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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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!   

 

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.

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