The First Five Years

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Sleep Well!

Keeping regular sleep patterns is important for a young child’s development. Listen for some findings from SLEEP 2015, an annual gathering of Professional Sleep Societies.

What We’ve Learned About Kids and Sleep in 2015 (Huffington Post)
Children and Sleep (National Sleep Foundation)
SLEEP 2015

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“You are a superhero!”

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Resilient Parent! This superhero may not fly or leap tall buildings, but she can save your child’s future. What’s her true identity? It’s you!

I Am Safe and Secure: Promoting Resilience in Young Children (NAEYC)
Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association)
Strengthening Families (Maryland Family Network)

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“Dude! You’ve changed!”

This is an all too familiar sentiment that many new dads hear from their friends. Well, new research shows that dads do change. And for the better.

How a New Father’s Brain Changes (Scientific American)
How Fatherhood Can Change You (National Center for Fathering)

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Child Care Costs

The cost of child care in America has been on the rise since 2010. In Maryland, child care is almost always the second or third largest household expense for families. It’s an investment worth the money.

Trends in Child Care 2015 (Maryland Family Network)
How to Save on Child Care (Money)
FACT SHEET: Helping All Working Families with Young Children Afford Child Care (

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Deep Poverty

Twenty million Americans live in deep poverty. For a single parent raising one child, that translates to a gross family income of less than $7,600 dollars a year. That’s pretty deep.

Deep Poverty in the United States (Center for the Study of Social Policy)
Supporting Families in Deep Poverty: CSSP Statement on New Poverty Data (Center for the Study of Social Policy)
The Unwaged War on Deep Poverty (Urban Institute)
Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 (U.S. Census )

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Sharing is Caring

Sharing is hard. Look at the difficulty some adults us have relinquishing the TV remote! And we’re often pained to lend a friend a favorite book or let our partner use our car. So it’s no wonder that sharing doesn’t come easily to children.

11 Ways to Teach Your Child to Share (Ask Dr. Sears)
Learning to Share (Scholastic)

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Let’s Talk Temperaments

A child’s temperament describes how she approaches and reacts to the world. It’s her personal “style.” Understanding your child’s temperament can make you a better parent.

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament (PBS.Org)
Understanding Temperament in Infants and Toddlers (Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning)

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I Don’t Like Your Tone

Adults can be quick to judge people. We form our opinions based on not only what people say, but also how they say it. Now researchers at the University of Toronto suggest that very young children make similar snap judgments about people based on tone of voice alone.

Infants Judge People from Their Tone of Voice (Wall Street Journal)

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Little Scientists

A hands-on approach is a great way for young children to develop a lifelong love of science

Tips for Exploring Science with Children (PBS Kids)

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Child Chats

When was the last time you had a conversation with a baby? It should be as often as possible. Responding to her coos and babbles just might be the key that shifts language development into high gear.

Pretending to Understand What Babies Say Can Make Them Smarter (The Atlantic)
With Newborn Babies, It’s Mom Who Keeps the Conversation Going (LA Times)

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Touching Instinct

Human touch comforts, stimulates, and conveys emotions. But when does our need to be touched begin? What are the effects of touch on babies? Listen now to find out.

Can holding, cuddling and eye contact help babies grow and develop? (Zero to Three)
Early Skin-to-skin Contact for Mother and their Healthy Newborn Infants (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
Kangaroo Care (Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital)
Enhancing Development Through the Sense of Touch (Urban Child Institute)
Teaching Children About Positive Touch (Penn State Extension)

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Discussing Divorce

You tried working things out. But it’s over. Now you must break the news. Explaining divorce or separation to a young child is hard. So finding the age appropriate words and actions is important. We have some tips to help ease the pain.

Talking to Very Young Children About Divorce (Zero to Three)
How to talk to Your Children About Divorce (American Academy of Pediatrics)

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The Science of Reading

When reading a bedtime story to a young child, have you ever wondered what she’s thinking about? Well, researchers say they have more evidence that reading to young children has an impact on their developing minds.

Science Proves Reading to Kids Really Does Change Their Brains (Huffington Post)
Home Reading Environment and Brain Activation in Preschool Children Listening to Stories (Pediatrics)
10 Tips for Parents of Young Children (Reading is Fundamental)



Wouldn’t it be splendid if Mary Poppins appeared one day with all her magic to babysit for your children? In the real world, finding the right babysitter can be a source of anxiety. Luckily, the University of Michigan Health System has some recommendations to help you find the right person for the job. Listen now.

Babysitter Safety—What Parents and Sitters Need to Know (University of Michigan Health System)
Selecting a Babysitter (Child Development Institute)
Getting to Know a Babysitter (American Academy of Pediatrics)

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Baby Scientists

Is your baby conducting experiments? Well, if she drops peas from her high chair or loves to toss baby food across the room, then you have a little scientist.

Importance of Destructive Play (Inspiration Laboratories)
Your Baby is Doing Little Physics Experiments All the Time, According to a New Study (Washington Post)
How to Stop Your Child From Throwing Food From the High Chair (Magic Beans)


Diapers and Depression

Did you know there is a connection between diapers and depression? Listen to find out why.

