The First Five Years | WYPR

The First Five Years

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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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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.

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?

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