Rhyming Time!

RHYMING TIME! | Eleanor turned 3 a few months ago, and she has shown a growing interest in learning to
read. She loves pointing out letters she recognizes, and she is learning what sounds each letter makes. One way we are encouraging her interest is through rhyming words. In conversation, if a simple word comes up, we ask her what it rhymes with. For example:

Eleanor: Dad, you’re wearing a hat!
Dad: I am! It’s a black hat. Do you know what rhymes with hat?

We’ll then name several words that rhyme, and she has started jumping in with her own
suggestions too.

The other day she decided to build a block tower in a cardboard box (don’t ask us why haha), and she pointed out all on her own that box and blocks rhyme! Being the big sister, she has started relaying what she learns to her little sister, Claire (19 months). We’ll overhear Eleanor asking Claire if she knows what words rhyme with. Not only is it adorable, but it shows that she understands!

Additionally, Eleanor loves to sing and since we’ve been focusing on rhyming, she will now pause and recognize when songs have rhyming words. It’s amazing how focusing on The Basic – Talk, Sing and Point has strengthened her foundation for reading and helped her overall brain development!

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Exploring the Fun Side of Numbers

EXPLORING THE FUN SIDE OF NUMBERS | On a recent visit to a local children’s museum, we had the opportunity to participate in many hands-on learning activities. As we practiced the Basic – Count, Group and Compare – Titus matched blocks, assembled puzzles, and was deeply engaged in the water exhibit. Each activity challenged him to experiment, adjust, invent, discover, and design.

At home, we enjoy counting objects around the house together and then asking Titus to repeat the numbers after us. We also practice sorting crayons by color and blocks by size, which helps him learn about patterns and groupings. When we read, we choose books that feature numbers and counting to reinforce these concepts.

These activities, both at the museum and at home, not only make learning fun for Titus but also help build a strong foundation for his future math skills. It’s wonderful to see his excitement and curiosity grow as he engages in these playful yet educational experiences.

By Candace Martin

Library Magic

LIBRARY MAGIC | I have fond memories of spending time at the library as a kid. Whether I was browsing
the shelves with my grandmother or playing giant checkers with my dad, the library was a magical staple of my childhood. It warms my heart that our girls, Eleanor (3 years) and Claire (18 months), love the library too.

The library provides a sense of independence that resonates with toddlers and preschoolers. They get to pick out their own books and decide where they want to read them. We Read and Discuss Stories beyond the words on the page. While we do this at home, these books are new which adds a layer of curiosity. This leads to
longer attention spans and more in-depth conversations as we talk about how the characters might be feeling and what we think will happen next. They get to decide whether they want to take a book home or keep looking for a more enticing choice.

They both have their own library cards that they proudly give to the librarian when we are checking out books. Even the act of putting their books in the return slot gives them a feeling of autonomy!

The library offers comforting boundaries and structure. They understand that they need to use quiet voices and calm bodies. It’s a great environment to center ourselves and escape the heat on summer afternoons. The library is our happy place! Click here for more tips on how to Read and Discuss Stories.

By Lizzy Tahsuda

The Balancing Act

THE BALANCING ACT | The daily juggle of emotions, work, family and personal time can feel like a balancing act. But finding the time to unwind and connect with each other helps us Maximize Love, Manage Stress; with a little patience, it’s easy to get started.

We make quality time a priority. Creating dedicated family time builds strengthens out bond; whether it’s going out for breakfast, family game nights, putting together a puzzle or settling down for bedtime stories.

We listen to each other. Whether we can understand Titus or not we remove distractions, give him eye contact and our full attention when we talk.

We show each other gratitude and love. We say “please” and “thank you” and give hugs.

Being active and getting sleep helps to manage stress. Sometimes naps happen and sometimes they don’t; when they don’t Titus can become fussy and full of emotions. When this happens, we help him calm down by breathing and soothing him.

The balancing act of love and stress takes a lot of effort, but having a loving home environment is well worth it!

Learn more about how to Maximize Love, Manage Stress.

By Candace Martin

Toddler Talk Adventures

TODDLER TALK ADVENTURES | Toddler parents, yall okay? Every day is like a new adventure, but it’s all part of the joy of helping our little ones figure out life! Now at two years old, Titus is a chatterbox; most times repeating himself many times.

