10 reasons it’s important to talk with your child from the very beginning!

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

The 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, you know what we're talking about. 

The good news is that talking, singing, and pointing with your baby or young child 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 conversation with young children because it seems so simple. But the simplicity is what makes it so wonderful. Anyone can do this.

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 one of the 5 Basics every child needs to get a great start in life. Here are 10 reasons it’s so important to talk with your child from the very beginning: 

1. You’re teaching them what communication is about, what love is about, and what relationships are about.

2. Talking to your child from a very young age is a way of constantly offering them information, and this helps them feel valued, important, and respected. 

3. Talking teaches them what conversation looks like: how to listen, how to respond, how to take turns.

4. Responding to their babbling and early forms of talking builds their confidence to express themselves with words later on.

5. The more words they hear, the more words they can use. When a child has a “language-rich” environment, they are better prepared for school and for life. Think of words as nourishment for a child’s brain!

Research shows that that “verbally engaging with babies—listening to their gurgles and coos and then responding, conversation-style—may speed up their language development more than simply talking at them or around them.”

6. Talking is more than just speaking. Pointing and singing should be used too. Pointing to what you're talking about helps to name objects for your child. When you point and sing, it also models pointing and singing for your child, which provides them with additional ways to communicate with you, even before their speaking skills are fully developed.

7. When conversation is a regular part of your relationship with your young child, it helps set the stage for the later years.

8. By asking your toddler “engaging questions,” they learn to expand their language and unpack their ideas. For example, if your child says, “There’s a doggie!” You can respond with, “Yes, that’s a doggie! What color is that doggie?” or “Why do you think that doggie has fur?”

9. Talking is an opportunity to answer the many questions your child has and helps them learn about the world. Remember, everything about the world is brand new to your young child! They ask a lot of questions because they are naturally curious and want to learn. Use their questions as an opportunity to teach them.  

10. Our words matter. They have power. Not just for healthy language development, but for emotional development. Words are an incredible way to communicate to your child how special they are, how loved they are, how valued they are. Be purposeful with your words and use them in ways that build up your child. 

  

 

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!


3 Things You Can Do TODAY to Maximize Love & Manage Stress

Why is it so important to be parents and caregivers who “maximize love?” Because  love is foundational to a child’s health and success. It’s the number one thing every child needs and deserves. Children thrive when their world seems loving, safe, and predictable, and when parents are able to respond to their child's needs with love.

For a parent to be able to maximize love, they have to learn how to manage their own stress. This means taking steps to avoid unnecessary stress and learning to cope effectively when stress is unavoidable.

Here are 3 things you can do today:

1. Have a person.

It’s so difficult for parents to maximize love and manage stress when they're running on empty and lack support. Even the most loving parent can snap under too much stress. But when a mom or dad has a friend or family member they can call, it can make all the difference.

Having support doesn’t eliminate a parent’s stress, but it does provide the support they need to cope. Having a person, or a group of people, provides perspective, love, reassurance, and maybe even tangible help.

Managing stress isn’t just about healthy coping strategies. Managing stress requires supportive relationships..

2. Take a break.

Rare is the parent of a young child who can get a full day away, much less a mom’s weekend away. Instead, it’s helpful to build in breaks throughout the day, moments that serve as a reset. A “time out” for yourself can help you find perspective. It provides space for emotions to die down or for your head to clear.

A break can look like:

  • Taking one minute to walk away and take deep breaths so that you can return to your child with more calm and less anxiety
  • A stress-relieving activity: exercise, a nap while your child rests, prayer or meditation, calling a trusted friend
  • Taking a break with your child by going to the park, taking a walk, being in nature, and simply having a change of scenery

 

3. Prioritize sleep and rest.

This doesn’t sound glamorous, but prioritizing your own sleep is crucial for your mental, emotional, relational, and physical health. In the same way that your child is more prone to tantrums, whining, and lack of perspective when they don’t get a nap or a good night of sleep, it’s hard for grown-ups to manage stress and love others well when we don’t get the rest we need.

It’s normal to need some time to yourself once your child goes to sleep, but that can easily turn into staying up too late watching TV or scrolling through social media. Don’t let screens rob you of what you really need for renewal: sleep. 

For one week, try choosing an earlier bedtime over mindless scrolling or watching and see if you feel like a better, more rested version of yourself. : )

Sleep equals sanity. It’s simple but true.

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 #1, "Maximize Love, Manage 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!  


Reading stories together can help your child process difficult emotions. (Plus some booklists that can help!)

