and sort.

Make a game of matching and sorting objects. For example, let your child match socks while you do laundry. Your child can match and sort items by their shape, color, size, or other features. 

When you make math a fun and daily part of life with your child, you are teaching them to become a math person! And you may find that you actually enjoy math more than you realized. : )

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The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life! We're choosing one Basic a month, sharing an overview here on the blog and other resources you don't want to miss through social media.

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

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


Why Talking, Singing, and Pointing are Superpowers + 6 Everyday Ideas

 

If you’re a parent or caregiver, have you found yourself talking to your baby as you’ve changed their diaper?

Do you sometimes hear parents in the grocery story talking to their infants about what they’re buying or the things they see, even though the baby is too young to understand?

This instinct to talk, sing, and point with our babies and young children may seem silly. If you’ve been surprised to find yourself singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider while buttoning a onesie, we have good news:

Talking, singing, and pointing with your baby are actually some of the most important things you can do to build a strong and healthy brain!

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 to what you are talking about, you provide clues to the meaning of what you are saying. 

Talking is teaching.

We neglect the power and significance of interactions like talking, singing and pointing with our young children because they seem so simple. But the simplicity is what makes it so wonderful. Anyone can do this, regardless of education, income, or singing ability. (Thank goodness.)

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.

 

If you’re new here, the Palmetto Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!

80% of brain development happens in the first three years of life. We want to help parents and caregivers seize the opportunity of these early years and provide a foundation for all future learning.

The best thing about the Basics is that you can incorporate them into family life every single day. Being responsive to your baby’s needs, talking as you go through the day, counting their toes, giving them opportunity to play, enjoying books together – these simple activities matter more than you realize.

 

Here are six everyday ways you can talk, sing and point with your baby or toddler:

1. Talk a lot.

Talk to your baby during activities like changing, feeding, bathing, and errands. Describe what you are doing. Name and point to the objects around you.

2. Add ideas.

Help grow your child’s “word bank” by expanding on what he says. For example, if he says “doggie,” you can respond with, “Yes, that is a doggie. That doggie is brown and soft.”

3. Use your hands.

When you talk about something, point to it. This helps your child understand what you mean. Encourage your child to point, too. “Can you point to the triangle?” This will help them connect words to objects.

4. Sing and recite.

Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes. Choose ones you remember from your own childhood, read in books, or make up new ones.

5. Go back and forth.

When your baby makes a sound, show excitement in your face and voice! Respond to their sound with words and see how long you can keep the “conversation” going.

6. Listen and respond.

Listen to your toddler’s questions and answer them. Have a conversation. This is when the most powerful learning takes place.

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We're choosing one Basic a month, sharing an overview here on the blog and other resources you don't want to miss through social media. 

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 with their little ones.
  • 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!

 

 

 


What Every Parent Needs to Know About Love and Stress

Eighty percent of brain growth happens in the first three years of life!

The Palmetto Basics initiative is about equipping all parents with the simple tools they need to seize the opportunity of the early years.

These 5 fun, simple, powerful ways include "Basics" you're probably familiar with: talking, singing, counting, reading.

But there's one Basic that serves as a foundation for all the rest. It prepares young brains and bodies to learn, to adapt, to relate to others, and to thrive in all areas of life. 

What is this all-important, number one, foundational basic that ALL parents need to focus on before anything else?

We doubt you'll see this information in the newborn ward at your local hospital. 

Neighborhood preschools likely won't have a poster about it in the lobby.

Your church nursery probably isn't handing out brochures on love and stress.

The Palmetto Basics initiative is working to change this (and we'd love to have your help!) But first, it's important to know why issues of love and stress matter so much in the life and brain development of a young child. 

First let's talk about "Maximize Love" and what that looks like in everyday life:

Children thrive when the world seems loving, safe, and predictable. 

When you respond to the needs of your newborn or toddler, you teach them that they can count on you. This helps them feel secure. 

Holding, kissing, and cuddling your young child helps them feel loved and safe. 

Simple, everyday routines provide a world that's predictable and secure. Having consistent rhythms for eating, bathing, and bedtime helps children easily transition from one thing to the next because they know what to expect. 

Now let's talk about "Managing Stress," why it matters and what it looks like in everyday life:

You can't always avoid stress. But you can learn to cope effectively when you do deal with daily stress or encounter unforeseen stressful circumstances. And you can teach your child to do the same. 

In the same way that children thrive when the world seems loving, safe, and predictable, children suffer when their world is neglectful, unsafe, and chaotic. 

Young children are greatly affected by the stress of their parents and caregivers. Even babies can feel the stress of a parent. 

It's crucial that parents find healthy ways to cope with stress as they also care for their children. Not doing so can having a lasting effect on a young child's brain and emotions.

Here are some practical ways to manage stress:

  • Make "self-care" a priority. Sometimes you may only be able to grab one minute to walk away and take deep breaths so that you can return to your child with more calm and less anxiety. Sometimes you may have more time and can find a stress-relieving activity: exercise, a nap while your child rests, prayer or meditation, calling a trusted friend you can talk to.
  • Get outside. Take your child for a walk or to the park. Taking a break helps you to "let it go," and find peace and perspective.
  • Find a local agency that provides services and support to parents.
  • Contact a local faith community.

Research shows that a solid foundation of love and security helps children focus, adapt to new situations, control their emotions, and begin school ready to learn. 

We're excited to share more about The Palmetto Basics with you in the coming weeks and months.

We're choosing one Basic a month, sharing an overview here on the blog and other resources you don't want to miss through social media.

While all the Basics matter and are the 5 best things you can do for your young child, there's a reason that Maximizing Love and Managing Stress is the first and most important Basic! 

Here are some resources that can help you on your journey of Maximizing Love and Managing Stress:

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are Maximizing Love and Managing Stress. 
  • 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!

 


Kickoff Events, May 5th

Please join us on May 5th for the launch of the Palmetto Basics, a community wide early learning campaign aimed at equipping parents and caregivers of children ages 0-3 with a simple but effective set of five research-based tools they can use to prepare their kids for high achievement in school. 

Helping us launch the Palmetto Basics will be Ron Ferguson, an MIT-trained economist who has taught at Harvard University since 1983. His research, writing,and consulting over four decades have focused on issues of education and economic development. He is the faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University and a fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.
We are excited to offer two different times to learn about Palmetto Basics.

If you live and/or work in Greenville, Spartanburg, or Laurens Counties, please choose the May 5th, 8:00am breakfast event. This event will be held at Thornblade Club in Greer from 8:00-9:30am. If you live and or work in Pickens, Anderson, or Oconee Counties, please choose the May 5th 11:30am lunch event. This event will be held at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center in Liberty, SC from 11:30am-1:00pm.

Click this link to register! 

First Steps to School Readiness Upstate County Partnerships
Organizer of Palmetto Basics Launch


Palmetto Basics is brought to you by Greenville County First Steps, Pickens County First Steps, and Spartanburg County First Steps. 


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