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!


Keep calm and connect with your child: simple ways to change the way you communicate (even in the midst of conflict)

Talking with your child from the very beginning is one of the most important things you can do to build a healthy brain and emotional security.

Children learn language from the moment they are born through relationships with their caregivers. 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 and create strong relational connection. This is why “Talking, Singing and Pointing” is one of The Basics: 5 fun, simple, powerful ways every child can get a great start in life! 

But it's not just the quantity of words spoken to your child that matters. The quality of the words you speak make a huge difference in your child's confidence, security, and connection to you. It's important to use more positive words than negative words, which can be challenging with young children who are prone to meltdowns and pushing your buttons. 

We've rounded up five resources that provide practical tips and phrases as you practice speaking words that build connection and love, even in the midst of conflict and defiance. 

1. Say This To Your Kids Instead (from KCBI FM)

What you say to your little ones means A LOT. There is no doubt frustration happens so, maybe this list of suggestions can help. Read more

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2. Say this, not that. A parent's guide. (from Imperfect Parent)

Are you tired of being ignored? Feeling frustrated that your kids respond to you with grunts and “I don’t know?”

Sometimes, the way we phrase things can make a big difference. It’s not always easy to remember what to say or how to say it, especially when your child is in the middle of a meltdown.

So, here’s a quick reference guide for parents. Read more

 

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3. How to talk to kids so they RESPOND! (from Teach Through Love)

Would you like to know how to talk to kids using peaceful conflict resolution strategies to ease tension, or calm aggressive behavior in your children?

Often, we can be triggered by our own unresolved traumas - big and small - and this can make it extremely challenging to remain compassionate as we confront our kid's BIG, explosive emotions. (Read more)

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4. 7 phrases to try instead of saying 'no'  (from motherly)

We have a small challenge for you: count the number of times you say "no" on a given day. Your baby pulls the cat's fur, your toddler throws a ball at her brother, your child whines for a cookie before dinner—the temptation to say no is almost irresistible. It rolls off the tongue. It feels like the easiest way to get your point across.

But what if there was an even better way to communicate your message? What if you could choose words that connect you to your kids and make you feel more confident and effective? You can, mama. Read more

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5. 50 Ways to Encourage a Child (from TeachThought)

There are many ways to encourage a child, but for students of any age, honest, authentic, and persistent messages from adults that have credibility in their eyes are among the most powerful. Read more

 

Here are some additional 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!

 


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