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It’s Basic- Maximize Love, Manage Stress

a blurred photo of two caregivers holding young toddlers with the logo for The Basics on top

Building a strong foundation for learning begins at birth. To help families maximize early learning during this critical phase of development, Henrico County Public Library has adopted The Basics. This is the first post of a blog series in which we will cover all five principles of The Basics so you can build a foundation for your child's cognitive, social, and emotional growth. Here are our tips for maximizing love and managing stress, the first principle of The Basics.

Center on the Developing Child found that "From birth to age three, a child’s brain undergoes rapid development, producing more than 1 million neural connections per second." Those with little ones at home may be wondering when and how to start the teaching process. Incorporating The Basics into your everyday life does not depend on equipment like toys. Rather, it is about it is about focusing on how you can boost brain development while you interact with your child. The first principle of The Basics, “Maximize Love, Manage Stress,” concentrates on creating positive interactions early.

Why “Maximize Love, Manage Stress?”

Babies and toddlers need an environment that feels secure, loving, and predictable. When you respond to their needs with affection, little ones learn that they can count on their caregivers, and over time this gives them confidence to take on new challenges. Young children are also affected by their caretakers' emotions. Managing parent stress and maintaining a secure parent-child relationship will promote resilience in your little one.

Tips to Maximize Love, Manage Stress

Snuggle and Cuddle: Hugging, bouncing, cuddling, and playing are all ways to show your child your love for them and make them feel secure.

Create a Routine: A routine tells children what to expect and helps them feel safe, while also helping caregivers manage stress by having a predictable daily structure. Adjust your routine as your child grows.

Process Praise: Reinforce good behavior by praising your child for completing a task you created for them. “Good helping,” “Good reading,” and “Good cleaning” are all examples of praise that reinforce the effort used to complete a task.

Talk About Feelings: The first step to managing emotions is being able to name the emotions we’re feeling. Validating a child’s emotions will make them feel understood.

Take Care of Yourself: Take a minute to take deep breaths with your baby throughout the day. Slow, deep belly breaths will reduce stress and calm the body.

HCPL’s Booklist to Maximize Love, Manage Stress

I Kissed the Baby!by Mary Murphy 
Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli 
Guess How Much I Love Youby Sam McBratney 
The Feelings Book by Todd Parr 
Alphabreaths: The ABCs of Mindful Breathing by Christopher Willard 
I Can Do It Too by Karen Baicker 
Llama Llama Red Pajama and 19 Other Favorites by Anna Dewdney
Breathe by Scott Magoon

For more information on The Basics, visit

I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy

Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

Alphabreaths: The ABCs of Mindful Breathing by Christopher Willard

I Can Do It Too by Karen Baicker

Llama Llama Nighty Night by Leslie Patricelli

Breathe by Scott Magoon

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