Using the Basic – Talk, Sing and Point helps us teach Titus about communication and putting words together. Titus is always full of questions, like “Momma, what’s that?” or “Help me!” We make sure to keep the conversation flowing, asking him questions to expand on the words he’s using. It’s amazing to see him soak it all in and start making those connections.

We also use this basic to identify body parts, household items, toys and colors. We’re big fans of Gracie’s Corner, so the song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is the perfect song to dance to and point to each body part ask “where’s Titus’ nose?” When we are reading books, we’ll talk about the pictures we see and the different characters of each book. During art time, we identify colors and even mix colors together to see what new shades we can create.

There are times when we don’t quite understand everything Titus is saying, but that’s okay! The important thing is that we’re communicating, building his confidence, and giving him the tools to express himself.

By Candace Martin

Pom Pom Play Time

POM POM PLAY TIME | We love multipurpose items in our house – and pom poms are a favorite! It’s amazing
how many games and activities we can play with them. All of them promote the Basic – count, group and compare!

Claire, 16 months, loves to put them into containers. We tape paper cups to the wall (we
use painter’s tape) and help her sort them by various sizes and colors as she puts them
into the cups. It’s an easy activity with minimal prep and clean up, and it’s a great
learning opportunity!

Eleanor, 2 years, also loves pom poms! We string painter’s tape between two walls with
the sticky side up, and Eleanor will use plastic tongs to put the pom poms on the tape in
a line (Great pre-writing activity for increasing grip strength)! We make patterns with them and count how many we can fit on the line. It holds her attention and she’ll often do this activity independently if it is set up for her.

Of course, pom poms are also just fun to play with! My favorite is when the girls are
under the kitchen table and tossing the pom poms back and forth. The giggles are

By Lizzy Tahsuda

The Power of Why: Embracing The Basics with Your Child

THE POWER OF WHY | As parents, we often find ourselves navigating the complex world of child-rearing, seeking the best ways to support our children’s growth and development. In this journey, cultivating a strong foundation through programs and activities can have a profound impact on our children’s future. The Basics, emphasizes the importance of engaging with our children in fundamental activities to foster their overall well-being and development.

As a father, I have personally experienced the transformative power of participating in The Basics program with my son. This program serves as a reminder of the significance of simple, everyday interactions that lay the groundwork for a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. Engaging in activities such as reading, talking, singing, playing, and exploring with our children may seem basic, but the benefits they offer are truly extraordinary.

One of the key advantages of The Basics is the opportunity it provides for parents to bond with their children on a deeper level. By actively participating in these activities, we create meaningful moments of connection that strengthen our relationship with our child. These shared experiences not only build trust and security but also enhance communication skills and emotional intelligence, fostering a strong parent-child bond that is essential for a child’s healthy development.

Moreover, using The Basics helps promote cognitive development in children. Reading to our children, for instance, stimulates their imagination, enhances their language skills, and fosters a love for learning. Talking and singing with them not only enrich their vocabulary but also promote language acquisition and communication skills. Through play and exploration, children develop critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, laying the foundation for academic success and lifelong learning.

Beyond cognitive development, The Basics also play a crucial role in supporting children’s emotional and social well-being. By engaging in these activities, parents help their children build self-confidence, resilience, and empathy. Playing together encourages cooperation, sharing, and teamwork, while exploring the world around us sparks curiosity, wonder, and a sense of exploration in children. These experiences help children develop important social skills and emotional regulation, preparing them to navigate the complexities of relationships and emotions in the future.

In essence, The Basics program is not just about engaging in simple activities; it is about investing in our children’s future by nurturing their holistic development. As parents, we have the incredible opportunity to shape our children’s lives and empower them to reach their full potential. By embracing The Basics with dedication and enthusiasm, we lay a strong foundation for our children’s growth, learning, and well-being!

By Jayvon Johnson, Peculiar Dad Club Founder

Schedules and Stability

SCHEDULES AND STABILITY | Eleanor will turn 3 next month, and while I get sentimental about my baby growing up, I am also amazed at the little person she has become. Toddlerhood is so fun! At the
same time, it doesn’t come without challenges. Eleanor can have a difficult time
transitioning from one activity to the next throughout the day – especially when we have
to stop doing something she enjoys. Toddlers move throughout their day without much
idea of what’s coming next. This uncertainty and lack of control can create stress and
lead to meltdowns.

