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About the 4th Birthday Visit

Around your enrolled child’s fourth birthday, Baby’s First Years participants will be invited to visit the Center for Neurobehavioral Development at The Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain - University of Minnesota, to participate in the next study activity. We are very excited for the opportunity to see you and your child in person!


Watch our visit introduction video to see what the visit is like!

What to expect

You can expect the visit to last about 2.5 - 3 hours, including time for snacks and breaks. There will be a small celebration and gift for your child at the end.  For your visit, you will receive $200 (+ $10 if you keep your first appointment) in cash in appreciation for your time. And, we will help pay for or arrange transportation, and provide child care for siblings if you need it.

Both you and your child will play some learning games, you will answer some questions about your life, and we will measure your child's brain activity using EEG. There will also be an opportunity to donate hair and saliva. To learn more about each part, see below!


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Learning Games

In this year of the study, we ask that both moms and their children play some games so that we can understand more about how the brain works. These games may test your memory, all the words your child knows, or how fast you are at certain skills. For children, these games don't require much more than most video games. We try to make sure games are quick and fun!

Life Questions

We want to know more about your life and what it is like to be a mother for you! To understand this, we ask some questions using a survey. This survey is not connected to your name and all answers are kept confidential. Most questions ask you to choose a number or phrase that best matches how you feel. You can skip any questions that make you uncomfortable.

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Brain Activity

Your child's brain is going through a lot of changes in these early years! We want to know more about the activity happening. We do this using something called EEG. It looks like a net with many dots that fit right over your child's head like a cap. Your child will watch a movie while wearing the cap and we will record the electrical activity coming from the brain. EEG is totally safe, and we can answer any questions that you or your child have. A lot of kids are excited to give it a try, and we love that parents can get great pictures of their child with the EEG cap on! We will be sure to take good care of your child's hair, no matter the texture and length!


Playtime can get more fun as kids learn to do and say more. We want to give you and your child a chance to play together for about 10 minutes while your child wears a small recorder. This allows us to learn more about the words they say. We’ll hand you some toys and leave the room for this part, so that we don’t interrupt your time together.

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Saliva Donation

While we can find out a lot about our lives through asking questions, some stories about our lives are best told through our biology. We can learn about how the environment is affecting our body through saliva, and during the visit you will have an opportunity to donate saliva with a quick swab from the inside of your cheek and your child’s cheek. When you come for your visit, we will show you a quick video with more information, let you ask any questions, and then let you decide if you’d like to take part!

Height and Weight Measurement

As you can probably tell, children are growing very quickly during these first few years of life. We will ask both you and your child to step onto a scale that will allow us to get a quick measurement of both height and weight. Most kids love to see how big they are, and they also love to see their moms get measured too!

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If you and your child might be interested in the EEG activity:

EEG adHair

One of our top priorities when you and your child visit us is making sure that we take good care of their hair, and that they stay as comfortable as possible. Here are a few things to know before your visit:

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