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Parents often share many of the same challenges when raising their child. First Five Years gives parents the expert advice, insights, support and tools they need to make the most of the first years of their child’s life.

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Little boy in school uniform

School readiness: How can parents tell

Is your child ready for school? The problem with that question, Professor Frank Oberklaid, OAM, says, is that there is no single correct answer, partly because at age four or five there is still quite a bit of variability in children's development.

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Snapshot of Australian Families

Emotions

Parent’s emotions are quite a contrast. The two words parents felt best described family life over the previous three months were happy 49% (↓ from 54%) and stressed 39% (↑ from 36%).

Meals

31.8% of families only eat breakfast together on weekends. However 11% (↓ from 12%) of families never eat breakfast together.

Family Time

48% (↓ from 53%) of parents believe they spend less time with their children than their parents spent with them.

Expenses

39% (↓ from 40%) of parents have struggled to meet essential expenses like food, mortgage/rent, utility bills, child care or important medical care over the past 12 months.

Small boy using a tablet
For some people, they create quite complex, rich fantasies about themselves as a parent and about how family life will look and be.
Dr Bronwyn Leigh

Gender Disappointment: A hidden shame

Gender disappointment is the disappointment in the gender of an unborn or newly born baby, beyond a preference. It’s when the expectant parent or parents have a desire for the opposite gender and they feel, not only disappointed, but robbed and angry.

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Mother hugs son

Teaching under-5s about big emotions

What should parents do when a child is experiencing strong emotions – anger, frustration or sadness? Associate Professor from the University of Melbourne, Dr Sophie Havighurst, offers her advice on how to calm and be an emotion coach for your child.

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Father and child talking while playing

Why conversations with toddlers matter

Talking about what your child is playing with and following their lead in conversation helps them to learn language. Research shows the more times mums and toddlers can do this, the better the toddlers’ language skills were at the time and one year later.

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Parent and child hands handing white flower

Top tips for teaching children kindness

When asked what they want most out of life for their children, parents often say success and happiness, but more recently there has been a focus on raising children who understand the importance of kindness. So what is kindness and how do you teach it?

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Newborn baby girl yawning

Baby sleep associations and self-soothing

Registered nurse, midwife and author Fran Chavasse says too many people mistakenly believe that children can learn to sleep at any age. In this three-part series, Fran offers her advice on dealing with baby sleep associations and self settling.

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Children fighting in the kitchen

Siblings fighting it out can be healthy

As a parent, it can feel like you are spending more time playing referee to your children’s disagreements than parenting. The good news is sibling conflict is good for them and parents are being advised to not jump into referee mode too quickly.

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Mother with twins

Twins: Safe sleep, settling and routines

Welcoming twins into your life is exciting. No-one can prepare you for the reality that descends once you get your twins home and begin to parent them. One of the major challenges is coordinating your twins' feeding, socialising and sleeping routines.

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Big Time

Play Big Time to make waiting time fly by. Hold up an object—a magazine, an item from a bag, or a toy. Ask your child, “Can you find something bigger than this?” After he/she does, then ask, “Can you find something smaller than this?”

When you take turns posing questions, this game becomes a back and forth conversation about size. It provides a chance for your child to focus on and explore the idea of size—a concept he/she can use to organise his/her understanding of the world.

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Vroom uses the science of early learning to help your child thrive with bite-sized activities that support brain growth.