To help with this, we created a schedule chart. Eleanor loves it! Each morning, we share
the day’s schedule with her and talk about what we are going to do. We included photos
of her doing the respective activity so she can “read” it herself. If the day can be flexible,
we allow her to choose between activities (for example, playground or library) to give
her some independence.

The schedule is two-sided, so we can differentiate between morning/early afternoon and
afternoon/evening. However, she doesn’t have a sense of time yet. We use timers to
give her a warning when an activity is about to end and we need to move on to the next.
This has worked really well! She even requests a timer when she wants just a few more
minutes to wrap up whatever she is doing. Giving Eleanor more autonomy over her day
has been a great way for our family to maximize love, manage stress!

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Dads Can Count!

DADS CAN COUNT | Becoming a father has been the most rewarding journey of my life. From the first moment I held my child in my arms, I knew that I had a crucial role to play in their development. As I navigated
the joys and challenges of fatherhood, I discovered the power of count, group, and compare
activities in nurturing my child’s early learning experiences. In this blog post, I will share a
personal narrative of how I incorporated these activities into my parenting journey and offer
three tips for fellow dads looking to do the same.

When my son was 2, I found myself searching for ways to engage and bond with him beyond
playtime. One day, while sorting through his toys, I decided to introduce him to the concept of
counting by lining up his colorful blocks. As we counted together, his eyes lit up with curiosity
and excitement. This simple activity sparked a newfound interest in numbers and math that we
continued to explore together.

As he has grown older, I began incorporating grouping activities into our daily routines. During
nature walks, we collect rocks, leaves, and flowers, and categorize them based on their shapes
and colors. These outdoor adventures not only fostered his love for exploration but also
strengthened his observational skills and appreciation for the world around him.
Comparing became a natural extension of our interactions as my son’s curiosity and
understanding deepened. Whether we were at the grocery store comparing different fruits or at
home examining his toy cars, we would discuss the similarities and differences between objects,
sparking meaningful conversations and encouraging his analytical thinking.

Here Are A Few Tips for Dads:

1. Make it a shared experience: Engage your child in count, group, and compare activities by
making them interactive and collaborative. Encourage open communication and exploration
during these moments to foster a sense of connection and shared learning.
2. Be creative and flexible: Tailor activities to suit your child’s interests and learning style.
Incorporate count, group, and compare concepts into everyday routines and playtime in a way
that feels natural and enjoyable for both you and your child.
3. Celebrate progress and effort: Recognize and praise your child’s efforts in engaging with
count, group, and compare activities. Celebrate small achievements and milestones to boost
their confidence and motivation to continue learning and exploring.

As fathers, we have a unique opportunity to shape and influence our children’s early
development through meaningful interactions and engaging activities. By incorporating count,
group, and compare into our parenting journey, we can create enriching learning experiences
that foster curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in our children. Let’s embrace the role of
involved dads in nurturing early childhood development and cherish the moments of growth and
discovery with our little ones.

By Jayvon Johnson, Educator, Pastor, Doula and Founder of The Peculiar Dad Network

Overcoming Obstacle… Courses

OVERCOMING OBSTACLE… COURSES | Claire, 13 months, is focused on exploring the world around her. She loves to climb and even finds herself wedged under furniture sometimes.  During cold mornings, we’ve had to cozy up indoors, which has been a challenge with two busy toddlers. We’ve started building indoor obstacle courses in our living room to mix things up. Our latest set-up includes:

Crawling under the toddler table
Hopping on the “Xs” we’ve made on the ground with painter’s tape
Shimmying through the pop-up tunnel
Climbing over the “mountains” (aka, the laundry baskets)
Spinning twice on the sit-and-spin (promotes Count, Group and Compare)
– And finally, landing in the pop-up tent full of blankets and pillows
Claire loves to follow her big sister through the obstacle course! It gives her the opportunity to try new
gross motor skills, explore everyday objects in a different way, and get her energy out. While we can’t
wait to get outside and play now that the weather is getting warmer, indoor obstacle courses allow us to Explore Through Movement and Play no matter what it is like outside!

