For Parents


Health and Development

A healthy body allows a child to develop properly, play activity, and learn to their full potential.  We work closely with our partners to offer local programs and services to help your child get a healthy start.

Healthy Development
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
Oral Health
Breastfeeding Resources

Healthy Development

Developmental Screenings

Skills such as pointing, waiting “bye-bye,” and saying a first word are all developmental milestones for your child.  Developmental screenings use these healthy milestones to help identify your child’s strengths as well as any areas in which he or she may need further support.  

FIRST 5 offers free developmental screenings for children 0-5 at our Family Resource Centers.  By bringing your child in for a screening, you will get more information on what to expect as your child grows and will learn about activities you can do together to strengthen development.   

You can also receive a referral to the KidConnections Network if your child needs additional support in a certain area.   Contact a Family Resource Center near you to learn more. 

Special Needs Resources

Over 10% of California children under age 5 have a disability or special need that may hinder their ability to play and learn.  Early diagnosis and access to supportive services can help improve the quality of life for children with special needs.

If your child has been diagnosed with having a disability or special need, you are not alone.  There are many local programs and resources available to you and your family.

Parents Helping Parents is a local organization that strives to improve the quality of life for children with special needs through educating, supporting, and training their primary caregivers.  They offer workshops and resources to support your family and empower you to be an advocate for your child.  

You can also join a Triple P Stepping Stone group.  These classes provide parents and caregivers with strategies that have been show to work for children with intellectual and physical disabilities who have disruptive behaviors.

Sensory Processing Disorder Podcast

In this podcast, Carol Kranowitz, music and movement teacher in Washington D.C., suggests activities to address sensory issues both at school and at home.

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Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition that exists when sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses.  A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks.

Carol Kranowitz observed many young children with Sensory Processing Disorder during her 25-year career as a music and movement teacher in Washington, DC. Today, she is an international speaker and author, who teaches parents, educators, therapists and other professionals how sensory issues play out and suggests activities for addressing them at home and school. Listen to her interview to learn more…

Physical Health

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

Early childhood obesity continues to be a problem in our community, but there are simple ways to make healthy changes as a family.  Check out the resources below for simple tips, delicious recipes, and more!  

10 Steps to a Healthier You

FIRST 5, together with the Healthier Kids Foundation and the Santa Clara County Health and Hospital System, has developed the following steps for making simple, healthy changes for your family:

Read our 10 Steps to a Healthier You brochure (EnglishSpanish) to find more information on how to incorporate these changes into your daily routine.

Potter the Otter

Through a series of bilingual storybooks, FIRST 5’s healthy mascot Potter the Otter encourages little ones to drink water, stay active, and eat healthy! Click on the links below to read about Potter’s healthy adventures.

Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water

Join Potter as he teaches his friends to put down the sugary drinks and enjoy delicious, refreshing water!

Potter, Potter the Healthy Otter the Otter: A Tale About Water

Potter and his friends turn off the television, put down the video games, and learn how fun exercising can be! 

It’s Picnic Day, Potter!

Potter and his friends turn off the television, put down the video games, and learn how fun exercising can be! 

For more healthy resources, be sure to visit and follow Potter on Facebook!

Healthy Recipes

Through a series of bilingual storybooks, FIRST 5’s healthy mascot Potter the Otter encourages little ones to drink water, stay active, and eat healthy! Click on the links below to read about Potter’s healthy adventures.

Cooking together at home with your little one is a great way to get them excited about eating healthy. Involve them in the process by asking them to help out with small tasks like stirring ingredients together. As you cook, try pointing out the different colors and shapes of the fruits and veggies you are using.

Check out these books for simple, healthy recipes to make together!
Fast, Fresh and Fun – Food from First 5
Yummy for Your Tummy
Kids Gets Cooking

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Podcasts

Our healthy eating and physical activity podcasts offer simple ways to help families and little ones develop healthy habits – including fun gardening tips and ways to handle a picky eater!

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10 Steps to a Healthier You

Did you know that in Santa Clara County, over one in four children in grades five, seven and nine are considered overweight? Overweight children are more likely to develop diseases and stay overweight as adults. In our latest podcast, health experts highlight a program that tackles childhood obesity.

Childhood Obesity Prevention

How is it possible our children are gaining so much weight at such young ages? FIRST 5 convened The Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative to investigate and improve this issue. We interview Dr. Delgado, Director of the Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Center at Valley Medical Center.

Gardening with Kids: Fresh off the Farm Tips

“Go to a nursery. Buy a packet. Get some soil. Get some water. Put them all together and see what happens–it’s magical.” Spring has sprung, and with it comes our new Gardening with Kids podcast with Mark Batcheler of Full Circle Farm. Get fresh insights on gardening with kids, including how we can introduce them to growing the food we eat—while having fun with the whole family!

Picky Eaters

Concerned your child’s “discriminating taste” is keeping him/her from getting the nutrition he/she needs? Ellen Satter, author of the popular book, Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family, fills us up with great information!

Oral Health

Oral health is a key part of your child’s overall well-being. When a young child experiences dental problems, their self-esteem, attention span, and social development can be impacted. If left untreated, dental issues can even affect future academic performance as a result of missed school days due to pain.  

Avoid these complications by setting good dental habits from the start! Here are some tips to keep your child’s smile shining bright.

Brush, Brush, Brush Your Teeth

Check out our Oral Health brochure to find brushing tips by age.

English  |  Spanish

Take a Trip to the Dentist

FIRST 5 supports free and low-cost dental services for children, like those provided by the Children’s Dental Group.  These centers offer high-quality care in a fun, kid-friendly environment that welcomes all children and families.

Children’s Dental Center of San Jose
1153 S. King Road,
San Jose, CA 95122


Children’s Dental Center of Sunnyvale
897 W. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087


Gardner South County Health Center
7526 Monterey Road,
Gilroy, CA 95020

408 848.9436

Oral Health Podcast

Brush up on tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy! In this podcast, we sit down with the President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to talk about ways to keep your child’s smile shining bright.

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Oral Health

Nearly 30% of American children between the ages of 2-5 have dental disease. Dr. Rhea Haugseth, President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, explains why.

Breastfeeding Resources

Breast milk is the healthiest food you can give your baby.  It provides all the nutrients, calories, and fluid your newborn needs for the first six months of life!


While any amount of breastfeeding benefits a baby, it is recommended that mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life. 

Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially in the first few days. Talk with your pediatrician or lactation consultant to discuss any question you have or any problems you may face along the way. You can also call Santa Clara County’s breastfeeding support line at 408. 885.5950 for more information and to be connected to local resources in your area.


Breastfeeding Services Brochure

Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding and find local breastfeeding support services near you.

English | Spanish | Vietnamese 

California Breastfeeding Laws Brochure

Because of the importance of breastfeeding, mothers have rights under California law that protect them and their right to breastfeed.  Learn more about your protections under the law.

English | Spanish | Vietnamese