Stories are a great tool for connecting to your child’s “inner world” in a way that regular conversation doesn’t always touch.

We all struggle with how to handle uncomfortable emotions like anger, fear, nervousness, sadness, and grief. Learning how to acknowledge uncomfortable feelings is a crucial part of growing into an emotionally healthy person. The earlier our children learn to accept and process uncomfortable emotions, the better equipped they are to handle transitions, everyday disappointments, and relationships with others.  

Books can be a simple and powerful tool to help them on their journey! Children can connect to the emotions of characters in a story in ways that help them feel less alone. They can also learn how to empathize with others and show compassion. When children see that a character in a book experiences the same fear or nervousness as them, they realize these feelings are normal.

When uncomfortable emotions present themselves, you can refer back to a story, reminding your child of how the character felt and what happened in the book.

Let stories become a jumping off point for questions and thoughtful conversations with your child. Sharing meaningful books together can also help you connect with your child on a deeper level, making them feel safe and secure. (You may be surprised by the ways they help you too!)

Here are some great lists of books for young children that can help them handle uncomfortable emotions. Your local library will have many of these titles.

Books to Help Kids Handle All Kinds of Uncomfortable Emotions

23 Children’s Books About Emotions for Kids with Big Feelings

11 Smart Books to Help Get Your Kids Ready for Preschool or Kindergarten

17 Children's Books For Anxious Kids

 

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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 "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!


How bubbles, balloons, blocks, and boxes can provide hours of fun!

Are you looking for indoor and outdoor ideas to keep you your child busy and active? We’re here to help!

Movement and play help young children develop coordination, strength, overall health, and school readiness. Exploring through movement and play is how little ones learn about the world; each stage of development comes with new and exciting opportunities for learning!

Hot summer weather can make it a challenge to keep little ones engaged and active without resorting to screens. We understand that it’s tempting to simply turn on the TV or the iPad instead of encouraging activities that will stimulate the brain and the body in the ways a young child needs. But we hope these simple activities will help you and your child have fun, stay active, and burn off some energy!

1. Have fun chasing balloons and bubbles!

 

Going outside with balloons and bubbles is a fun, simple, and inexpensive way to keep your young child occupied. There are so many great brain building and body-strengthening activities that balloons and bubbles can provide!

Because children can’t predict where the balloons and bubbles will go, chasing them are a great way for kids to develop gross motor skills (and burn up lots of energy!)

Kids can chase bubbles and try to pop as many as possible. While chasing them, children have to run, jump, zigzag and move in ways that require sudden shifts in balance and weight. The same is true when throwing and trying to catch or kick balloons. You can also set up a game of balloon volleyball in the yard.

* Be sure to keep a close eye when children are playing with balloons as popped balloon pieces can be a choking hazard

 Thanks to Aging With Flair, LLC for these ideas!

2. Block play

Source: www.blockfest.org

Blocks are a wonderful activity for young children for many reasons!

  • Blocks can include wooden blocks, plastic blocks, Duplos, or Legos. (Remove any extra small blocks or Lego pieces that could be choking hazards.) 
  • Blocks develop fine motor skills in fingers and hands as children learn to pick up and stack the blocks.
  • Blocks build a child’s imagination as they imagine objects to build and learn to create from that mental picture.
  • Blocks are useful for sorting objects into groups by size, shape, and color. Children can make patterns with blocks, count them, and compare them. In this way, blocks help children develop important early math skills!

For lots of ideas on block play, visit www.blockfest.org and follow them on Facebook.

3. Boxes

Empty boxes can keep a child occupied for hours!

  • Several boxes are fun to build with or to stack and knock down.
  • Boxes are great for making an obstacle course, for climbing in and out of, for jumping over, or filling up with items around the house.
  • Children can turn a large box into a house, truck, or rocket ship!
  • Provide crayons or washable markers so they can get creative with their boxes.

We hope these ideas provide fresh ideas for play during these challenging days. Know that when you put away the screens 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! 

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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 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!

You may also enjoy:

15 Screen-Free Indoor Activities to Keep a Young Child Busy

7 Simple Ideas for Exploring through Movement and Play (and why your child's brain needs it!) 

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

10 Everyday Ways Your Child Can Explore Through Movement and Play (even when it’s hot outside) 


How everyday conversation can help your prepare your child for math!

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:

Your diaper bag is heavy.  //  Let's go up the stairs.  //  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!

SHARE THIS POST ON FACEBOOK

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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 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!


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