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New app helps parents to support children’s brain development

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The Bright Tomorrows app, which is free to download, has been designed to help parents and carers to support children’s brain development.

Developed by Telethon Kids Institute and Minderoo Foundation through their CoLab partnership, the app translates groundbreaking early years research into tailored tips for parents and carers of children under five.

According to CoLab director Professor Donna Cross, the app is a valuable tool for families during this unprecedented time.

Research shows the first five years of a child’s life are crucial to their development of core life skills, including attention and focus, responding to emotions, communication and relationship building, planning and routines, and taking on challenges.

These skills are important for children at any time, but their importance has been magnified during the COVID-19 crisis as kids manage emotions like feeling anxious, frightened or frustrated.

“As researchers, we know this is an exceptionally challenging time for many families, with changes in routines and much uncertainty about the future,” says Professor Cross.

The Bright Tomorrows app offers ideas about ways parents, grandparents and carers can support children’s brain development and influence their emotional, social and physical wellbeing at a time when their usual support networks or routines might be unavailable or subject to change.

The app includes over 1000 easy to use activities or ‘moments’ to build children’s life skills while parents and children are doing everyday tasks, such as gardening or cooking. These moments are customised to ensure families are receiving advice that is relevant to them and their children.

The app centres on Bobbie, a character that represents a child’s brain and demonstrates how their brain actively responds to meaningful moments. It also gives families a brief scientific explanation of why these activities are helpful to brain development in a section called Brainy Background.

“Tools like the Bright Tomorrows app can help us to remain connected, informed and motivated during this challenging time,” says Minderoo Foundation Co-chair Nicola Forrest AO.

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The Bright Tomorrows app is free to download from the App Store or Google Play.

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