5 Fun Ways to Turn Meal-time into MATH-time!

Believe it or not, babies are born with ready brains for learning numbers, patterns, sizes, shapes, and comparisons. Using everyday moments, you can help your child build a healthy brain that’s prepared for problem-solving and math!

Here are 5 fun and simple ideas: 

1. If you have a baby who is eating cereal or table food, count each bite as you feed them with a spoon.

Using a fun, sing-song voice as you count shows your baby that counting is fun!

2. As your child can feed himself finger foods like Cheerios, count out a certain number and put them in a group.

“Let’s count 5 Cheerios! 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5!”

 Counting individual items teaches your child that numbers correspond with objects.

3. Once your child understands that numbers represents objects, you can begin doing simple addition and subtraction.

“How many chicken nuggets are on your plate? That’s right, 5. If you eat 2, how many are left?” 

"How many carrots will you have if I give you 1 more?"

They may not know the answers at first, but you can take this opportunity to point to the items and count with them. 

4. Have fun with patterns and shapes at meal-time.

Create a simple pattern such as carrot, grape, carrot, grape. Then let you child create her own patterns with finger foods.

Meal-time is also a great opportunity to talk about shapes! 

"What shape is your cracker?"

5. Teach comparisons such a big, small, heavy and light.

“Which piece of fruit is bigger? The apple slice or the strawberry.”

“What’s heavier, the banana or the apple?” 

What are some of your favorite ways to make Basic #3, “Count, Group, and Compare” part of your daily routine?

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80% of a child’s brain development happens in the first 3 years of life. Let's seize the opportunity! The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!

Best of all, you can make the Basics part of your everyday family routines (like the mealtime examples above.) 

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

  • Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are making "Count, Group, and Compare" part of everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
  • 8 Simple Ways Your Child Can Become a Math Person
  • 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 to those within your circle of influence!  

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3 Simple Ways YOU Can Help Parents Maximize Love & Manage Stress (right where you are)

 

The Palmetto Basics equips every parent and caregiver with the basic tools they need to give all kids a great start in life!

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and it's important to understand how the very first Basic, "Maximize Love and Manage Stress," is the number one way to promote great childhoods and help prevent child abuse within our own homes and communities. 

Children thrive when their world seems loving, safe, and predictable. When parents express love and respond to their child's needs, the child feels secure. Parents also need to take steps to avoid too much stress and learn to cope effectively when stress is unavoidable. But it's harder for parents to manage stress when they are running on empty and lack support. 

Believe it or not, we all have a part to play in promoting great childhoods and preventing abuse. It begins with supporting the parents right around you in simple, everyday ways. 

Here are 3 everyday ways YOU can help parents and caregivers in your community Maximize Love & Manage Stress. 

1. Pay attention.

When parents live in a constant state of stress and instability, they are far more vulnerable to abusing and neglecting children. Too much stress, in the form of sleep-deprivation, financial hardship, and family crisis, can push even a loving parent to snap.

This is why the first and most foundational basic is "Maximize Love & Manage Stress." 

When you understand the importance of this and begin to pay attention, you can make a positive impact in the life of a child, even as you go about your daily routine. 

Imagine this scenario: You're standing behind a mom in the grocery store line at 5:30 pm. The furrowed brow and circles under her eyes tell you that she's exhausted and overwhelmed. She simply wants to survive the checkout line and get the kids and groceries into the car. 

What if you could be the unexpected encouragement that helps to steady a stressed-out parent, equipping them to make it through the day?

It begins with noticing her. You might buy a cold drink from the checkout cooler and say something like, I bet it’s been a long day. Here you go. Take it, I insist. You’re doing an awesome job, putting food on the table and keeping up with these energetic kids. 

There are countless ways this scenario might show up in your everyday life but they all have the same simple responses in common — pay attention and offer practical, everyday kindness.

You've heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." It's absolutely true. When you provide timely encouragement to a parent, you help them manage stress. And when you help a parent manage stress, they are less prone to react in unsafe ways and better equipped to respond in love to their children. Your everyday compassion may save the day for an overwhelmed parent and a vulnerable child. 

