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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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Child sleeping

The importance of healthy sleep

Healthy sleep is critical due to the rapid growth and development in early childhood. Dr Yaqoot Fatima, Research Fellow for University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research examines what healthy sleep looks like and how to get it.

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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.

New born baby with his mother
For women, you definitely give up a part of you when you start a family, at least for part of the time, and with that comes that sense of loss of that person that you were or those priorities that you used to have.
Dr Nicole Highet

Invisible mums: Why new mums feel neglected

Motherhood is a time when new mums need support and understanding, but attention is often on the baby. Fathers also aren’t immune from the cloak of invisibility. So how do we support new parents and ensure they're not lost to the newborn spotlight?

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Father listening to distressed daughter

Tantrums and meltdowns: How to respond

When your child is raging, crying or screaming during a tantrum, it is possible to feel the need to join in with the explosion of emotions. Dr Becky Kennedy says tantrums offer us the power to demonstrate how to stay calm and manage your own emotions.

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Mother, father with two children

The role of gestures in a child's learning

Many of us speak with our hands and now experts suggest always using our hands when talking with children. While young children are forming and expanding their vocabulary, gestures help them bridge the gap between words and the world they live in.

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Children eating, tasting pizza in kitchen

The complex problem of childhood obesity

There’s more to addressing childhood obesity than taking away sweets and having children do laps of the oval. A report highlights the growing problem of childhood obesity in Australia, where one in four children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

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A young mother talking to her sad toddler son

How to respond to negative self-talk

Preschoolers may experience anxiety when stepping into unfamiliar environments and this can manifest into negative self-talk. Professor Adam Guastella says this is normal and a common response to facing challenges. He looks at how parents can help.

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Litte girl playing at being a carpenter

Supporting toddlers’ pretend play

While it is easy to overlook the importance of make believe play, the ability to pretend is a cornerstone of children’s cognitive development. Professor of Early Childhood Sheila Degotardi looks at why it is important and how we can encourage it.

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Diverse children enjoying playing with toys

How to celebrate diversity with children

Tall/short, fat/thin, old/young, shy/outgoing, brown/white – there are so many important ways we want our children to embrace difference. But as parents, how do we start? Dr Red Ruby Scarlet shares her methods for teaching children about inclusion.

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Sing, Rhyme, Repeat

Help your child recognise patterns and familiar words by singing simple songs with repetition or rhymes. For example, try “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” Encourage your child to join in by repeating the words or by adding his/her own ideas.

The more you sing with your child, the more he/she is able to predict sounds and words and join in. Songs and sound games are great activities for early literacy. Your child makes connections between sounds and words as well as builds his/her vocabulary in a fun and interactive way.

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