The First Five Years

The First Five Years on WYPR

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The First Five Years
is a weekly radio program presented by Maryland Family Network and airing on WYPR 88.1 FM. 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.

African-American toddler girl with ponytail and hair beads

46 Years of Progress

Where do you see your child in 10 years? 25 years? How about 50 years from now? If they have access to quality early care and education, parents may be a little closer to being able to predict a child’s future.

Strong Early Education Equals Better Long-term Relationships with Parents, Research Shows (Science Daily)
The Carolina Abecedarian Project

caring muslim mother kissing baby boy while he is asleep

Sleep Tight

Getting enough sleep is even more important to a child’s development than you might think. Rest assured getting that sleep is possible. Find out more.

Sleep in early childhood may lead to cognitive, behavioral problems in later years (Science Daily)
Children and Sleep (National Sleep Foundation)

mother feeding baby girl, baby opens mouth wide

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity touches one in six children in our nation. It’s a problem that will affect them into adulthood.

Child Food Insecurity in Maryland (Feeding America)
Maryland WIC
Child and Adult Care Food Program (USDA)
Kids Who Suffer Hunger in First Years Lag Behind Their Peers in School (NPR)

Infant wearing Dad's glasses

Building Baby’s Brains

Did you ever cram for an exam? It was probably not a successful way to learn. But babies are learning incredible amounts very quickly. Find out how!

Talking is teaching: 5 creative ways to help your baby learn today (
Learning, Play, and Your Newborn (

Anti-Bias Education - the key to a healthy relationship

Anti-Bias Education

Anti-bias education builds self-awareness and confidence in young children. It teaches them to celebrate the differences that make our country great.

Anti-Bias Education (NAEYC)

Coding Babies for Success

Babies and toddlers don’t need fancy electronics to become STEM experts. They need the time and dedication of parents and educators.

The T in STEM: Creating Play-Based Experiments That Support Children’s Learning of Coding and Higher Order Thinking (NAEYC)

Alternative Facts

Lies, fibs, tall tales, or shall we say “alternative facts.” Whatever you want to call them, it’s a natural part of a child’s development to experiment with the truth. But they need you to guide them.

When Young Children Lie (Zero to Three)

Baby Box

Boxes are the latest trend. You can subscribe to have a box deliver your meals. There’s one with razors and organic shaving cream. And one with new desserts to try. Now, there’s a box that saves baby’s lives.

NJ Becomes the First State to Send New Parents Home with Baby Boxes (Philly Voice)
Why Finnish Babies Sleep in Cardboard Boxes (BBC)

One Year Can Change a Life

What if just one year could change your life? It can. If it happens at an early age.

One Year of High-Quality Early Education Improves Outcomes for Low-Income Infants, Toddlers (Science Daily)

Lucky 13

The lucky number when it comes to early childhood? Thirteen. Find out why!

High Quality Birth-to-Five Programs Produce Greater Return on Investment (Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute)
The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program (Heckan Equation)

Sing for Success

Singing to your baby writes a score that prepares a child’s brain for future language and communication skills. Listen now!

Singing to Children May Help Development of Language Skills (The Guardian)
10 Ways Babies Learn When we Sing to Them (NAEYC)

Count with me

Simply counting objects out loud while playing with your youngster can add up to big benefits later on. Listen to find out why.

Kindergartners’ Mathematics Success Hinges on Preschool Skills (Science Daily)

Focus on this

Vision problems are increasingly common among children. Canadian researchers have found a way to drastically reduce the likelihood of children developing vision issues. Hint: It’s outside.

Outdoor Time is Good for Your Eyes (Science News for Students)

Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Don’t let cold weather stop your children from spending time outside. Contrary to what you may think, exposure to cold weather is beneficial to a little one’s health and development.

Bundle Up and Get Outside: Why Kids Should Play Outdoors in Winter (

Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion

There are alternatives to suspension and expulsion. Especially when it comes to pre-Kindergartners. Listen to find out more.

Pre-K Expulsion Reports and Policy Briefs (Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy)
Four Key Facts About pre-K Expulsion (Eye on Early Education)
Racial Bias (Margaret’s Blog)
Using Positive Discipline (Maryland Family Network)

Building Strong Kids

Who will your child become? That’s a concern for many parents. Duke University researchers may have a clue. Listen now!

Brain Tests Predict Children’s Futures (BBC)

Don’t Be a Dope

Many states have or are legalizing marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes. So what does second hand marijuana smoke mean for young children? Listen to find out more.

Doctors Say Parents Shouldn’t Smoke Pot Around Kids (NPR)
Marijuana Chemicals Found in Urine of Children Exposed to Smoke (AAP)
Hazards of Secondhand Marijuana Smoke (CBS News)

The Six C’s

Are your children learning their A, B, C’s? What about just the C’s? The book Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us about Raising Successful Children introduces the concept of the six C’s of effective child development. Listen now!

Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children (APA)
6 Things Science says Kids Need to Succeed in Education and Business (Forbes)

Media Malaise

We bring you a special news bulletin: Are your children at risk of Media Malaise? Tune in to find out!

Media and Young Minds (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Screen Free Parenting

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In the moment

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say that teaching mindfulness to children as young as four-years-old can help them be more aware of how they are feeling not only physically but also emotionally and socially, and be more aware of the feelings of others.