2. Share what you can.

You probably have more to give than you think. We tend to take our own privilege for granted and assume we need more time, more money, or a measure of expertise to “pay it forward” and really make a difference. But what if we begin to adopt an everyday, give-what-I-have mentality?

Parents both above and below the poverty line suffer from financial stress that piles on top of everyday burdens, threatening the stability of their family and their emotional health. When that happens, the safety and security of children are also at risk.

When the bills are piling up and the baby is crying. When the creditors won’t stop calling and the kids won’t stop fighting. When the bank is threatening to foreclose and the toddler just threw shoes in the toilet.

There are families in need right around you. Any person can be one job loss or one costly emergency away from dire financial straits and the resulting stress. With this in mind, there are resources you have that can ease someone’s burden and make a difference.

Who do you know that could use the clothes your child just grew out of? And if you don’t know of someone, ask your school or church. What local charity or family in need would appreciate the gently-used sofa you recently replaced? How about the Spiderman bedding your child has outgrown or the non-perishables in your pantry?

These are simple ways to share what you have and help a burdened parent. If you’re able to give in other ways, whether it’s a grocery store gift card or paying someone’s utility bill, know that your generosity can result in a ripple effect of change!

3. Serve where you are. 

  • Your faith community. Have you considered that when you serve in your church nursery, you're helping parents Maximize Love & Manage Stress? Churches offer invaluable support by providing nursery care and children's programming so that weary parents can be strengthened mentally and spiritually, equipping them with the rest and renewal they need to keep going. 
  • Your neighborhood. Take the time to get to know the families around you. Pay attention to parents who seem stressed, and offer to help by watching their kids, providing a listening ear, or sharing what you have. 
  • Meals for new moms. Providing a meal to a new mother helps get her through a critical time when she is desperate for life's most basic needs like sleep, sanity, and a hot shower. A meal not only helps lighten her load by providing food; a meal represents love and support, reminding a new mom that she isn't alone.

Ultimately, promoting great childhoods and preventing abuse boils down to this — being a good neighbor. Do you desire the same stability and opportunities for the children of your community that you desire for your own children and grandchildren? It begins with paying attention to simple opportunities you encounter every day — in the grocery store, at the park, in your church, as you donate the things you no longer need, and give in ways that you can.

Together, we can help provide great childhoods!

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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 Tips for Building a Healthy Brain with Books!

Eighty percent of brain development happens within the first three years of life. During these early years of brain growth, infants and toddlers absorb massive amounts of information from interacting with other people. This early learning becomes the foundation for all future learning!

One of the most important ways to seize the opportunity of the early years is through reading to your young child just 15 minutes a day. The more we read to young children, the more prepared they become to enjoy reading and do well in school.

When you read to your infant, they learn how books work and develop new language skills. They learn to associate warm, fuzzy feelings with books and learning. It's a wonderful way to bond with your baby and create simple routines. When you read to your toddler, you teach them to use their imaginations; they learn about people, places, and things that can be important building blocks to later life success.

This is why "Read & Discuss Stories" is one of the Palmetto Basics -- 5 fun, simple, and powerful ways that every child can get a great start in life!

Simple practices create lasting foundations.

Whether you have a baby or a preschooler, here are 8 simple tips for reading and discussing stories: 

1. Read to your child early and often.

You can begin reading to your child even when he or she is a baby. Research shows that children who don’t have as many words in their “word bank” are less ready for school, less prepared for academic success, and less able to follow instructions.  

Reading to your child from their earliest days is a simple way to expose them to words, pictures, and the simple rhythms of turning pages and hearing your voice.  

2. Actively involve them.

As your baby gets older and develops coordination, involve them more in the reading experience. Let them hold the book and turn the pages.

3. Make it a positive experience

Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t want to read to young children because it’s a struggle. They interrupt, they wiggle, they get up and walk away.

When reading to babies and toddlers, there’s just one goal: give them positive experiences with books.

They’re learning how to look at a book and how to turn the pages. They’re hearing your voice. They’re receiving deposits in their word bank. They’re looking at pictures and pointing or watching you point. When they get tired or squirmy, close the book and move on. Keep it fun, for you and for your child!

