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Mommy Burnout!


By Bright by Three - December 6, 2019

Dear Mommas,

You are true heroes. Parenting is one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences. You are so good at dusting yourself off after a long day of carpools, temper tantrums, picky eating, and drippy noses. We are proud of you for enduring, but we realize that sometimes you just get burned out -- Mommy Burnout. Every mommy needs a break, but we don’t always know how to take one. Here’s some expert advice to help moms like you decompress. 

Here are some tips to help you de-stress:

  • Yoga or a relaxing stretch 
  • Deep breathing
  • Picture a calming location 
  • Talk with a close friend or family member
  • Exercise outside
  • Write out your feelings on paper or journal
  • Take a few minutes of “alone time” to re-group


If you feel like you’re too busy, check out these tips for simplifying your life.
Prioritize 

  • Create time to focus on yourself.
  • Create time to focus on your family.
  • Move less important things lower on your “to-do” list.
  • Focus on one task at a time.

Plan

  • Schedule screen-free time into every day.
  • Make a weekly meal schedule.
  • Schedule in a good night’s sleep.
  • Display your commitment to “less”
  • Create a family calendar and prove that it’s manageable.


Recognizing that you need help can be difficult. Remember that the strongest parents have the strongest network of support.

Here are some signs that a stronger network might make you a happier parent:

  • You frequently feel like you need to be in two places at once
  • You feel like a chauffeur
  • You wake up anxious that your kids will make you late for your day
  • Your current network is broken (e.g. relocation, divorce, family disagreements, etc.)

Tips for building a stronger village:

  • Find a partner for each area of your life (e.g. a work partner, an exercise partner)
  • Practice trusting your reliable friends and family to help you out with advice, carpooling, or finding solutions for stressful situations
  • Connect with your community - stop and talk with your neighbors or other parents you see regularly
  • Join a community club or group 
  • Connect with parents who have older kids and can serve as your parenting mentors

Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-4 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up! Also, check out Dr. Sheryl Ziegler’s book, Mommy Burnout for more advice on how to unclutter your life, manage stress, and be a heroic mother!

*Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.
 

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Making Mealtimes Fun


By Bright by Three - October 25, 2019

It can be hard to keep your child interested in healthy foods with so many snack options available. Good nutrition is a key part of building muscle, having energy and growing up. We’ve got some great tips and lots of snack time recipes to help you steer your little one away from the corn syrup and junk food, and toward the leafy greens and ripe fruits. 

Many children enjoy planting a seed and watching it grow. Together, you can plant a quick-growing seed like a bean or radish, and watch its progress. This gives children a sense of accomplishment and sparks an interest in trying a new vegetables that you grew together.

Try taking your kids to the farmer’s market to stimulate a love for healthy foods. When children can help shop and choose healthy local foods, they are more likely to enjoy eating those foods and keep their healthy eating habits long into the future.

Snack time is a great opportunity to get more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your child’s diet. Check out some healthy snack ideas:

Instead of fruit-flavored snacks…
Make Fruit Salad
  • Wash and peel a variety of colorful fruits.
  • Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces. Combine in a large bowl.
  • Cut lime in half. Squeeze the juice over the fruit.
  • Drizzle a Tablespoon of honey if you like.
  • Stir ingredients to combine and enjoy!
Instead of snack or energy bars…
Make Banana Crunch
  • Mash a large ripe banana in a bowl or Ziploc bag.
  • Add ½ cup of granola.
  • Add a dash of cinnamon. 
  • Mix ingredients together.
  • Spread mixture onto whole wheat wafers or graham crackers and enjoy!
Note: Have kids make these tasty snacks in a bag! Allowing kids to help you make these snacks in Ziploc bags reduces clean-up and saves time.

Instead of cheesy crackers…
Make Fruit and Cheese Kabobs
  • Cut block cheese into small cubes.
  • Wash, peel, and cut a variety of colorful fruits into bite-sized pieces.
  • Slide food onto coffee stirrer “skewers” or whole wheat pretzel sticks. Switch between fruit and cheese pieces.

Instead of frozen fruit snacks…

Make Frozen Fruit Poppers
  1. Wash and peel a variety of colorful fruits.
  2. Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces. Place in a freezer safe bag.
  3. Let freeze in freezer. Pull out and enjoy!

 
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Leap for Literacy

Bright by Text Tips during National Literacy Month

Bright by Three - September 3, 2019

Grab a book during National Literacy Month! Did you know that 65% of fourth graders are not proficient in reading in America according to Kids Count 2019? Taking simple steps can help ensure that  your child will go from babbling to book reading in their first 5 years of life. It’s up to you to read, talk, and sing with your young ones so they can learn new words and string longer sentences together. 

Here are some awesome tips to get you going at any age so your child is on track to succeed in school. 

Reading with Baby
It’s never too early to read with your child, so start early. Keep things interesting with these ideas:
  • Use silly voices when you read, and soon your baby will begin to make silly sounds too. 
  • Point at pictures and say the names of objects out loud. Your baby will listen and learn the importance of language.
  • Hold your baby on your lap while you read, and make eye contact.
  • Read for a few minutes every night at bedtime. This is a soothing routine that will end any day on a positive note.
  • Read on the go! Share a book while riding the bus or waiting in line.
  • Babies love to be bounced and rocked to the rhythm of chants, nursery rhymes, and songs that go with a book. Repeating those experiences during diaper changing or in the car will delight your child and make deeper connections in their brain development.

