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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

Father holding son in the outdoors

‘High quality’ rough and tumble play

If you watch a litter of kittens pouncing, chasing and batting you will notice that in spite of occasional yelps it is clearly playful. Children chase and wrestle too. Associate Professor Richard Fletcher looks at the value of rough and tumble play.

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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
There’s a sense that the internet and screens are an entitlement and right and when parents prevent them from having a device, they feel like they are being unnecessarily deprived.
Brad Marshall

Creating good habits around screen time

Brad Marshall, Director of the Internet Addiction Clinic at Kidspace, helps families struggling with internet addiction, screen and gaming addiction. He suggests one of the main concerns is when children aged five and under use tech to self-soothe.

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Mother breastfeeding a child

Baby apps: helping or hindering mums?

Replacing the safety pin which reminded new mothers which side to next breastfeed on, apps designed to track everything an infant does, including breastfeeding, are widely available. But while they can reassure new mothers they may also overwhelm them.

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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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Woman working in a laboratory.

Genomics: Would you test your child?

Genomic testing reviews the whole of a person’s genetic makeup. Researchers from Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute set out to discover if parents were offered additional genetic information about their newborn, would they accept it?

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Back view of mother walking down the street with son

The benefits of active play for children

As adults we play organised sport, run or go to the gym, but physical activity for our young children means a focus on movement and active play. Why is this important? Physical activity helps improve confidence and builds strength and coordination.

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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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Shot of shelves stocked with various medicinal products in a pharmacy

Many children with ADHD skipping meds

While one in 20 children in Australia have been diagnosed with ADHD, a Melbourne study by MCRI has found that children being prescribed ADHD medication inconsistently take their medication, going without treatment on average 40 per cent of the time.

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Would You Rather?

Ask your child questions like, “Would you rather be a bird or a fish? Why?" Have him/her give you a few reasons from real-life experience like, "I love the water so I want to be a fish!" Then you take a turn answering his/her questions!

Asking your child questions helps develop his/her reasoning skills— especially when you ask questions that go beyond simple “yes” or “no” answers.

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