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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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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Soldiers are trained to expect the unexpected. So when caregivers needs arise or change as a result of a deployment, families need to be ready. It’s time to be Gung Ho for Paid Family Leave.

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What do Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Lesotho, and the United States have in common? They are the only four countries which do not mandate paid time off for new parents.

Get the Lead Out

Jan 30, 2019
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Baltimore City saw a 97% decrease in the number of children with elevated blood-lead levels over the last 25 years. But the threat remains, and there are still too many children with dangerously high levels of lead in their system. Together let’s get the lead out and create a healthier future for our children.

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It takes a lot to be a good dad – especially time. Yet while some employers recognize the importance of providing leave for men, most do not. Maryland can make the crucial time off dads need to bond with their babies the new normal. It’s time for a change. Listen here to see how we can make this happen.

Gender Stereotyping

Jan 16, 2019
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Gender stereotyping plays a significant role in who our children believe they can become. But gender typecasting, often unintentional, is ingrained in our culture or family of origin and is too rarely questioned or resisted. Remember, what you say and do are the greatest influence on who your child will become.

Time to Care

Jan 9, 2019
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We all need time to care – for new babies, for aging parents, for loved ones with health needs, or for healing ourselves. Yet many Americans can’t take time to care because we lack paid family leave. The United States is the only industrialized nation without paid family leave. The time for paid family leave is now.

Essay Contest

Jan 2, 2019
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Each year Maryland Family Network holds an essay contest open to the parents served at our 25 Family Support Centers across the state. Here’s a quote from one of this year’s winners: “The Family Support Center is my second home…My daughter and I are living unforgettable moments, acquiring knowledge to…have a splendid future. This is like a gift that life has given me…Being here has changed my family’s life for the better.” Listen now to hear the rest.

Sleeping Stats

Dec 26, 2018
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New parents often expect their baby to start sleeping through the night by six months of age. However, a large percentage of healthy babies don’t reach that milestone by six months or even by 12 months. Listen now for more information on what may be keeping you and your baby up at night.

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Play is essential to all young children and toys provide opportunities to use the imagination, which leads to healthy development. Make sure you have safety as well as social and creative development in mind when you shop this holiday season.  

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In 2017, the U.S. saw an increase in premature births for the third year in a row. Maryland’s preterm birth rates have followed this national trend. What can be done to combat our high infant mortality rate?

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“Go to your room!” Parents are often tempted to use this age-old strategy when a child is misbehaving or having trouble managing his emotions. But does it help?

Baby Laughs

Nov 28, 2018
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Audio coming soon.   

What makes a baby laugh? A comprehensive survey attempts to answer this very question. Whether tickling, peekaboo, or any other number of games or mishaps, a baby’s laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

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Racism and discrimination affect people in many different ways. A recent study published in American Psychologist looks at the effects of racism on children, and the findings are stunning and concerning.

The study found that children begin to feel racial differences as early as six months old. Researchers learned that children as young as age four are aware of being discriminated against. Investigators found that the early experience of racism was linked to lower academic achievement and to an increase in mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Listen to learn more. 

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Being a parent is a lot like being a librarian. A good librarian, like a good parent, provides you with the information to make your own choices and to follow your own interests. Listen now to learn what else good parents and librarians have in common. 

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Parenting is part science and part art. That’s why Maryland Family Network recently partnered with the American Visionary Art Museum for their current exhibit, Parenting: An Art Without a Manual. While there may not be an official parenting manual, there are lots of tips that can help. Check out the exhibit at AVAM, and pick up some parenting tips at MFN’s site.

Safe Sleep

Oct 31, 2018
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October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month. Being aware of safe sleep practices, and having the knowledge and resources to put these practices into place, can help to ensure that our little ones are getting the safest sleep possible. Sweet dreams.

Lactating Layovers

Oct 24, 2018
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Breastfeeding moms know how hard it can be to find a private place to pump, including in busy airports. But the newly passed Friendly Airports for Mothers Act is about to change all that. The law will make it safer, cleaner, and more comfortable for moms, and the concept is long overdue.

Violence is dangerous wherever it appears, even for babies during the prenatal period. Many children who were in the womb when their mom experienced violent episodes showed negative impacts nearly two years later. Helping to protect mothers also serves to protect children, and to change their outcomes.

The Power of No

Oct 10, 2018

It’s never too early to teach your child about the power of  the word ”no.” Saying no might not seem like much, but to children it is power, freedom, and practice for the autonomy they will need as adults to be safe and to make good choices. 


Inside Voices

Oct 4, 2018


Put your toys away! Quiet down! Stay in your seat! At some point, most parents lose their patience and speak harshly to their children. Chances are it didn't change your child’s behavior in the long run or make you feel confident as a parent. Yelling is only a release for you. It’s not an effective strategy to engender self-discipline. It is much more effective to speak to children with our inside voices.

 

Baby Dreams

Sep 26, 2018

Infants spend a lot of time sleeping. In fact most of their time is spent dozing. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could know what they were dreaming about? Decades of research have shown that REM sleep is crucial to brain development in infants. It is during this deep sleep when babies are converting all of their brand new experiences and observations into lasting memories and developing the foundation of new skills. It is how they learn.

Mr. Rogers

Sep 19, 2018

It has been 50 years since Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood premiered on PBS. The messages that he brought to children are just as relevant today as they were then. Making kids feel valued, liked, and important simply because they are kids was consistent throughout Mr. Rogers’ entire run. You don’t have to do anything other than be yourself to be special.

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!   

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