Between ages 1 and 2, your child will go through a language explosion turning single words into small sentences! Try creating a word box to boost your child’s vocabulary! Here’s how:
  • Find a box and fill it with lots of items that interest your child. You might try items like a ball, doll, stuffed animal, cracker, cup, block, book, or bottle.
  • Start by picking one interesting item. Show it to the child and say, “This is a _______. We do_______with it.” For example, This is a teddy bear. We cuddle with the teddy bear. 
  • Pretend to use the item. If it is a phone, you can pretend to talk on it, for example. Next, repeat the name and return it to the box, saying, “I’m putting the phone in the box.”
  • After that, encourage your child to look in the box by saying, “What’s in the box?” Give him a chance to respond. If he makes a sound, say, “Yes, that’s a _______,” and say the name again. If he does not respond vocally, answer your own question. For example, “Oh, that’s a _______.”
  • Return the object to the box, and encourage the child to look again.

Music and singing are brain builders for your toddler. Try to put a little rhythm and rhyme in your routine every day!
  • Let him be in charge. When riding in the car, ask your child to choose a song to sing. Children are not often “in charge” of things in their lives. It’s fun for them to be in charge of the songs in the car.
  • Dance and move around. Sing a song with lots of movement or dancing in it - like the Hokey Pokey! Your child will be learning lots of new words, and the movement makes learning even more fun.
  • Add instruments. Young toddlers will enjoy instruments they can shake, such as bells, rattles, drums, and tambourines. Make your own shaker with a paper cup filled with rice or dried beans and taped shut.
  • Use music to change your toddler’s mood. Soft, gentle music seems just right for bedtime. Louder, bouncier music could be used when it’s time to clean up toys.

Literacy learning is most effective when it comes from the child's world, which includes going to the grocery store.
Focus on reading readiness skills
  • Choose a letter as you're walking into the store. Make a game of finding things in the store that start with that letter. For example, for the letter "p" you could find peanuts, popcorn, pineapple, paper and pizza. Emphasize the letter "p" and the sound it makes with each of your "p" words.

Focus on vocabulary skills
  • Position words are used every day at home and in the classroom. Use the items on the grocery shelf so your child can practice finding something above their belly button, below their nose, on the bottom shelf, and between other items on a shelf.
  • Opportunities to use superlatives, those little endings that help describe size, are all around the grocery store. Have your child find a big fruit, a bigger fruit and the biggest fruit in the produce section. What's the smallest item in the cart? The largest item?

Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-4 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up!

*Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.
 
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Do the Math!

Math learning begins at a very early age.

Bright by Three - August 1, 2019

Math learning begins at a very early age. While making sure kids read is super important, you should also practice everyday math with your child. As your child’s first math teacher, you will foster these early skills.

Check out this video about how to incorporate math into your daily routine

Set aside time specifically to practice math. Five minutes a day is helpful to build math confidence. If you write down an activity, you are more likely to do it! Here’s how:
  • Write down how many minutes you will spend doing math activities each week. Put this goal in a place where you and your child will see it often to remind you.
  • Set an alarm to remind you that it’s “math time” every day.
  • Tell a good friend or family member about your goal to make your goal public.
Math is all around you! It’s easy to come up with daily activities and games to play with your child that are fun. Try these activities:
  • In the kitchen, use pots and pans to talk about ‘bigger’ and ‘smaller’ and ‘more’ or ‘less’, this is math talk.
  • In the grocery store, use prices to talk about numbers.
  • Use clocks to talk about time.
  • Look for patterns on your walks to the park or to school.
  • Make math a part of your child’s play time. Count toys as you take them out or put them away.
  • Go on an adventure around your home and count all the chairs you may have.
  • Ask your child to count every window anytime you walk into a new building.
It is okay for children to make mistakes during math time, praise effort! Remember:
  • Learning math will take practice and effort.
  • The more you practice math at home, the stronger your child’s math skills become. 
Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-5 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up! *Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.

 

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Raising Readers

We all know reading is important, and summer is a great time to fine tune that still!

Bright by Three - July 1, 2019

We all know reading is important, and summer is a great time to fine tune that still! Whether your child is checking off books for a summer reading program or just learning how to sound out words, we’ve got great tips to help them along the way. Try these activities with your child to help foster a love of reading!

Reading is everywhere! Here are some more ideas to read beyond the book: 
  • Look for words around the house like on appliances or food labels.
  • Look for words outside on billboards and signs, like stop signs.
  • Point out words inside stores.
  • While on the go, make it a game to spot every letter in the alphabet.

Kids love to make up stories, even your youngest. Let your child tell you a story based on pictures if they can’t read yet!
  • Encourage your child to look at the pictures and talk about what they see.
  • Ask questions like: “What’s this? What’s he doing? What is a different word for this? Do you have a shirt like that?

Make a game of labeling objects in your home to help your child learn to read and spell. Steps for this activity:
  • Walk around the house and choose items to label.
  • Items can be a chair, door, rug, and other items that can be easy to spell and read.
  • All you need is paper, a marker and some tape or sticky notes
  • While spelling the item, let the child sound out letters in the word. 
  • Mix up the game by putting the wrong labels on your items and ask your child to put them in the right place! 
  • Try timing your child to challenge them!

Look for a Book Nook! Have your child find the best spot for reading. Here are ways to do it:
  • Walk around the house and find a quiet and cozy area or create one.
  • Avoid areas of the house with TV’s, other people or noisy distractions.
  • Bring all of your child’s reading materials to that spot.
  • Even make a sign to claim the space “Julia’s reading corner.”

Libraries are like playgrounds for developing brains! Here are some examples of free events you can find at your local library:
  • Story time at the library introduces children to new books.
  • Local authors visit to share their books.
  • Puppet shows and other fun activities help kids build imagination.

Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-5 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up!

*Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.  
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