“I am constantly looking for activities and games to do with my daughter while we are at home, but sometimes I don't know where to find them." Maria, mother of one-year-old Yatzil, living in Denver, Colorado
“One of the hardest parts of being a first-time parent is not understanding how steep the learning curve is going to be. You think there's magic and when you become a parent you will know what to do, but you're just guessing. We're all just guessing." Taylor Higashi, father of one-year-old Akira, living in Oakland, California
Children grow up in an environment of relationships, with the most important early bonds being those formed with parents and families. Strong early relationships and adults’ responsiveness to children’s needs are at the heart of healthy early childhood development. Whether they are engaging their children in meaningful interpersonal connection or exposing them to curiosity-building, brain-boosting experiences and environments, parents and families influence every aspect of early childhood development.
Few parents feel prepared for parenthood. While the first three years are a critical period for child development, it’s also when parents are feeling the most uncertain and are in need of support--whether it’s help with sleep, nutrition, behavior, health or learning milestones. All parents want the best for their children, yet many are under significant stress. They may worry about their children’s progress, face work stress or be experiencing poverty, all of which can impact their children. What if we could equip parents and families with the knowledge, skills and practices they need give their children the best start in life? This Opportunity Area calls on innovators to address the support parents and families need to set their children up for long-term education, health and economic success by starting with their earliest years .
While there are many tech-based solutions aimed at parents, technology may be only part of the solution. Consider the tremendous value of networks and peer communities for parents, particularly families that may be under-resourced. We are seeking solutions of all kinds that empower and support parents and families as they raise their children.
To further clarify this Opportunity Area, here is an example of an initiative aligned with supporting parents and families:
Note that this example is not meant to be limiting, and successful proposals might look very different. Instead, it offers a tangible case that represents this Opportunity Area.