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.

young mother and father with newborn

Confident and Compassionate

You want to raise confident and compassionate children. But what’s the best way to do that?

Are you raising nice kids? A Harvard psychologist gives 5 ways to raise them to be kind (Washington Post)

A Revolution of Tenderness: A Summer Experience to Heal The Harshness and Embrace What Is Sacred (Lisa McCrohan)

colorful puzzle ribbon as symbol of autism awareness

Autism and Early Detection

Early detection can help make a world of difference for a child with autism spectrum disorder and his or her family.

LOCATE: Child Care Special Needs Service (
Learn the Signs. Act Early. (CDC)
Early Intervention for Toddlers with Autism Highly Effective, Study Finds (Autism Speaks)
Symptoms (Autism Society)

cropped shot of a tired father lying on the floor next to his little baby

Depressed Daddies

Becoming a father is wonderful. But many dads, like mothers, can be more vulnerable to depression after the birth of a child. But you’re not alone and help is available. Listen now.

New dads risk depression too, study says (CNN)
Paternal Depression Symptoms During Pregnancy and After Childbirth Among Participants in the Growing Up in New Zealand Study (jamanetwork)
Dads Get Sad Too (Sage Journals)

 Young African-American girl is having fun outside

Outdoor Education

Little brains learn best when they are active. That’s why nature makes such a great classroom.

Laboratory for Learning: The Power of Outdoor Classrooms to Fuel Creativity (Outdoor Playthings)
Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature (Child Mind Institute)

boy eating a birthday cake


Self-restraint is hard. So why expect a toddler to have mastered the art of self-control?

Toddlers and Self-Control: A Survival Guide for Parents (PBS Parents)
Help Your Child Develop Self-Control (Zero to Three)

caucasian boy looking sadly through the bars outdoor

When Mom or Dad is Incarcerated

Despite being behind bars and often separated by many miles, young children and their parents still need each other when the adult is incarcerated.

Strategic Plan (Governor’s Office for Children)
The Right Investment? Corrections Spending in Baltimore City (Prison Policy Initiative)
Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration (Sesame Street)
Children and Families Affected by Incarceration (Governor’s Office for Children)

somber looking baby sitting in a stroller

UPK is Good for the Mind . . . and the Body

Pre-K helps a child learn and succeed socially and economically. New findings suggest that when young children have access to early care and education, their health outcomes are good, too!

Universal Pre-K Improves Kids’ Health in a Hidden, Powerful Way (Business Insider)

cute 4 months old baby making a funny surprised face

Strong Foundations

Here is some news that will expand your mind. For years it was thought that a newborn’s brain makes 700 to 1,000 new neural connections per second. It’s actually more. A lot more.

New Research Shows Significantly More Neural Connections Formed During Early Years than Previously Thought (First Five Years Fund)

portrait of blonde caucasian baby nineteen month age with pigtails chubby face yellow shirt looking at dollar banknote on brown table

The Price of Doing Nothing

The price of high-quality child care is through the roof. But what is the price of not helping our children get a strong start?

The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program (Heckman Equation)
Child Care Subsidy Program (Maryland Family Network)
MFN Written Testimony (Includes testimony regarding Child Care Subsidy) (Maryland Family Network)

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)

Building Blocks to Success - child playing with blocks

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 - Little girl Shhhh!

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 Boxes - a baby in a box

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)

I heart family support centers - smiling little girl

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)

Smiling little boy bundled up in from of Early Head Start center

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)

Smiling baby in mother's arms

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)

One sheep, two sheep - counting is fun

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 the youth - baby with glasses

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)

Young boy bundled up on bicycle

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 (

No suspensions/expulsions - crying little boy

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)

Smiling little girl with clenched hands

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)

Smoke rings on black background

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 6 C's of child development - C block

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)

Little boy on cellphone

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)

11204029 - boy playing in the garden with sandy hands

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)

Young girl with small child in her arms

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)

11102145 - little girl is examining her teddy bear using stethoscope, isolated over white

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)

32995683 - cute mother and child boy play together indoors at home

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)

48631879 - baby under four months old dressed for halloween

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)

Boys to Men - baby feet on adult feet

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 is key - two small boys sitting on woman's lap

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)

61557252 - high angle view of handsome young afro american father looking at camera and showing silence sign while lying on sofa at home. little baby is sleeping in dad's arms

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)

43224326 - portrait of little african american little girl sitting on the floor and playing - black people

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)

27299224 - early learning baby

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)

14635126 - young woman with red super heros kit smiling

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)

Childcare provider and three young children at the drawing table

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)

27430678 - young family coloring easter eggs in kitchen

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)

Stable housing is imperative - parents worry, with child

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)

21693733 - caucasian grandmother carrying her small latin granddaughter

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)

33546113 - family with baby relaxing on outdoor garden swing seat

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)

28409819 - cropped image of doctor performing ultrasound on pregnant woman in clinic

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.

Boost Minimum Wage and Babies Benefit: Study (Health Day)
The Effect of an Increased Minimum Wage on Infant Mortality and Birth Weight (American Journal of Public Health )

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