Diaper Need and Its Impact on Child Health (Journal Pediatrics)
The Diaper Dilemma (The Atlantic Monthly)

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Positive Parenting

Just how important are the first years of life? Well, researchers have found further evidence that the type of emotional support a child receives as a baby and toddler can shape educational outcomes and relationships as an adult.

Which Early Childhood Experiences Shape Adult Life? (KQED News–Mind Shift)
Brain Development (Zero to Three)

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Building Language Skills

Building blocks are a great toy. They encourage spatial skills and creativity. But researchers think they may do much more than that.

Why Slowing Down Stimuli to Real Time Helps a Child’s Brain (KQED News)
Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development

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Distracted Parenting

Distracted driving gets a lot of press. But what about distracted parenting? Learn what the impact can be on young children when mom or dad are distracted by smart phones, tablets and computers.

The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In (New York Times)
For the Children’s Sake, Put Down that Smartphone (NPR)
Patterns of Mobile Device User by Caregivers and Children During Meals in Fast Food Restaurants (American Academy of Pediatrics)

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Meet Mr. Trufflepants

Listen now to meet Mr. Trufflepants—our imaginary friend. A child’s pretend friends can be a very healthy part of development and even help prepare her for success later in life.

Should You “Evict” Your Child’s Imaginary Friend? (Psychology Today)
Advantages of Imaginary Friends (The British Psychological Society)

Five Principles for Parenting

Five principles for Parenting

The Director of Columbia University’s Center for Toddler Development recently shared her Five Principles for Parenting with The Washington Post. Check out a recap of what she had to say.

5 Ways to Understand Toddlers (The Washington Post)
Barnard Center for Toddler Development (Columbia University)

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Fire Safety

Many families have a plan in case of a fire at home. But is your child care provider as ready as you are? Learn the right questions to ask to make sure.

Caring for Children in a Disaster (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Choosing Child Care (Child Care Aware)
Early Childhood Regulations (Maryland State Department of Education)

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Liar, liar, pants on fire! We’ve all heard this chant. But when does lying begin? And how do we teach children to not tell fibs?

When Children Lie (American Academy of Pediatrics)

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Choosing Chores

Lots of parents want to instill in their children the values of hard work and teamwork. At home, the opportunity to practice this often involves chores that children- even little kids- can help with. But choosing the right chores, and the right messages, matters.

Why Children Need Chores (Wall Street Journal)
Age-Appropriate Chores for Children (The New York Times)

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Happy Anniversary Head Start!

Head Start just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Over 31 million children have benefitted from Head Start and Early Head Star to become business and community leaders, teachers, Members of Congress, athletes, Grammy-winning musicians, poets, and parents. But more work needs to be done to expand early learning opportunities like this to all families who need and want it.

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grant Orientation (Margaret’s Blog, Maryland Family Network)
Maryland Family Network’s Family Support Centers and Early Head Start (Maryland Family Network)
Maryland Head Start Association
Office of Head Start

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Secondhand Smoke and Kids

Secondhand smoke can lead to multiple health complications. Adults have the option to walk away from smoke but children don’t always have that choice. Learn more about the risks to children who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand Smoke (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Harm to Kids From Secondhand Smoke (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)
The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Protect Your Loved Ones From Secondhand Smoke (SmokeFree.Gov)

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Lead Poisoning

One in five children in the U.S. has unsafe levels of lead in his blood stream. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious problems for children. Know what to look for and how to avoid lead poisoning.

Lead Free Kids
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
Lead Hazard Reduction Program (Baltimore Housing)

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Reading Lasts a Lifetime

You may not get a paycheck, but if you’re a volunteer you’ve got a very important job. Especially if it involves helping young children learn how to read.

Read with Me (U.S. Department of Education)
Minnesota Reading Corps Evaluation (Corporation for National and Community Service)
Preschool Boosts Reading Skills Later (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Baby Reading Milestones (PBS Parents)

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Media Violence

When it comes to kids and their viewing habits, your involvement can be the difference between a child who grows up and tunes in to success…or tunes out.

PBS Kids
Psychologists Study Media Violence for Harmful Effects (American Psychological Association)
Where We Stand: TV Viewing Time (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Media Violence in Children’s Lives (NAEYC)
The Center for Media Literacy

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Go Nuts!

Developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner said children need “the enduring, irrational involvement of one or more adults in care of and in joint activity with that child. In short, somebody has to be crazy about that kid.” So, go nuts! Show a child you’re crazy about them.

The Vision of Urie Bronfenbrenner: Adults Who are Crazy About Kids (The International Child and Youth Care Network)
Resilience and Recovery: Findings form the Kauai Longitudinal Study (Portland State University)

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Positive Discipline

Discipline means “to teach.” By using positive discipline we help our children avoid negative behaviors. Listen now for way to use positive discipline in your household.

Using Positive Discipline: A Guide for Child Care Providers (Maryland Family Network)
7 Steps for Positive Discipline (PBS Parents)

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The Changing Faces of Families

What we mean when we say “family” has changed dramatically over the years. But despite these changes, what matters most has stayed the same.

Centre for Family Research (University of Cambridge)
Parenting (Human Rights Campaign)
We are All Alike, We are All Different (By Cheltenham Elementary Kindergartners)
Diversity and Inclusion in Early Care and Education (Child Development Associate™ (CDA) National Credential)

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