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.

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Audio will be posted by Friday morning. 

Transitions can be hard. At four years of age, imagine how scary it would be to enter school for the first time! Having a clear plan to prepare for pre-kindergarten at age 4 or kindergarten at age 5 is not only helpful to you, but also a major benefit to your child. Listen here to learn more.

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When that second child comes along it can be hard for an older sibling. After all, who wants to share the spotlight? But, don’t lose hope. Here are a few strategies to help ease your child’s transition to becoming a big brother or sister.

Do you have to go potty? Are you sure? Listen now for a few tips to make potty training go smoothly.

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Divorce is difficult, especially for children. If shared custody is involved, there’s an extra layer of complexity. Yet millions of parents successfully share custody with their children. Listen here for tips on how to help your family adjust to some of the daily changes that come with divorce.

Parent Cafes

Aug 14, 2019
Maryland Family Network

Wouldn’t you like to get together with other parents to share ideas, learn about resources, and have a dialogue about common challenges? Well, you’re in luck. Parent Cafés provide comfortable, confidential opportunities for parents and caregivers to engage in conversations about maintaining strong families. Listen here to learn more.

The State of Grandparents

Aug 7, 2019
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A Pew Research Center survey of American grandparents found that spending time with grandchildren can be not only a necessity but also a joy. Indeed, over half of American grandparents believe having more time with family, and specifically grandchildren, is the best part of growing older. Listen here to learn more.

Intergenerational Approaches

Aug 2, 2019
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According to the World Health Organization, ageism is more ingrained around the world than either racism or sexism. Researchers at Cornell University believe that age-related prejudices can be overcome through intergenerational interactions. Listen now to learn about the benefits for both children and elders.

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While in the womb, some children hear as much as five hours of language per day, according to a study from the University of Illinois. Yet others will hear far fewer. During pregnancy and during the first five years of life, the brain is developing more rapidly than at any other time. Talking with children, a lot, during that time builds the brain architecture needed later to support communication, reading, and other skills needed throughout life. Listen now for more.

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Researchers from Stanford University examined a Swedish law that allows fathers to take up to 30 days, as needed, in the year after a birth. Since the law was enacted, there has been a 26 percent decrease in anti-anxiety prescriptions and a 14 percent reduction in hospitalizations for new Swedish mothers. Meanwhile the United States is the only industrialized country with no paid leave required by law for either parent. It’s time for a change. The time for paid family leave is now. Listen now to learn more.

Water Safety

Jul 10, 2019
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Summer’s here and the time is right…for swimming! And that means it’s time to stay vigilant when your child is in or near the water. Drowning happens in a matter of seconds and is the leading cause of injury-related deaths of children one to four years of age in the United States. Listen now to learn more about water safety.

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When America was founded nearly 250 years ago “child care” would have meant spending the day on the farm or in the fields. We’ve come a long way since then. The Maryland General Assembly recently took another step toward making child care available to more families. For the first time in 20 years Maryland’s Child and Dependent Tax Credit was expanded. Listen now to learn more about how this legislation benefits us all.

Outdoor Play

Jun 26, 2019
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While the importance of outdoor play is well known, results from a study done in the UK reveal that children today are spending much less time outdoors than is recommended. Listen now to learn more.

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The push for paternity leave continues to intensify. Research shows the benefits of paternity leave to both newborns and families. What are the implications of this, and how does it affect child development? Listen here to learn more.

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Toddlers’ brains are like sponges, soaking up the vocabulary and mannerisms of those around them. Researchers at Ohio State University and Purdue University studied children’s learning habits and concluded that children learn new words best from their peers. Listen now to learn more about the implications of these findings.

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Little ones are full of energy, excitement, and inquisitiveness. Directing that energy into productive play and safe activities can be challenging. Here are three tips to keep in mind to help you do just that. Listen here to learn more.

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Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman says that the benefits of attending a high-quality early childhood program are so great that they positively impact at least two generations. Heckman’s research looked at a program that started five decades ago for children who attended the Perry Preschool. Now the children of those children are reaping the benefits thanks to their parents' participation. Listen now to learn more.

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Racism and sexism are killing us. According to the Centers for Disease Control, black women in America die at three to four times the rate of white women during childbirth. Black babies die at twice the rate of white babies. The chronic stress black women experience from combined racism and sexism may be the reason for higher rates of pre-term birth, low-birthweight, and infant and maternal mortality among black mothers and babies. Listen here to find out why.

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Workplace breastfeeding discrimination lawsuits are up 800% over the past decade. Without having access to appropriate accommodations for breastfeeding, mothers are at risk of developing painful infections and may become unable to produce enough milk to sustain a baby’s nutritional needs. Maryland does not currently have specific lactation laws in place so knowing how to accommodate nursing moms is necessary to keep them on the job. Listen now to learn more.

One in seven is pretty good odds. The Centers for Disease Control, however, report that one in seven American children has experienced abuse or neglect in some form over the past year. Whether you’re a parent, relative, friend, teacher, or neighbor, recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect can help improve a child’s chance for survival.

Books Win Out

May 1, 2019
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A study at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital examined the effects of reading with toddlers using physical books versus reading with technology. The results show that it may be time to unplug and visit a library near you. Listen now to find out more benefits of good old-fashioned books over screens and tablets.

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Half of all U.S. families has reported difficulty finding child care. According to the Council for a Strong America, the U.S. national economy loses roughly $57 billion each year as a result of child care issues. Businesses depend on employees, and employees depend on child care. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make child care a better business. Listen here to learn more.

Vision Screenings & Early Awareness

Apr 17, 2019
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Look at this:  According to the American Optometric Association, infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months of age, an additional exam at age three, and another before entering first grade. Can you see why this is so important? Listen here to find out more.

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It’s well known that breastfeeding provides significant health benefits for newborns. Perhaps less well known is the fact that breastfeeding can offset the possible negative prenatal consequences of intimate partner violence. Listen here to learn how breastfeeding promotes a child’s physical and mental health.

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Growing up near green spaces is good for mental health. In fact, the more time young children spend in nature the lower the risk of mental health issues later in life. So find the closest green space near you – whether it’s a community garden, an urban park, or a lush forest – and explore the benefits of Mother Nature. Listen now to learn more.

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A recent study out of Canada has found that children who both bully and are bullied are at higher risk of experiencing childhood depression as well as depression in adulthood. Children cannot protect themselves from bullying, and should not be expected to do so. Parents, child care providers, teachers, babysitters, and pediatricians have the ability to determine the environment in which a child grows. It’s imperative that this environment exclude bullying of all types.

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“Kids just want to have fun. That’s good because children learn through play. And playing with your children offers you a way to put more fun in your busy, serious life. Make time to play with a child today and as often as possible.”

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During the first five years, children are learning huge amounts of information every moment. A child’s experiences in the early years actually build the brain’s architecture. Listen here to see how you can help build the foundation for a lifetime.

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When it comes to knowing what preverbal babies want, parents sometimes wish the universe would give them a sign. One way of lessening the frustration may be using baby sign language. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that babies who are exposed often and early to sign language can begin to use signs successfully by eight or nine months, right about the time children begin to know what they want.

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Caring for children with disabilities and special needs takes time. It also takes patience, flexibility, and in many cases Paid Family Leave. With Paid Family Leave for working family members, these children can get the support they need while their parents have the time off needed to provide that care. The time to act is now.

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Our parents and grandparents have devoted much of their lives to caring for us. With more than 43 million unpaid family caregivers in the US, the time is now to implement the benefits of Paid Family Leave. It’s now our turn to care for them, and we owe them the best care possible.

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