The First Five Years | WYPR

The First Five Years

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New research from Vanderbilt University shows very young children may be captivated by screens, but they are not able to learn from them. When it comes to learning, that time is better spent talking to your child.


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Research from Johns Hopkins University finds that babies may be able to count...sort of. Even though they can’t yet say words like one, two, or three, the babies studied seemed to understand that counting indicates quantity.

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Moms, you are enough. Don’t let the internet tell you any different. Listen now to learn more.

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A panel of scientists recently released new nutritional guidelines for children. According to these guidelines, for the first five years children should avoid sugary drinks and consume primarily milk and water. Listen now and drink up the knowledge!

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The U.S. has the largest population of incarcerated people in the whole world. Accordingly, there are approximately five million children in the U.S. who have a parent in jail, prison, or on parole. When a person is imprisoned the impact is vast; it is felt by their family, their community, and, sadly, their children.

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Most parents are aware that communication with their infant influences how the child learns. What’s less known is the impact that infants have on their parents. Researchers at Cornell University’s B.A.B.Y. Laboratory found that babies’ babbling effects the ways in which parents communicate with their infants.

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Young children’s brains and bodies develop faster during the first five years than at any other time. They need healthy food to power that growth. But food insecurity is still a major issue facing many American families. Listen now to learn more.

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Does your child suffer from nyctophobia? Probably. Even though it sounds alarming, nyctophobia is known as “afraid of the dark.” Typically, children develop a fear of the dark between the ages of two and four, when children begin to use their imaginations, ask lots of questions, and become anxious about the unknown. It’s important to recognize this phenomenon and to respond accordingly. Listen here to learn more.

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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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