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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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Feature

Baby yawning

Understanding the keys to good sleep

Dr Michal Kahn says it’s not easy to define a ‘bad’ sleeper from just normal infant sleeping behaviour when there are social pressures for infants to be perfect sleepers based on unrealistic expectations, fuelled by photos of instagram-happy parents.

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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.

Mother calming her crying baby girl
If we care about having a society that is healthy, mentally and physically, we have to start with mothers.
Professor Hannah Dahlen

Supporting mothers: Bring back the tribe

New mothers still need their tribe says Professor Hannah Dahlen. Professor Dahlen believes some mothers struggle and we need to provide them with real, practical support in those first few months, not just people who want to gush over and hold the baby.

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Children learning words

Using brain science to build potential

Many parents understand that robust vocabulary in a child can have advantages such as helping children create a solid foundation for school, but research also reminds us that early language environment impacts on more than just a child’s vocabulary.

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Sad and worried boy and girl with father

How to talk to children about disasters

Bushfires, flood, drought and other natural disasters can be traumatic for adults and children alike. Dr Andrea Baldwin looks at ways to prepare and help children cope when disaster threatens, supporting their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

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Mother and children picking vegetables

Predicting a child's weight or obesity

Until recently, parents with concerns their child is overweight haven’t had access to any easy answers. A new study by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is helping experts reliably determine if a child will regain a healthy weight over time.

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Foster parents watching TV with their children

Foster care: Becoming a foster parent

Over 45,000 children in Australia live in out of home care. Foster and kinship care are forms of family-based care for children and young people who can’t live at home. Australia’s foster care system is state-based, requiring a variety of carers.

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Nursery interior with photo frame, teddy bear, star and blue cloud

Miscarriage: Why we should talk about it

In Australia, 103,000 families are impacted by miscarriage each year, and most miscarriages, around 98 per cent, happen within the first 12 weeks. However, a culture of silence may leave couples feeling isolated and unsupported at this difficult time.

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Human organ transplantation

Organ donation: What families should know

Australian parents hold a number of misconceptions about organ donation. A survey polled 1886 parents and carers across Australia about their beliefs, attitudes and understanding of organ donation, discovering some interesting insights in the process.

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Words All Around

Your child learns best from what you say and do, so read everything you can out loud. Read signs outside, recipes, or ads in a magazine. Be sure to point! Does your child imitate any of your words or sounds? Does he/she point, too? Go back and forth with him/her, pointing and reading out loud.

By introducing your child to different types of things to read, you help him/her make the earliest connections between written words and what they stand for. This kind of back and forth conversation, even before your child has words, is building his/her communication skills.

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