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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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Safe for the Summer

Tips for Keeping Kids Safe this Summer

Bright by Three - June 1, 2019

Kids are curious, creative, and at times clumsy. This combination can be a recipe for accidents as we all well know. While we want our little ones to adventure and discover the world in their own way, we also want to protect them. Summer is an exciting month to play outside, get dirty, and learn new activities. But, it’s also a time to take extra precautions.

The National Safety Council has declared the month of June National Safety month to increase the awareness families have about child safety and safety guidelines. We’ve got the keys to keep your safe this summer.

0-6 Months: Babies put everything in their mouth! It's how they learn about the world. Here are tips to protect her from anything dangerous.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, alcohol, and other items not safe for baby locked up and out of your child’s sight and reach.
  • Use safety caps on all medicines and toxic household products. Keep the safety caps on tightly at all times.
  • Be sure to keep all household products and medicines completely out of sight and reach.
  • Use safety latches on any cupboard doors within her reach.
  • Never store lye drain cleaners in your home.
  • Keep all products in their original containers.
  • Never leave your child unattended. Take advantage of baby carriers, front packs, backpacks, and slings to keep your baby safe with you.
If your baby does accidentally get into something poisonous, call the Poison Help Line immediately. Do not make your child vomit. Doctors will need to know exactly what the poison was to best help your child.

6-12 months: Baby is on the move and getting big! Time to baby-proof your home. It may also be time for a new car seat.
  • Use safety gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children from entering rooms with possible dangers. Don’t use spring or pressure-mounted gates at the top of stairs, as these can be pushed down easily.
  • Use cordless window coverings to prevent strangulation.
  • Use anchors on furniture, TVs, and ranges to avoid furniture tip-overs.
  • Use corner and edge bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces.
  • Use outlet covers to help prevent electrocution.
It is safest for your baby to be rear facing in his car seat until at least 2 years of age.
Types of rear-facing car seats:
  • Infant Car Seat (Rear-Facing only): Designed for newborns and small babies, the infant-only car seat is a small, portable seat that can only be used rear-facing. Babies usually outgrow their infant car seats by 9 months. When that happens, we recommend that parents purchase a convertible or all-in-one car seat and use it rear-facing.
  • Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
  • All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

All Ages:
  • Fun in the water: Children love to play in the water. Learn how to keep your child safe in the pool and the bathtub.
  • Children can drown in less than 2 inches of water.
  • NEVER leave your child alone in or near a bathtub, pail of water, wading or swimming pool, or any other water, not even for a moment.
  • Stay within an arm’s length of your child around water.
  • Never leave floats in the pool after play, they are too tempting for little hands.
  • Empty all buckets after each use.
  • Keep the bathroom doors closed.
  • Close the toilet lid.
  • Helmet safety: Helmets protect young children on bikes, trikes, skates or scooters.
  • Emergency rooms see more bicycle and head injuries than any other childhood injury.
  • Helmets prevent head injuries, especially when they fit properly and are worn consistently.
  • Check out this PBS Video to learn how to keep your child safe with a helmet!
Safety in Sunshine and Heat:
  • Heatstroke can happen quickly if a child is left in the car and can lead to brain injury or even death. Never leave a child alone in the car, even just for a minute.
  • Cars can reach 125 degrees in just minutes, and open windows don’t help.
  • Even in temperatures as cool as 60 degrees, the car reaches dangerous temps. Learn more.
  • Use sunscreen every time your child is in the sun. Even if it’s cloudy and cool.
    • Just one bad, blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person’s chances of developing deadly skin cancer (melanoma) later in life.
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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