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.


Mother cradles newborn

Happy Babies Need Happy Moms

Postpartum depression affects an estimated one out of nine women. These new moms must not only  acclimate to raising a newborn child, but also with the symptoms of this newfound depression. That’s no small feat.

When a Mom Feels Depressed, Her Baby’s Cells Might Feel It, Too (Scientific American)


Preschool boy plays with smart phone on the bed.

Laptops to Leapfrogs

Children have been sitting in front of screens ever since the advent of television. From TVs to smart phones, and laptops to LeapFrogs, children and adults are fascinated by the near endless possibilities of these devices.

What if Children Should be Spending More Time with Screens? (The Wall Street Journal)


The Maryland State House in Annapolis MD the capitol of the State of Maryland on a spring day.

Child care subsidy is good for MD

If Maryland increases the Child Care Subsidy rates so that we are subsidizing parents up to the federally-recommended 75% of child care settings in their communities, families will have more choices and access to better programs.

Child Care Subsidy (MFN)
Child Care Subsidy Program (MSDE)


Young girl in classroom sits at table with empty objects

food insecurity

When a young child experiences regular bouts of food insecurity they are more likely to be unprepared for kindergarten than children who know where the next meal is coming from.

Food Insecurity and Kindergarten Readiness (UVA Today)
Food Security in the U.S. (USDA)


adorable baby looks like he's contemplating some bad decisions

The Kids Are Not All Right

We’ve all made bad decisions before. But adverse experiences during the first five years of life can make it very difficult to ever make good decisions.

How Childhood Trauma Adversely Affects Decision-Making (Pacific Standard)


are babies reading between the lines

Recent research suggests that the quality of what is read to children during the first year of life may be just as important to their development as the quantity of what is read.

For Baby’s Brain to Benefit, Read the Right Books at the Right Time (The Conversation)
Evidence Based Approach to Promoting Early Child Development (Reach Out and Read)
Book List for Infant and Toddlers (Read Aloud America)


Spanking and violence

Spanking a child has long-term consequences. New research suggests that people who are spanked during early childhood have a greater likelihood of perpetrating violence toward romantic partners.

Childhood Corporal Punishment and Future Perpetration of Physical Dating Violence (The Journal of Pediatrics)
Risks of Harm from Spanking Confirmed by Analysis of Five Decades of Research (University of Texas at Austin)
The Case Against Spanking (American Psychological Association)
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities (CDC)


Toddler sitting on floor playing with a sorter toy

too many toys

The holidays are a tempting time to shower children with toys. At the risk of sounding like the Grinch, a new study suggests that there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to children and toys.

The Influence of the Number of Toys in the Environment on Toddlers’ Play. (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
Giving Toddlers Fewer Toys Makes One Major Difference to Their Playtime (Science Alert)


Cute Aggression

That impulse to take a little bite out of a baby due to his or her overwhelming cuteness actually has a name…and a purpose. Listen and find out more!

Dimorphous Expressions of Positive Emotion (Association for Psychological Science)
When We See Something Cute, Why Do We Want to Squeeze It? (National Geographic)


Mother and baby work on a task together

Stick to it.

Young children who watch adults remain committed to a task are more likely to try harder when performing their own tasks. Find out why this matters!

Babies Can Learn that Hard Work Pays Off (MIT)


Happy baby grasping hands

The Money Myth

There’s a myth in America that anyone who is determined enough can get rich. But the family you’re born into is a much more likely predictor of future wealth.

This Chart Shows That Your Parents’ Income Determines Your Future (Market Watch)
The Striking Power of Poverty to Turn Young Boys into Jobless Men (The Washington Post)


Infant portrait with funny shocked face expression

Three Essential Policies

According to UNICEF, there are three essential national policies that support families with young children — two years of free early childhood education for three and four year olds; paid breastfeeding breaks for new moms for the first six months; and adequate paid parental leave. The U.S. has none of these. Let’s change that.

Only 15 countries worldwide have three essential national policies that support families with young children (UNICEF)


Baby in a thinking pose having an idea

1,000 Days of Growth

During the first 1,000 days of a child’s life there is more growth and development than at any other point in life. What and whom a child is exposed to during the first 1,000 days influence a child for life

First 1,000 days crucial to child development: report (SBS)


Cute Baby Girl Wearing Bib Sitting In High Chair

Early Intervention Matters

You can’t control the genes your baby inherits. But you can determine how well your baby is loved and supported. Abuse and neglect in early childhood can profoundly affect the brain.

These Two Brains Belong to Three-Year-Olds, So Why is One So Much Bigger? (The Telegraph)


worried and thoughtful teenage girl with her mother at home

Let’s Talk Teens

At Maryland Family Network we say that the first five years of a child’s life are the most important.
That’s true but we want to talk to you a little bit about teenagers.

Teen Girls Relationship with Parents Can Affect Baby Bonding Later in Life (Herald Sun)
Maryland’s Network of Family Support Centers (Maryland Family Network)

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