Parenting is hard, especially right now as we all struggle with the current state of the world. We want to support you as much as we can – cheer all of you on as you balance work, home and your child’s education, and probably much more than that. As we all await what comes next, your child is still learning and growing and, we want to help! Visiting our website offers the opportunities to check on the value of your child’s My Alfond Grant as well as create a monthly MyPlan to DO. SAVE. LEARN for their future.
While there’s a lot going on in this crazy world right now, can rely on us to be here for you. We’ve collected some great tips and resources to inspire your parenting along the way. Everything may not be relevant, or possible, right now, but we hope you can take in something helpful as you journey through this part of parenthood.
Financial Tips for Parents with Children 18 to 36 Months
The Alfond Grant is only a first step. By opening a NextGen account, you can make your own contributions to your child’s future and may help reduce the cost. Now the next step is to keep adding to it. Every little bit you put away may help reduce the cost of higher education. Whatever you have available when it’s time to go to college is money you will not have to borrow.
- Be on a Budget: Keep track of how much you spend. Write down every penny that leaves your pocket and then review your spending habits after one month.
- Always be on Time: Set goals and a time frame for paying bills and stick to it. Late fees are a waste of money!
- Pay Yourself First: Every month, set aside a specific amount of money for personal use. Part of this money can go towards your child’s NextGen account.
Finance-related Book Recommendations
- Little Critter: Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer
- Max’s Money (Max Play Book) by Ken Wilson-Max
- 26 Letters and 99 Cents by Tana Hoban
- Harry’s Coin by Sally Symes
Additional Finance Resources:
- Maine has other benefits you may be eligible for through tax savings and reimbursements. Visit Child Care Tax Credits at Maine.gov
- Learn why saving now matters. Also, learn more about 529 savings plans and how saving for college can really “add up” at org
- Your local bank is a great resource to meet with experts who can talk with you about making a savings plan that’s right for your family.
Health Tips for Parents with Children 18 to 36 Months
Your child is feeding them self now, and probably enjoys fresh fruits and vegetables. Offer your child a portion of the meal that the family is eating. If they don’t want to eat it, give them a simple choice, “Do you want carrots or broccoli?” Encourage social relationships as they are good for everyone’s health. Your child loves to play with other children and is learning how to share. They are also beginning to understand that other people have feelings; you can help them discover their feelings by naming them.
- Get into Gardening: Grow a garden with your child. Gardens give us a chance to see where our food comes from, and even little hands love to play in the dirt!
- Find the Foodie in your Child: Offer your child a variety of foods. This is a great age to try different colors, textures and tastes. Teach your child about feeling hungry and full, and how to express likes and dislikes.
- Don’t Forget about Family Dinner: Sitting together during meals helps your child learn about talking and listening… take turns to teach communication skills.
Health-related Book Recommendations:
- I Can Eat A Rainbow by Annabel Karmel
- Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
- What Am I Feeling? by John Mordechai Gottman
- I Like It When… by Mary Murphy
Additional Health Resources:
- Eating smart starts young. The Ellyn Satter Institute offers lots of ideas about developing healthy eating patterns that last a lifetime.
- Eating as a family is a challenge sometimes, but just might be the ultimate parenting hack. Explore 7 Unexpected Benefits of Eating Together as a Family, According to Science by Erican Jackson Curran, from Parents.com
- Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services offers a guide called, Supporting Maine’s Infants & Toddlers, to share information about infant and toddler development.
Literacy Tips for Parents with Children 18-36 Months
Your toddler is talking now, using words like “dogs” “cats” and can probably name some colors. They know their name and understand when you say “I,” “you,” “he,” and “she.” They are learning more and more words every day. Keep talking, reading, and listening to your child, and you’ll hear them using more words. Encouraging words will help build confidence as they explore his world.
- Play the Name Game: Talk with your child. Match words to questions and activities and talk about things you both see during everyday life such as dogs walking or kids playing.
- Color Your Child’s World: Talk to your child about all of the colors you see around you. Use as many adjectives as you can think of – bright, dark, striped, etc.
- Be a Bookworm: Toddlers love to explore and having lots of books around the house will provide lots of things to read, look at and explore.
Literacy Book Recommendations:
- Spot Goes to the Farm by Eric Hill
- Max’s New Suit by Rosemary Wells
- Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman
- The Accidental Zucchini by Max Grover
Additional Literacy Resources:
- Raising Readers is a statewide program that promotes the love of books and reading by distributing books as hospitals and Maine doctor’s offices. As soon as a baby is born, all families receive a tote of books to start their home libraries. At each well-child visit from 2 months to 5 years, doctors and medical staff give high-quality books to every child.
- Lighthouse passports are available through the United States Lighthouse Society. You can travel all around visiting lighthouses and get your passport stamped.
- It’s not too late to sign up for The Growing Years. Free child development information you can download. You can also sign up for the Just in Time Parenting email newsletter.
Science & Math Tips for Parents with Children 18-36 Months
Help your child sort objects that are similar, like making small piles of rocks, sticks, and leaves. Next time you’re on a walk, try to find the numbers on the houses, or you can count the cars as they pass. These simple skills today are the math and science skills of tomorrow!
- Get Wet: Supervised play with water is a fun, safe way to explore the natural world. Help your child learn about science by filling and emptying cups, hearing and feeling splashes, and watching objects float and sink.
- Master a Maze: Create a simple obstacle course for your child and provide step-by-step directions to complete it. For example, “Crawl under the coffee table, tiptoe around the big chair, then jump over the three red blocks!”
- Be a Copycat: Draw a pattern of shapes and colors, like a blue circle, a red square and a green triangle. See if your child can copy the shapes on paper. Then use blocks and repeat the pattern.
Science & Math-related Book Recommendations:
- Building a House by Byron Barton
- Icky Bug Numbers by Jerry Pallotta
- 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam
- How Big Is the Lion? My First Book of Measuring by William Accorsi
Additional Science & Math Resources:
- Explore the natural world in Maine’s state parks. Visit the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands for information. Many local libraries have passes you can check out for a few days at a time.
- org is a wonderful site for parents. The ideas are simple and use materials you can easily find around your house.
- The Association for Children’s Museums has all of Maine’s museums listed, plus you can find a museum if you visit another state or country!
Parent Resources have been developed for the Alfond Scholarship Foundation (ASF) by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and are provided to you by the ASF, which is solely