birth 2 five


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           Birth 2 Five

Mom, Dad and girls

Raising a child is one of the most difficult and yet rewarding responsibilities there is.

As a parent or caregiver you are your child's first and most important teacher.  

Our goal at United Way is to help make your busy parenting life easier. 

Birth 2 Five is a community-wide program that supports parents and caregivers.

We share the goal that all children deserve a healthy, happy start including being prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn.


Below you will find information and community resources that can support you in your important job as a parent. 


Birth 2 Five postcard



There are just seven simple actions you can take each day to help your child be healthy and happy.  While doing these everyday activities, you can feel good about the energy you are putting in as a parent or caregiver, knowing this is some of the most important life work you will do.


Just click on the links below for free resources that include quick tips and short videos.


1. Learning starts at birth

Reading to and with your baby and child pays large dividends.

Math milestones can help you know where your child needs to be at a given age.

Develop early math skills with these learning activities.

Fun online counting games can help increase your child's math skills.

Watch this video to see how fun and easy it is to read with your child.


2. Pay attention, talk with your child

Learn easy ways to talk with your baby or child.  Studies find the more you talk with your child the greater their chance for success in life.

Moms watch this video that shows how important it is to talk with your baby.  This video can change your life.

Dads watch this video, to see how you talk with your baby is important.

See this video on how that way you respond to you baby matters.


3. Social activities, playing with others, sing and dance

Fun activities that improve childhood learning.

Use music to help a child develop their social skills. 


4. Finger skills, hands, arms, legs, feet

Learn how to do these simple finger, hands, toes and feet activities with your child.

                   Here are baby motor skill milestone videos and information.


5. Good food, eat healthy   

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your new baby.

Healthy eating for kids is necessary for them to be healthy and thrive.

See this fun site for kid healthy eating tips.


6. Help your baby and child feel safe and loved

Learn how to show your baby or child love.

Calming the fears of separation.


7. Be active, run and play

Play, be active, have fun.

Here are lots of no cost activites, fitness and nutrition ideas.

Click here for more fun learning ideas.

Check this out for more fun games.


United Way's Birth 2 Five Blog click here.    

Here is a wonderful text messaging service to help prepare your child for kindergarten.  You will receive simple, part of your daily life activities to use   Click here.


Additional tips worth sharing

See excellent childhood development tips here.

Great overall parenting tips.

Here is a series of modules that include a number of quick one minute videos.  These are free and are provided by University of Washington but you will need to register your email.  Begin with module 2. 



Specific kindergarten ready tips

Help your child learn how to interact with other children and have healthy social & emotional abilities to be ready for kindergarten.

Your child can be much more ready to go to kindergarten if you use this list of developmental tips.



Community Resource Information

For a child to be ready for kindergarten there are many aspects of raising a child.  Many of these pieces are separate from the child.

It takes a community to help raise a healthy, happy child.

Below are a list of community resource providers who can assist you in your efforts. 


Here are community service agencies that can assist you with early childhood needs and help meet other basic family needs.

For additional community resources click here.

For early childhood community resource providers click here.

The 2-1-1 resource line is for helping you find services, just dial 2-1-1.

This is an interesting calculator that helps you determine living expenses in various locations.


                 For a fun to read, mom to mom blog, check this out.  Click here.


You are your child's first and best teacher.  Here are some quick reminders: 


Love, nurture, comfort and hold your child.

Your child needs love and nurturing to develop a sense of trust and security that turns into confidence as he grows.  The most important thing you can do is meet your babies’ or toddlers’ needs, love and nurture him, and comfort him when he is upset.  Holding and cuddle him helps him feel cared for and secure.    Feeling safe and secure, loved and nurtured, is the biggest and most important ingredient for his healthy social-emotional development.


Talk, speak and interact back and forth with him throughout the day. 

Talking with your child exposes her to lots of sounds, words and phrases, which helps her build language skills.  Communicating verbally and non-verbally back and forth with your child has been found as one of the most positive, impactful actions you can have with her.  Praise wanted behaviors more than you punish unwanted behaviors; tell her or show her what she should do instead.


Play, encourage all kinds of play and all types of activities.  

Playing encourages learning and motor skills development through hands-on exploration and observation.  Your child discovers the relationships between objects and people, he learns new concepts, and problem-solving through play.   Push him in a stroller or take him for a walk to help him explore the world around him.  If he is walking, this will benefit him with physical exercise at the same time.  Allow him time to be curious, creative and to think about what he is learning.  Let your child help you with simple tasks.  Encourage him to play with other children.  This helps him learn the value of sharing and friendship.


Read to your baby or with your child daily.

Reading to your baby and infant helps her develop and understand language and sounds.  Let her hold the book, point at pictures, turn the pages, babble and be comfortable with books. Reading to her expands her knowledge and learning abilities; expands her world of discovery and will help her learn to read & write as she ages.  Reading together daily creates bonding between you and her.  Daily reading with her provides routine in her life and children do best when their lives have regular, expected and consistent routines.


Sing rhymes or songs to your baby and with your child.  Dance. 

Sing to your baby and with your child.  This helps him develop a love for music and also helps his brain develop.  Teach him simple songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider, or other childhood rhymes.  Music plays an important role in helping your child learn about himself, about others around him and how to be a part of a group.


Make math part of daily life.  Daily help her look for patterns and shapes, then numbers. 

By helping your child look for shapes and items to count or measure, at the house or out shopping, you are helping her to develop math skills.  Math skills are a critical piece of child brain development.


Eat healthy.  Feed your child healthy food and eat together as a family whenever possible.

What and how your child eats is important to his overall development.  When he is a baby, breast feeding is best.  As he ages teach him what healthy eating looks like.  Prepare foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, dry beans, fish, meat, eggs, starches, and use extra virgin olive oil to cook with.  Eat fewer processed and prepared foods.  Eat meals together as a family as often as possible to enjoy many health, education and social benefits. 


We would like to hear back from you.  Please visit our United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties Facebook page and share your thoughts. 

If you liked our page, please share it with your friends and family.



Book - What To Do When Your Child Is Sick, by Authors: Gloria Mayer, R.N.; Ann Kuklierus, R.N.

This book is a "must have" on any parenting book shelf.  It can help you reduce unnecessary visits to the Emergency Room. 

The book is an easy read addressing more than 50 common childhood illnesses, injuries, and health problems.

With the generosity of United Way partner sponsors, over 1,000 free books have been distributed throughout or community, at resource fairs, hospitals, parenting workshops, and community events.