The First Five Years | WYPR

The First Five Years

Wednesdays at 4:32 pm
  • Hosted by Hosted by: Linnea Anderson

"The First Five Years" is a weekly program presented by Maryland Family Network.  The series is focused on the extraordinary developmental period from birth to age five. "The First Five Years" highlights the challenges and opportunities related to nurturing young children and helping them build a solid foundation for success in school and in life.

“The First Five Years” is made possible with major support from the M&T Charitable Foundation. 

You can listen to an archive of past episodes of "The First Five Years" here.

Prescription for Play

Sep 12, 2018

The results are in and here’s the doctor’s prescription: more play for the little ones! That’s right, from stress management to language promotion, childhood playtime has significant value. And all you need is a little time and a love of fun.

Maryland voters agree that universal pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds, and providing pre-K to low-income three-year-olds, is of great importance. This according to Maryland Family Network's recently released statewide poll of likely voters, conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Services. Voters were asked if they favor expanding access to public pre-K to all four-year-olds, if they favor providing access to public pre-K to three-year-olds from low-income families, and if they favored state government spending to make this happen. Those asked were intensely in agreement about the value of these programs and the need to make them a reality regardless of the participants political affiliation, age, gender, race, or region.

Baby Voices

Aug 29, 2018

“What do you think James Earl Jones sounded like as a baby? How about David Attenborough? A group of French researchers suggests that the pitch of their voices — and yours too — may have sounded when they were babies much as it does now that they’re adults. The researchers believe that the pitch of babies’ cries from as young as four-months-old can predict what their speech will sound like at five-years-old. Experts have also found that the pitch of a seven-year-old boy’s voice can likewise predict what he will sound like as an adult.”

Civic Engagement

Aug 22, 2018

The political divide in America seems to be wider than ever yet civic engagement is on the rise. But how do busy parents find time to get involved? We’ve got a few ideas!   

 

Being a new parent is wonderful…and it can also be terrifying. Here are five secrets that often go under reported in parenting circles.

Shhhh. Listen. Do you hear that? Kids and caregivers across the State are cheering! The State announced last week that annual income limits for Maryland’s Child Care Subsidy (CSS) Program will increase dramatically effective August 1st. This will significantly help more Maryland families access quality child care and early education programs.

“It is no exaggeration to say that as a result of this change, the future will also change for many low-income children in Maryland. Today we celebrate with them,” Margaret E. Williams, Executive Director, Maryland Family Network said about the news.

Exercise does a body good. Everyone knows that. But new research points to even greater benefits, especially for the children of fathers who exercise regularly.

A study published in Cell Reports suggests that the physical activity of fathers may impact the brains and minds of their children. Physical activity strengthens neural connections, thus improving brain function, sharpening both memory and thinking. The process of changing neural connections also alters epigenetics—the regulators of our genes--- which are passed down which are passed down to our children.

Usually parents do their best to steer babies clear of germs. However there is at least one strain of bacteria that children need. Unfortunately scientists at UC Davis say it is disappearing . . . to the detriment of our children.

Tummy Time

Jul 18, 2018

There’s a ton of pediatric advice out there, a great deal of which promotes tummy time for babies. Positioning babies on their stomachs not only helps to prevent flat spots on the back of your baby’s developing head, it is also good for strengthening neck, shoulder, and even hand muscles. Tummy time also helps improve motor development, as it works the muscles that are integral for fine motor skills.

Attitude Counts

Jul 11, 2018

What will your new baby be like? What fun things will you do together? What do you want to share with him or her?

Asking a pregnant mother these questions might help her to be healthier during pregnancy and interact positively with her infant after he or she is born. So say experts at the Centre for Family Research in a recently published study. 

Don't Forget Dads

Jul 4, 2018

There have been numerous studies on the importance of father-child relationships. These include how such emotional connections in the early years lay the foundation for lifelong health and well-being. Studies have also shown how fathers who are involved during pregnancy have healthier children. The positive influences of involved dads are well-known. 

Statistics show that more and more millennials are having children, and among this group, the demand for family-friendly urban living is growing. But across the country, supply doesn’t meet demand.

Using data from the study, tracking how often children spent time with their friends from the ages of six to sixteen, suggests that having active social lives during childhood is good for our health. They found that boys who spent more time with their friends during childhood and adolescence tended to have healthier blood pressure and body mass index as adults.

Simon Says

Jun 13, 2018

Simon Says playing games with your young children is one way for them to learn impulse control.  

Trauma Hurts

Jun 8, 2018

Researchers at Penn State recently conducted a study that found connections between early childhood adversity and chronic pain in adulthood. Using data culled from over 260 participants who had reported some level of childhood trauma, researchers found that childhood adversity was linked to not only to pain but mood and sleep problems, in adulthood.

Home Sweet Home

May 23, 2018

A neighborhood strewn with trash and lined with vacant homes is much more than an eyesore. It is an indicator that the children who live there may never reach their potential.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied data on thousands of children, starting at birth, for more than 10 years. They asked parents living in East Baltimore to rate the perceived quality of their neighborhood for raising children on a five point scale ranging from poor to excellent. The parents who rated their neighborhood “poor” lived among abandoned houses, litter including discarded drug paraphernalia, and were noisy.  The researchers found that children growing up in these neighborhoods are more likely as teens to display problem behaviors like fighting, stealing, vandalism, or disobeying rules than children living in the “excellent” neighborhoods.

Depression isn’t good for mothers. That’s obvious. Now a study has found links from mom’s depression to difficulties her kids may be experiencing.


A new study sheds light on the connections between melatonin levels and the sleeping patterns of very young children. The results may provide a beacon of hope for parents of children who mightily resist bedtime.

Great news: there’s a way to save our state’s economy billions of dollars a year – improve Maryland’s child care system.


Awareness of the opioid crisis continues to grow and recent studies focus on the effects of opioid-exposure to infant brain development. The results – like the crisis itself – are not good.

It’s hard to read a person’s mind. It’s even harder to read a baby’s mind. But a study from the University of Washington provides new insight into the workings of the infant brain.

Get Outside Now

Apr 11, 2018


Over 55% of parents surveyed in ten countries said their children spent less than an hour a day playing outside. Shockingly the researchers determined that one in ten children never play outside. Let’s get children outside…now.   

Childhood brain development has been the focus of much study over the last few decades. Childhood moral development, on the other hand, has received significantly less attention. Until now.

ACEs & Latino Kids

Mar 28, 2018

A report from the nonprofit Salud America! shows that eight-in-ten or 78% of all Latino children in America have faced at least one Averse Childhood Experience. This is the fastest growing demographic in America. What can be done to change this trend?

A Big Problem

Mar 21, 2018

 

Here’s something that is a very big deal. A recent CDC survey indicates that there has been no progress in halting childhood obesity.

Thinking about getting a pet? In addition to being a good companion, that furry friend may help with your child’s brain development.

Cry Like a Baby

Mar 7, 2018

Babies cry….a lot. But did you know they cry in womb too? A mother’s stress just may be effect how much.

Full STEAM Ahead

Feb 28, 2018

 


STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics is an educational philosophy and practice which has really gained momentum of late. But it’s missing something that not only changes the acronym, but the entire program. Add an A for Art and make STEAM.

 

Decades of psychological experiments with children as young as two-year-old have shown that children lie. But lying is not just normal, it’s a sign of intelligence.

 

Postpartum depression affects an estimated one out of nine women. These new moms must not only must acclimate to raising a newborn child, but also with the symptoms of this newfound depression. That’s no small feat.

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