Teaching Mindfulness to Preschoolers May Improve School Performance (What to Expect)
Spiderman Breaths and Mindfulness in Pre-K (Mindful Schools)

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Let them eat dirt.

A little dirt never hurt. In fact, it might be a good thing. Listen to find out why.

Stop keeping your kids too clean for their own good! (Washington Post)

Family Care

Benefits of Family Care

Parents have many options when it comes to choosing child care. One of the most popular, especially for the very young, is family child care.

Resources for Parents (MD State Family Child Care Association)
Family Child Care Providers  (MSDE)


Great U.S.

The Country has gone through some major changes lately. What hasn’t changed are the needs of our kids.

Motivation to Move Forward (Maryland Family Network)

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Time for a Check Up?

A trip to the doctor can be scary. But we’ve got some tips to help make the visit less stressful for everyone.

Helping Kids Who Are Scared of Going to the Doctor (Child Mind Institute)

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Something you already do with your toddler just may reduce her chances of experiencing depression during her lifetime. Listen now and find out more.

Early Childhood Language Skills May Impact Depression Risk (Psych Central)

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Too Spooky?

What’s Too Scary? (NAEYC)
4 Ways to Make Halloween Less Scary (Parents)
Please Don’t Scare the Little Ones at Halloween Time (The Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development)

Raising boys to be men

We’ve heard a lot about “locker room talk” lately. What you say now, matters in raising boys to become responsible men.

How to Raise Sons Who Respect Women (Huffington Post)

diversity in early childhood

We live in diverse world. The best early learning environments – at child care and at home– reflect that diversity.

Diversity in Early Childhood Programs (Early Childhood News)
Engaging Diverse Families (NAEYC)
Diversity and Inclusion in Early Care and Education (CDA Council)

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Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

Early to bed and early to rise makes us healthy, wealthy, and wise. But do you know why? Find out!

How an Early Bedtime Can Have Lasting Effects on Kids (CNN)
Children and Sleep (National Sleep Foundation)


Attention: Babies!

This message is just for babies and toddlers. Parents, you’ll thank us later.

How Babies Communicate (Kids Health)
How to Support Your Child’s Communication Skills (Zero to Three)


STEM in Groups

The University of Washington has found a way to get young learners more interested and competent in STEM subjects—learn in groups.

UW Today (University of Washington)

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Play to Learn

Play is how we learn to learn. Beginning at birth, children need lots of play time. Here’s why.

The Power of Play (Minnesota Children’s Museum)
10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play (NAEYC)


Play Labs

If children learn through play, then a playground is their laboratory. Make sure the playground at your child care meets your little learner’s needs. Listen now.

Playground and Water Safety Guidelines (MSDE)
Playground Safety (Kids Health)
Where Danger Lurks: Evaluating New and Existing Playground Equipment (Early Childhood News)

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Multiple Intelligences

Why do some subjects seem harder or easier than others? The Theory of Multiple Intelligences offers explanation of why we all learn differently.

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Northern Illinois University)

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Mommy Brain

As a mom, do you ever feel like a superhero? Well, it’s possible that pregnancy and childbirth may be giving you Super Mommy Brain! Listen now.

What Happens to a Woman’s Brain When She Becomes a Mother (The Atlantic)
Does Having a Baby Really Make It Harder to Concentrate? (Our American Stories)

Provider’s Paychecks

Many of the professionals entrusted to care for our children are severely underpaid and relying on public assistance to make ends meet. They deserve better.

Trends in Child Care (MFN)
The State of Early Childhood Workforce (Center for the Study of Child Care Employment)

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What to Look For

It’s time to make the hardest choice a new parent can make: selecting a child care provider. Find out if you’re ready.

Choosing Child Care (MFN)
Choosing Child Care for Children with Special Needs (MFN)


medicaid expansion

A mother’s lack of health care coverage can have a devastating impact on her children. Find out how.

Medicaid Expansion Helps Kids by Helping Moms Get Care for Maternal Depression (Center for Law and Social Policy)
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What Unites U.S.

Americans just can’t find common ground any more. It seems we’re split down party lines and the division is only getting wider. Except on one issue. Listen now to find out what unites us.

A Divided Electorate is United On Early Childhood Education (First Five Years Fund)

unstable housing

We need to make home sweet home a reality for more families. Find out why.

Safe, Stable Homes Lead to Healthier Children and Families for Baltimore (Children’s Healthwatch)
Reduce Poverty by Improving Housing Stability (Urban Institute)
The Family Options Study (HUD)

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Great News for Grandparents

Spending time with your grandchildren could be good for your brain. Learn more.

Babysitting Grandkids Could Lower Risk for Alzheimer’s (
Study Boosts Grandparent-Grandchild Ties (Boston College Chronicle)

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The Happiness Gap

Have you heard of the happiness gap? Listen now and find out why American parents are less happy than others.

Why Parents in the U.S. Have the Biggest ‘Happiness Gap’ (Huffington Post)
Americans Work More Than Anyone (ABC News)

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Raise the Wage. Raise Healthy Kids.

One way to lower the number of infant deaths in U.S. is by raising the minimum wage. Listen now and learn the difference a dollar can make.