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!

 


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!

 

 

 


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