Supporting Your Child

Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers

90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5. These early years are when brain connections necessary for successful learning are formed. The interactions children have with the adults in their lives shape their social, emotional, cognitive and language skills, which are the foundation of their ability to learn. So, the job of helping kids get ready for school starts the day they are born.

It’s easy to encourage learning

There are simple things you can do to help your kids develop the skills they need:

Read to and with them

Differences in the size of children’s vocabulary first appear at 18 months, and the number of words a child knows at age 3 strongly correlates with later reading ability. Help your kids develop the language and pre-reading skills that will help them succeed in school.


Interact with them

Young children are constantly serving up invitations to engage with adults, who are either responsive or unresponsive to their needs. This “serve and return” process is fundamental to the wiring of the brain, especially in the early years.

Play with them

Young children develop curiosity, initiative, problem solving, focus and persistence – all important to learning – through play.

It’s important to keep your kids healthy and happy

A child’s health and well-being impacts his/her development. While some factors that lead to poor health can’t be controlled, others can. We are all partners in ensuring that babies and young children receive the preventative and routine health care they need.

Nutrition and activity

Families are the role models for children’s behaviors. There are many things you can do to promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

Check ups

Caring for the health and well-being of your child can improve his/her chances of entering school healthy and ready to learn.

Oral health

Dental issues are the most frequent cause of school absences among young children, and about one-third of all current kindergartners have some untreated tooth decay. It’s important to start good oral health habits early.

More resources to help your kids thrive


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Parents & Families



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  • First Things First partners with parents and communities to give all Arizona children the opportunity to arrive at kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed.