Emily Hembacher, Veronica Cristiano, and Michael C. Frank Stanford University
Parenting advice is increasingly delivered through apps and video sites, and often takes the form of digitally-scaffolded parent-child interactions. Although these activities are designed to promote learning and cognitive development, it is unclear how they might affect the overall quality of parent-child interactions. Quality of interactions can be measured by both the social engagement of parents (joint attention; JA) and the quality of language (e.g., vocabulary diversity). How do digitally-scaffolded interactions affect the social and linguistic characteristics of parents’ speech to their children?
Parents of 6- to 24-month-olds ( n = 60) interacted with their infants by playing with a set of toys for 3 minutes. Half first watched one of six possible age-matched videos from a parenting app (Kinedu, Inc) describing activities meant to promote cognitive development, for example, sorting toys according to size. The remaining parents were simply told to play with the toys with their infants as they would at home.
The sessions were recorded, transcribed, and coded for JA. We examined number of words spoken (tokens) and lexical diversity (ratio of word types to tokens). Intriguingly, video condition parents produced more tokens ( β = 55.58, p = .03), but had lower lexical diversity ( β = -.12, p < .001). In contrast, video condition parents made more bids for JA ( β = 3.51, p < .01), although the number and duration of JA episodes did not differ between groups (p s = .62-.97). Following digitally-scaffolded activities may cause parents to engage with and speak more to children overall, but speak more repetitively.
Kinedu was recently named one of the Early Childhood Innovation Prize’s “Promising Ideas” because of its potential to create a breakthrough impact for young children. As one of seven Promising Ideas selected from a pull of over a 570 ideas submitted from innovators in 100 countries through OpenIDEO’s prize platform, Kinedu has received special recognition from Gary Community Investments (GCI) and will have access to supports to help accelerate their impact on children across the world.
Gary Community Investments (GCI) partnered with OpenIDEO on the Early Childhood Innovation Prize to build a pipeline of potentially transformative early childhood investment opportunities. The prize was launched in fall 2017 and brought together hundreds of innovators and experts to collaboratively solve one urgent question: “How might we maximize every child’s potential during their first three years of life?”. At the close of the EC Prize’s submission phase on February 15, innovators from more than 100 countries submitted nearly 570 ideas, and more than 260 innovators received mentorship, support and feedback from 135 experts in early childhood and other fields. Kinedu was recognized as one of the promising ideas to look out for, and will receive mentorship, help and access to a network of experts, investors and mentors. Continue reading →
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children go through many important communication milestones between their 36 and 48 months of age. This means that what your child can understand and the complexity with which she can express and communicate with you increases greatly around this age. Communication is very important not only for language development, but for your kid’s social and emotional skills. Positive and effective communication sets the base with which to build and mend relationships.
According to the recommendations of the Early Childhood Development Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, parents need to practice positive communication with their young children. They emphasize that developing children benefit greatly from a communication that is open, respectful, honest, straight-forward and kind, no matter the topic at hand.
We’ve been working on something big… huge, actually! A complete redesign of our milestones and the way we present them. We are thrilled to present Kinedu Skills®: a more intuitive way of understanding your child’s development and interacting with Kinedu.
Over the course of the last 18 months, we’ve worked to restructure our milestones. We’ve eliminated redundant items, non-observable ones, and also consolidated items that measured two skills in one. Having clearer milestones makes it more probable we’ll get precise information from our users about their child’s development, and therefore will be able to provide a more personalized experience.
We also analyzed our database of over 500,000 families and with the help of Stanford University Psychology Professor Michael Frank, and we identified 26 core skills present in early childhood development. Every skill groups together the milestones a child is acquiring from 0-24 months, and serve as major developmental goals to work towards. For example, milestones related to walking will now be asked together, and parents will get a progress report on that particular skill with percentile data. It’s easier to identify how your child is doing on one particular skill, rather than a more general developmental area and our percentiles can help you gain a better understanding of how your child is doing compared to other children his or her age. You’ll get to answer the milestones in every skill that is developmentally appropriate for your child, depending on his or her age.
At Kinedu, we recognize that every child develops at his or her own pace. This is our effort to produce more personalized activity plans, tailored to every child’s particular needs, and offer our users a deeper understanding of their baby’s development.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working on a complete redesign of our milestone and evaluation structure. We are proud to present our new project: Skills®. We’d like to share with you how we came up with a new way to assess early childhood development and give you a better way to understand your baby’s development.
We dug deep into our milestones – over fifty million individual data points, and we came to learn that our milestone structure needed an upgrade – a better way to present milestones to families, to get accurate data and to provide more personalized activity plans.