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Going Through The Motions

GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS | At 14 months, Claire is at an age where she’s not interested in staying still. It’s okay most of the time, but it can make tasks like diaper changes, changing clothes, and wiping her face and hands after eating challenging. This can be frustrating, especially when we’re in a hurry to get out the door and we don’t have time to chase her down haha.

To keep her from trying to wrestle away from us, we sing songs to grab her attention long enough to get the task done. While this has worked pretty well, we’ve taken it a step further and taught her hand gestures that go with the song. Songs like “head, shoulders, knees, and toes”, “wheels on the bus”, and “five little monkeys” are great for this! She can’t do all the gestures yet, but as she tries, she’s able to get her wiggles out through concentrated movements in her arms and hands, keeping her body still enough so we can complete the task. It’s a bonus if big sister, Eleanor (2.5 years), is around to sing and do the motions with her! Making it a game is a fun way to connect with her, and she loves it too! Talking, singing, and pointing are not only important for learning and language development, but they can be great ways to make mundane tasks more enjoyable!

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Learn more about the Basic – Talk, Sing and Point

The Power of a Hug

THE POWER OF A HUG | Children experience stress and anxiety similar to adults, but may express it in different ways. Often when adults feel stressed, through both verbal and nonverbal communication, children can feel the impact. Unintentionally, children can interpret parents’ actions towards them in ways that increase their own stress level. Because of this, some children can react with more aggression or acts of withdrawal. It is
important that while adults recognize their own stress and anxiety to consider how to help children
process their stress as well.

Though simple, the power of a hug can provide many benefits. Taking a moment to ask a child if they want a hug can ease tension quickly. Children want to know that they are loved, valued, accepted, and most of all that they are cared for, especially during stressful moments. The dual benefit of a hug also helps adults to take a moment to breathe.

During times of stress, when emotions have been high, I have come down to my four-year-old son’s
level and asked him if he would like a hug. Almost always, the answer has been “yes” which seems to
melt the stress and anxiety away. Children still want to feel loved, even if they are experiencing big
emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, or disappointment. In that moment, a hug brings security,
reaffirms relationship, and establishes value. I can sometimes hear a sigh of relief as he begins to calm
after giving him a hug. Hugs have a way to Maximize Love, Manage Stress go beyond words
of expression.

By Airreia Pierce, Educator, Author and Speaker

Early Math Adventures

MATH QUEST ADVENTURES | Turn daily activities into fun learning adventures with the basic, Count, Group, and Compare!

Titus loves lending a helping hand around the house. Whether it’s measuring ingredients during cooking, sorting laundry, or counting toys during cleanup, these simple tasks become fun-filled lessons in numbers and organization.

At playtime, Titus explores how comparison works. When sorting his toys by color and size or while doing puzzles, he creates categories. We count each group and discuss which has the most or the least. Through these playful activities, Titus is not just counting; he’s organizing and recognizing patterns. It’s also helping him explore the fun side of numbers!

Count, Group and Compare is more than just shapes, numbers and counting on his fingers, it’s teaching Titus about solving problems, making decisions and building his confidence.

By Candace Martin

Her Own Voice

HER OWN VOICE | Claire turned one this month! She has her own little language these days. She can say a few words (“mama”, “hi”, “yes”), but most of the time she’s babbling to us with the tone and inflection like she knows exactly what she’s saying. It’s hilarious!

To help with her speech and communication, we frequently incorporate simple words and receptive listening into our play. For example, she’s in the phase where she loves to put something in a container and then take it out again. We started by narrating this for her by saying “in” and “out” as she does these actions on her own. Now, we can say “in” and/or “out” and she will follow the action. Soon, she’ll be saying the words herself! It’s a fun way for her to learn through play as we talk, sing, and point with her!

Unwrapping The Power of Play

UNWRAPPING THE POWER OF PLAY | Movement and play is essential for growing toddlers; it helps build muscles, strengthen coordination and release energy! But aside from the physical benefits, playtime fuels the brain.

Recently Titus embraced the holiday spirit and crafted and customized his own gingerbread house! This hands-on play enabled him to experiment with fitting pieces, brainstorming ideas, and using tools (he’s quite the hammer enthusiast!). Constructing the gingerbread house unleashed his creativity, boosting his decision-making confidence. The fun continued after this activity when Titus “drove” the cart throughout the store.