4. Make reading together part of your routine.

Reading a book before naptime and bedtime helps children wind down and provides a regular point in the day to read together.

5. Describe the pictures.

With infants, you don’t need to read the word on the pages. Instead, describe what is happening in the pictures. Talk about the colors, shapes, and what the characters and doing. Point to the page when you do this. Books provide all sorts of learning opportunities beyond reading!

6. Have books available.

Having a book basket in the living room or keeping a book tote to keep in the car communicates that reading is an important part of your world. Keep a book in your diaper bag and tucked in the basket of your stroller. Instead of handing your child a screen, hand them a book!

7. Visit the library often.

Children LOVE the library. And libraries love children.

Not only can children begin to fill up their own library bags from an early age, they can also enjoy the fun and play surrounding literacy. Take advantage of the many preschool opportunities your local library has to offer!

8. Discuss stories.

Your toddler will learn the most if you have conversations while you read. Respond to their comments and questions about the story. Ask questions that get them thinking. “Why is the boy sad?” “What do you think is going to happen next?”

As your child gets older, go a step further. Retelling the story back to you {called "narration"} is a wonderful tool for language development. Let them go back through the book, using pictures to help them. As they mature, so does their ability to retell a story back to you!

We hope these tips encourage you to make books a simple but important part of your everyday routine with your child! For both parents and children, times together with books form fond and lasting memories.

 

 

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 helping their young children "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!

 

 


Why Your Young Child's Brain Needs Movement & Play + 7 Simple Ideas!

Young children are born "movers." A child's first 12-18 months of life are filled with exciting "movement milestones!"

  • Learning to raise her head and look around
  • Raising up his torso while having tummy time on the floor
  • Flailing tiny arms and kicking newborn feet during diaper changes
  • Rolling over, scooting, and crawling
  • Taking those first wobbly steps
  • Learning to run, fall, and get back up again 

And that's just the beginning of a young child's relationship with movement and play!

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. Each stage of development comes with new opportunities for learning. For example, 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!

When your baby is crawling, when your toddler is climbing the ladder to the slide, when your preschooler is tossing a ball, they are actually building the architecture of their rapidly developing brain. As young children explore their surroundings, their brains build mental maps of places and spaces. 

This is why "Explore Through Movement and Play" is one of the 5 Basics that every child needs to get a great start in life!

Here are 7 simple ways for parents to encourage exploration through movement and play:

1. Give your baby 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. 

2. Play peek-a-boo. This game teaches infants that objects and people exist even when hidden. It's also a fun way to bond with your child! Best of all, you can play games like this during everyday activities like diaper changes or bath time. 

3. Make art. Drawing, even if it's just scribbling with crayons on scrap paper, is a good way for little hands to build strong muscles and for little minds to develop creativity. 

4. Get outside as much as possible and encourage natural exploration wherever you are. Grass, leaves, flowers, and rocks are all fascinating to young children! The world is a brand new place for them and they learn by engaging with the everyday objects of their home and outside world. As your child explores, point to objects and say things like, "This is a leaf. It falls from the tree." (This is a great way to do Basic #2: Talk, Sing, and Point!

5. Build an obstacle course indoors. Use blankets, pillows, or boxes. See if your child can go over, under, around, and through these objects.

6. Use "position words." Whether you're at the park or indoors, use words like over, under, near, far, through, and around as your child engages in these activities. 

7. Visit the playground. Climbing, swinging, jumping, and hanging from monkey bars provide outlets for a young child's boundless energy while also building strong bodies and brains. 

Though movement and play come naturally to babies and young children, we live in a world where television screens, computer monitors, and smart phones are part of everyday life. It's tempting to rely on devices and digital entertainment for your young child instead of making sure they get plenty of physical activity and natural play.  

Because 80% of brain development happens in the first three years of life, it's important to seize the opportunity and give your child a great beginning! The more you practice "The Basics," the more they will become a simple part of everyday life for you and for your child. 

Know that when you put away the screen and encourage your child to engage with the real world around them, you are building a powerful brain, preparing them for school and for life! 

 

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 helping their young children "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!

 

 


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!

 


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