OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Supporting Parents and Families

How might we give parents and families the tools, networks and opportunities they need to help their children get the best start possible?

“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: 

Vroom App -- Every Parent Has What it Takes to Be a BrainBuilder. 

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.


Resource: The Early Learning Lab's Insights and Recommendations to Support the Parents of Children 0-3, and their Interactive Parent Tech Map.

116 contributions

Sort by

Contribution list

ToyUp aims to dramatically enhance the way learn with LINK, a lovable companion toy, that teaches through real world exploration!

ToyUp aims to dramatically enhance the way learn with LINK, a lovable companion toy, that teaches through real world exploration!

Photo of Chandler Levine
7 8

Lend and Learn Libraries support positive parenting behaviors and child exploration in an educational, safe, and inclusive space

Lend and Learn Libraries support positive parenting behaviors and child exploration in an educational, safe, and inclusive space

Photo of Kasey
0 0

Early brain development lessons in the hospital, coaching for parents in underserved areas to increase parent talk in the first three years.

Early brain development lessons in the hospital, coaching for parents in underserved areas to increase parent talk in the first three years.

Photo of Shannon
8 6

The number of women affected by PPD may be even higher because women do not seek help. Soon-to-be or early mothers can help each other.

The number of women affected by PPD may be even higher because women do not seek help. Soon-to-be or early mothers can help each other.

Photo of Kriss Castillo
0 0

A mentoring program for mainly first-child parents with little experience or support towards their efforts towards early child development.

A mentoring program for mainly first-child parents with little experience or support towards their efforts towards early child development.

Photo of Eric Dua
1 2

Machine Learning, a toll-free helpline, mobile phone tech and a community-based parenting buddy system to improve ECD outcomes in LMICs.

Machine Learning, a toll-free helpline, mobile phone tech and a community-based parenting buddy system to improve ECD outcomes in LMICs.

Photo of Coenie Louw
9 1