Titus is TWO! As part of birthday celebrations, he went to Winter Wonderlights at the Greensboro Science Center and saw so many colors & designs and finished with a ride on the carousel.

These precious moments are building the foundation for a creative mind, strong body and laying the groundwork for a healthy future for Titus. Through the Basic, Explore through Movement and Play, Titus learns to master problem-solving, teamwork, and regulating his emotions – many life skills wrapped up in fun.

By Candace Martin

The Magic of Reading

THE MAGIC OF READING | Since we’ve been incorporating The Basic – Read & Discuss Stories, we’ve realized that reading to Titus; even as a baby, it’s never too early to start! We used to think, “He’s too young to understand,” but we were wrong. Starting to read to Titus right from the start has been one of the best things we’ve done.

When reading to Titus, we know he won’t get every word, but we do know that it’s helping build his language skills. There’s so much value in helping him understand how sentences work and planting seeds for his vocabulary. But even without words, it helps stimulate his imagination and we can have an adventure without even leaving home.

Cuddling up to read a book is such a special time. It’s our chance to bond and create beautiful, cozy moments together. It’s amazing how a simple story can make him feel safe and loved. And honestly, it’s not just good for him, it’s good for us too. It’s more than just reading; it’s about growing, learning, and making memories that last a lifetime and it’s worth every minute!

By Candace Martin

Act It Out!

ACT IT OUT | At 11 months, Claire is busy! She’s on the move and interested in everything, which means that sitting still and reading can be a challenge. To keep her attention, we make the books interactive!

We move the book to match the actions in the story. Does the character jump? We make the book jump!
We “act out” adjectives mentioned in the book. For example, if the book says something is soft, we might softly pet the picture.

We match our tone and volume with whatever is happening on the page. Are the characters dancing? We read in a singing tone. Are they loud or quiet? We will get louder or whisper.

We point at the pictures that correspond with the words. Claire loves to point, so she will often imitate us.
Reading is one of our favorite things to do! Making it interactive combines all of the basics into one activity. Plus, as a parent of two children who are two-and-under, it gives me an opportunity to sit down. 😅

By Lizzy Tahsuda

Thanksgiving Play Ideas

No matter if you plan to gather with others over Thanksgiving weekend or not, if young children are a part of your gathering, having simple play opportunities available is smart! We’ve curated a few easy ideas for themed holiday activities to keep their brains and bodies active through Explore Through Movement and Play!

Turkey Waddle – Give kids and adults a small balloon and make them race with the balloon between their knees. It will make for a fun and active start to Thanksgiving.

Turkey Tag – This is a Thanksgiving version of Hide and Seek. One child gets to be the hunter while the others hide. When one of the players is caught, they have to gobble like a turkey until at least two other players set them free. Once the hunter has caught three turkeys, a new hunter is chosen.

Turkey Baster Race – Buy a few inexpensive turkey basters at the dollar store and give kids pompoms, feathers, or leaves. Line them up on the starting line and see who can blow the items past he finish using the air generated by the baster. This is a great exercise for young children to build strength in their hands in preparation for learning to write.

Cardboard Cornhole – Save a few boxes from a recent delivery and give kids markers and construction paper. Help them cut a hole in the box bottom and let them draw a turkey around the hole or make colorful feathers with construction paper. Once they are done, let them toss bean bags or balled up tissue paper at the turkey!

Feather Hunt – No holiday is complete without an indoor or outdoor hunt. Find a large bag of colorful feathers at a craft store and send your little ones on a hunt to find all the places the turkey has been!



Play and Sing to Practice Reading in Action

PLAY AND SING TO PRACTICE READING IN ACTION | One thing all children have in common is that they are always on the move! Literacy can easily be integrated into children’s play. Finding ways to be intentional is key to including more literacy. When literacy is integrated in movement and play, it helps to reinforce memory so that
the retention for learning is higher. Children are also using their whole brain to exercise cognitive,
physical, language, emotional, and social skills that they are learning. While children are having fun
playing, they do not even realize that they are learning. This makes play both meaningful and relevant, boosting their ability to remember in the future!

