Maximize Love, Manage Stress – Basics Guilford tips from the heart

Anchor Brad Jones and Literacy Coordinator Megan LeFaivre prepare for an interview at WGHP-TV on 2-14-23

Ready Ready’s Literacy Coordinator Megan LeFaivre shared science-based tips about the Basic Guilford’s Maximize Love, Manage Stress for Valentine’s Day. She was interviewed on Fox 8 WGHP.

The Basics Guilford are five easy, science-based concepts born at Harvard that any adult can do to boost baby and toddler brain growth. Science shows us that 80 percent of brain growth happens up to age three, so these are critical years. Infants and toddlers thrive when their world seems loving, safe, and predictable. When we as parents or caregivers express love and respond to their needs, children learn they can count on their grownups.

How do we maximize love and manage stress for babies?
· Showing and responding to love helps children learn to manage their feelings and behavior.
· For infants, it’s as simple as holding them. Hold, kiss, and cuddle your infant – there is no worry about spoiling them or holding back on sharing your love.
· Respond to them: Your infant depends on you to meet their needs. Watch and listen for clues about how they feel and what they need, and respond to what you notice. It helps them learn that you care.
· For toddlers – cuddle them! Hugging and cuddling your toddler helps them feel safe and loved – boys need just as much love as girls do.
· Talk about feelings – teaching your toddler to name their feelings can help them understand and express their emotions. You can say things like “It looks like you’re scared because you fell. Falling can be scary! But now you’re OK” Naming the emotions is important. These are just a few of the tips we offer through the Basics Guilford.

We’ve talked about maximizing love – what about managing stress? Why is that important?
· We all face stress. It’s normal. But too much stress is bad for a baby or toddler’s developing brain and has a lifelong impact.
· Some things that cause stress for infants are loud noises, adults who seem angry or upset, or adults who don’t respond to their needs.
· It’s important to have strategies for coping when your life gets stressful – talk to friends, family, or your doctor about ways to deal with stress.
· If you can think about situations that tend to be stressful, you can plan ahead of time for how to improve or avoid them. For example, try to avoid trips to the store right before your child’s nap time.
· Go easy on yourself – life can feel overwhelming, and we all make mistakes. Focus on the big picture and ask for help. All parents need help.

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