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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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Father and son talking

How to answer a child's tough questions

Children are full of questions and sometimes the answers are uncomfortable. Explaining why we don’t use 'that' word, or the reasons behind world war may be awkward, but answering is important. So how can parents of young children handle the hard chat?

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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.

Upset three-year-old boy
Children’s understanding of their behaviour is really limited. They are learning how to behave. Our job is to really guide them, help them see what they’ve done, and explain the implications of what they’ve done. We don’t scream and shout at a kid because they can’t read…this is the same.
Dr Katrina Barker

How to handle tantrums and meltdowns

Kicking, screaming, crying and tantrums: whichever way these behaviours play out, they all have one thing in common - for most children there is a clear underlying reason why they are expressing themselves in what is considered an inappropriate way.

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Housework myths: 'Men don't see mess'

It has been argued that women end up with the majority of housework because men “don’t see the mess”. Dr Leah Ruppanner says women are faced with juggling families and work as well as society's often unrealistic expectations to keep a perfect house.

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Managing family and work life balance

Children are now much more likely to grow up in working households, however stressed parents report feeling pulled in two directions as either devoted employees or perfect parents. Many are struggling in a world they feel requires them to be both.

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Tips for building a child's imagination

Young children tend to be curious, have great imagination and enormous creative capacity. QUT Associate Professor Dr Susan Irvine says these are valuable qualities that support learning throughout life, and should be nurtured from an early age.

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How to introduce children to chores

It could mean simple tasks such as picking up toys up from the floor or feeding the family pets. There will be an age-appropriate task you could ask your child to do on a daily basis that will instil in them a strong sense of helping the family.

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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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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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Shhh, What's That?

Do you hear a sound in the waiting room? Pause. Ask your child, “What's that sound?” Take turns guessing. Are you hearing a slamming door or papers rustling? The squeak of a sliding chair or someone clearing his or her throat? Name them all together!

You are inviting your child to focus on hearing the differences in sounds. This is an important skill for enjoying and learning language so he/she can communicate with others.

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