My youngest son loves to play with his older sister, and one day used a microphone in their play.
They were pretending to be singers on a stage while singing a song together. This song had rhyming
words and they enjoyed repeating the sounds. The microphone has also been used to sing the letters and
sounds of the alphabet. Though my son believes he is imitating his favorite singer, he is also learning in
the process. When children can complete rhyming words in songs, this is a key literacy skill that will help
promote early emergent reading. Try to consider what your child enjoys doing and how you can
intentionally integrate literacy in their play. You will be amazed at how many ways children can
practice early reading skills as they Explore Through Movement and Play.

By Airreia Pierce, Author, Educator and Speaker

A Day Out To Talk

A DAY OUT WITH TITUS | As an almost 2 year old, Titus is eager to soak up everything around him! Incorporating basic, daily activities are simple ways to practice The Basic – Talk, Sing and Point.

We encourage Titus to use his words – sometimes we understand and sometimes we don’t. Even when we don’t, we encourage him to keep talking and engage in back and forth dialogue. We practice the ABCs and identify different words, activities and colors from his My First Words book.

Recently we took advantage of one of Greensboro’s greatest assets – The Greensboro Science Center. The Science Center offers so many learning opportunities and there’s so much to see!

We had a very lucky day; pretty much all of the animals were outside. As we saw different animals we pointed and named them using descriptive vocabulary. I think the tiger was his favorite! During this particular visit, there was a Bricksboro exhibit. We were able to see many different creations made out of Lego! You don’t have to go to a museum to point out names for things in your environment. Even a trip to Target can be a great opportunity to Talk, Sing and Point to build vocabulary.

Slowing Down The Rush

SLOWING DOWN THE RUSH | Claire’s (10 months) big sister, Eleanor (2 years), recently started part-time preschool. While it has been a wonderful experience, it also means an end to our slow, relaxed mornings as we rush to get everything (and everyone) loaded for school. It’s easy to get caught up in the “go go go” and when I’m frazzled, the kids are too. After a few weeks of morning meltdowns, I realized something had to change. Mornings are typically the best part of the day at our house, and we needed to get back to our usual calm.

The first step to slowing down our routine is to start the night before. Not only do I pack Eleanor’s lunch and backpack, but I also prep breakfast and help Eleanor pick out an outfit. I set my alarm for 30 minutes earlier so that I can have a solo cup of coffee before getting the kids up. Eleanor likes to read first thing, so we set aside time to read a few books together before we go downstairs for breakfast. Claire loves this too! Once everyone is fed, dressed, and ready to go, we jump in the stroller. We are fortunate to live within walking distance of Eleanor’s school and now that the weather is cooler, taking a brisk morning walk is an incredible way to start the day. When we drop Eleanor off, Claire and I take an extended stroll before heading home for her morning nap. Spending intentional time during our morning routine has helped us Maximize Love, Manage Stress!

Crawl and Compare

CRAWL AND COMPARE | At 9 months, Claire has become very observant! She will pick up toys and naturally study them, which gives us a great platform to point out comparisons. For example, when playing with her, we’ll give her a ball and a block and talk to her about the difference in shape, size, color, etc. Although she may not understand our words, she focuses on the objects and notices the differences, which is an easy way to work in Count, Group and Compare!

Another natural comparison she notices is surfaces when she’s crawling. This is especially true when she crawls outside. We will put her on a picnic blanket and then let her crawl onto the grass. She carefully looks at the grass and her hands, observing the different sensations. We talk about what she’s feeling and point out the differences. We recently went to the beach and it was her first time touching sand. After trying to eat it (ha!), she started crawling around and was fascinated by the texture. We showed her dry sand and wet sand, explaining how water changes the sand. Helping babies Explore Through Movement and Play and make everyday comparisons is a great way to teach her about the world around her!

Tips for Fathers to Create a Nurturing Environment

MAXIMIZING LOVE AT HOME: 3 TIPS FOR FATHERS TO CREATE A NURTURING ENVIRONMENT | Fathers play a vital role in creating a loving and nurturing environment at home. In this blog
post, we will explore three practical tips for fathers to Maximize Love, Manage Stress and strengthen the parent-
child bond. By implementing these tips, dads can create a nurturing atmosphere where their
children feel their presence and benefit from a stable emotional environment.

