We find ourselves in strange times right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped life as we knew it on its head. We’re now physically distanced from friends and extended family, doing loads more jigsaw puzzles than usual and saying yes to pancakes for dinner. That last one’s a joke. Or is it?
While we’re busy juggling work and life, while living firmly in each other’s pockets, as parents we want to make sure we’re still doing the best we can for our kids. We may not be in control of much right now, but we can at least feel in control of our kids’ development.
The Bright Tomorrows parenting app is designed by experts to help build a child’s brain and their core life skills. It suggests easy and effective ways to incorporate learning opportunities into the daily routine, using everyday household items – no expensive toys required. Bobbie, a creature that represents a baby’s brain, features throughout the app, which gives parents and carers a helpful scientific snapshot of why these activities help brain development in the app’s Brainy Background.
There’s no better time to try it out than during isolation, as a positive thing you can do for your family.
Research shows us the early years from zero to five are a great opportunity to build a child’s health, development and learning. CoLab, a partnership between the Telethon Kids Institute and the Minderoo Foundation, developed the free app as a tool to support parents to raise healthy, happy children. The app provides expert advice on development and learning, and it’s backed by child development science. It offers tailored tips, or ‘moments’, to develop your child’s essential life skills through everyday activities.
It was made possible through collaborations with the Bezos Family Foundation and Vroom, Raising Children Network, Better Beginnings and Michigan State University.
Honestly, it sounds like a no-brainer, and I’m fresh out of ideas. I download the free app before breakfast, quickly plugging in some details about my four-year-old son, Max. The app asks for his age and the areas we’d like to focus on for brain development. I choose ‘Managing Emotions, Planning and Routines, and Taking on Challenges’ and the app then tailors the ‘moments’ it suggests to me based on what I want most. It also directs me to the in-app Grow course, just for parents. I’m given the guided goal of Finding Calm and given a stress-busting strategy to apply over the next two weeks.
A breakfast moment
As we decorate bowls of porridge with banana slices, I choose my first moment from the app and start a conversation around choice. Would you rather be a fish or a bird, and why? Would you rather be invisible or able to fly? Would you rather live underwater or in space? I can see this activity having lots of potential for extension, in the car or as a useful distraction tool. I encourage Max to ask questions of me, too as the Brainy Background tells me that asking and answering questions helps develop his reasoning skills. So far, so good.