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Free text service sends parents brain-building activities for babies, toddlers

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 5:57 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The early stages of parenting can be exhausting, but how you interact with your kids in those first three years can shape their entire future.

A free text messaging program called ‘Basic Insights’ hopes to guide area parents through some easy activities to make the most of the early years with their kids.

The ages of 0-3 can be an intense, hands-on season of life. Kids at that age are busy, their needs are big and their skills just developing. Evidence shows those first three years of life are critical to brain development, and that being intentional about that time can really pay off for your child’s future.

“Make a game of naming and pointing to the different body parts. For example, ‘where’s your nose?’ And say, ‘there it is!’ Or point to the wrong part and say, ‘is this your ear?’ And you say, ‘noooooooo.’”

These are all ideas Chanel Bea, an early childhood community liaison, said parents will get from the text messaging system.

“The Basics Insights app was developed, so families could have a way to receive information about developmental activities that are age-appropriate,” Bea said. “What the basics do is show us that there are everyday activities that you can do to engage with your young child, and they also increase their learning.”

The basics are aptly named “Basic Parenting Skills.” One of the basics is to maximize love and manage stress.

“That is a very important one - it means that the kiddo needs to feel comfortable and supported,” explained Rick Samuelson, youth coordinator for the Henrico County Public Library.

Do things with your kids like:

  • Talk, sing and point
  • Count and compare
  • Explore through movement and play
  • Read and discuss stories

“The more vocabulary, the more words kiddos hear - the bigger their vocabulary and the world around them is,” Samuelson said.

You get two text messages a week, with one of them having a fun activity for you to do together.

“But if you have your phone and you just say, ‘oh, let me try that,’ it tends to work out a little bit better,” Bea said.

If your kids are between the ages of 0-3, you can sign up for free. The project is paid for with grant funding.

Signing up is fast, easy and free. You can sign up, here. Choose English or Spanish, and then click the link or scan the QR Code.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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