1. Be Present and Engaged:
One of the most crucial ways fathers can maximize love at home is by being present and
engaged in their children’s lives. Allocate dedicated quality time to spend with your children
regularly. Engage in activities that interest them, such as playing games, reading together, or
taking walks. Actively listen to your children, showing genuine interest in their thoughts, feelings,
and experiences. By being present both physically and emotionally, you create a strong sense
of security and belonging for your children.

2. Cultivate Self-Awareness and Emotional Stability:
To create a nurturing environment, fathers must cultivate self-awareness and emotional stability.
Recognize and manage your own emotions effectively. Practice self-care to reduce stress and
maintain a healthy work-life balance. Seek support from friends, family, or professionals when
needed. By taking care of your emotional well-being, you role-model emotional intelligence and
provide a positive example for your children to follow. This fosters a harmonious atmosphere
where love and respect flourish.

3. Foster Open Communication and Express Affection:
Open communication and affectionate expressions are essential components of a loving home
environment. Encourage your children to express themselves freely and listen to their thoughts
and concerns without judgment. Create a safe space for open dialogue and empathetic
conversations. Additionally, express affection through hugs, kind words, and gestures of love.
Regularly affirm your love and support for your children, reinforcing their self-esteem and
emotional development.

The Wrap Up:
By implementing these three tips, fathers can Maximize Love, Manage Stress at home and create a nurturing
environment for their children. Being present and engaged, cultivating self-awareness and
emotional stability, and fostering open communication and affectionate expressions are key
strategies for strengthening the parent-child bond. By prioritizing love and actively participating
in their children’s lives, fathers provide a solid foundation for their children’s emotional well-
being and growth. Remember, a father’s love and presence have a lasting impact on their
children’s lives, shaping them into confident and compassionate individuals.

By Special Guest Blogger, Jayvon A. Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of The Peculiar Dad Network

Love & Hugs Go A Long Way

LOVE AND HUGS GO A LONG WAY | Applying the basic – Maximize Love, Manage Stress to our daily routine offers Titus a safe space to express his emotions. As a working parent, juggling life, and family responsibilities can be demanding, but we make sure to spend time with Titus and give him our full attention.

Here are some practical ways we have adapted Maximize Love, Manage Stress to help Titus feel loved, nurtured and supported.

  • Cuddles and Hugs: I may be biased, but Titus gives the best hugs! We always tell him we love him in the morning, at bedtime and at school drop off.
  • Playtime: Giving Titus one on one time while playing with blocks and toys or while reading a book strengthens our bond. We also make sure we spend time outside and play or take walks to help burn off energy.
  • Providing a Structured Routine: We try to stick to a routine, especially during the weeknights. This gives Titus comfort, helps reduce stress and ultimately helps him sleep better at night when he is relaxed.

Incorporating this basic into our lives has not only helped Titus through typical toddler stressors and challenges, but it has also helped us as parents take time and emphasize love, routines and relaxation no matter how hectic life can get.

– By Candace Martin

Point and Learn

POINT AND LEARN | Reading goes beyond just reciting words on a page but includes rich engagement with your child and conversation. Meaningful books should prompt questions and make connections with your child that will help boost their memory and recall. By pointing at the pictures and words, children are identifying what they see by what they are hearing. Sometimes this may involve introducing new vocabulary that
can later be used in the child’s environment to support their memory. Another way that pointing is
helpful is that it can teach early emergent reading skills that can be pointed out. For example, you can
point to the words to show that reading is done from left to right, pointing out spaces between words,
helping children point out the difference between letter formation, and much more.

One of the books I recently read, “The Foot Book” by Dr. Seuss was helpful to use pointing to make
connections with his feet. While reading, I asked questions such as “Where are your feet? How many
feet do you have? What are on your feet? How many toes do you have in all?” This prompted my son to
start counting out his toes one by one. This book also helped me point out opposites. I pointed to the
pictures to help him see how the pictures corresponded to the words. Lastly, we practiced learning his
left and right foot from each other. When reading the text about “Left foot, left foot, left foot, right.” I
pointed to his left foot and then his right to help him begin to understand the difference between the
two. Using books to guide discussion is powerful in many ways for parents as they Read and Discuss
Stories each day.

By Airreia Pierce, Author, Educator and Speaker


Guilford Basics