First, came a full revision of every last one of our 550+ milestones. We collaborated with Professor Michael Frank from Stanford University to produce a final list. Based on his suggestions, we reviewed them to eliminate redundant items, non-observable ones, and also consolidated the ones that measured two skills in one. With this revision, also came a full revision of each milestone’s attributed month according to CDC and AAP standards, along with other evidence-based studies, and the data from over half a million families.
From this analysis, we realized that milestones could be grouped into “families” of milestones that described the development of specific skills in a child. This provided an opportunity to improve how we cluster our data, and this in turn came with a complete redesign of our assessments as well. Instead of following age ranges and developmental areas, our milestones now follow skills – regardless of age (although age is important to understand developmental variability!).
For example, milestones that led to being able to crawl, such as posture on all fours, sliding on the floor, and crawling, have all been categorized into a separate skill: Crawling. Users will now be able to see at a glance how their baby is doing in developmentally appropriate skills, like walking, babbling or imitating. This will allow us to display milestones to our users without limiting which ones we show based on their baby’s age. Since every baby develops at his or her own pace, this is something imperative. More importantly, grouping milestones in such a way allows us to measure variability in development – recognizing and pointing out (with data!) that it is perfectly OK for babies to say their first words before walking or walk before talking. In the end, our data uncovered 26 major groups of milestones, which we believe are the core developmental skills for every child.
Finally, we conducted a survey to validate our research-based assessment and the way we clustered them into skills. We gathered over 2,000 responses and were able to measure each skill and milestone individually, obtaining an age of acquisition for each one. We understand the role variability plays in early child development, which is why we’ll now present progress resulpfts with percentiles for every skill. Percentiles can help our users gain a better understanding of how their child is doing compared to other children his or her age. With this new data, we can now present our users with more exact and detailed information on their baby’s progress.
This comprehensive revision of our milestones will lead to a better user experience, provide more accurate data for analysis, and therefore give us the tools we need to be able to offer a more detailed, evidence-based report on each baby’s progress. This has been something we’ve been planning and working on for some time now – so we’re extremely excited to be able to release it soon. We hope you enjoy our product re-design: it’s been two years in the making, and we hope it drives our collective understanding of early childhood further.
At Kinedu, we often talk about the importance of the early years in forming solid brain architecture. In the last decade, science has really made it clear that early experiences form the basis for either promoting health and development, or stunting it. Child development, especially from birth to age five, is a foundation for a skilled work force, a responsible community, and a thriving economy.
During this period, the child’s brain is most sensitive to the influence of external experiences, for better or worse. Responsive, dependable interactions with adults can lead to healthy emotional and cognitive development. On the other hand, toxic stress, caused by poverty, abuse or neglect, parental substance abuse or mental illness, or exposure to violence without supportive relationships with adults can interrupt normal brain development. The more adverse experiences in childhood, the greater the likelihood of developmental delays and later health problems, such as alcoholism, depression, heart disease, and diabetes. Toxic stress can also impair the development of executive function, or the brain’s ability to hold onto and work with information, focus thinking, and filter distractions. This set of skills is critical for school achievement, the preparation of a future workforce, and avoiding a wide range of population health problems.
We are very excited to announce that we have launched our Activity catalogue! With this awesome new feature you will now be able to explore more than 700 brain-building activities for your little one!
Finding the perfect activity for afternoon playtime is easy with the Activity Catalogue. We have divided the activities into three categories, and you’ll be able to filter them by age groups to make sure you find the fun and learning you are looking for!
In the Skills category you will be able to choose from twelve different abilities to practice with your baby. Enhance everything from motor skills to artistic skills! You can focus on what your baby needs to work on or simply what he or she enjoys the most!
Have you downloaded the latest Kinedu version yet? Besides the improvements made to the interface, it includes a new and improved progress section!
We talked to our users and found that one of their main concerns was knowing if their baby’s development was on track. Knowing their baby’s progress in each area was not enough, so we decided to give parents more insights about their baby’s development in a simpler, clearer way – providing better guidance to support their little one. A child’s development changes so fast, sometimes showing very litttle progress in an area for a while and then suddenly leaping to a new stage– now you can get specific insights of each developmental area. Browse through each area and find out where your baby’s strengths and areas of opportunity lie!So, what’s new in the progress report section? Many parents wondered what they could expect from their child’s development within their age group. With the new progress section, now you will be able to have a preview of what your baby will accomplish in the following months! Exciting, huh?
You will still be able to see your baby’s overall progress for each developmental area and compare it to the average baby his age. However, in the new section you are going to see how your baby progresses over time, giving you a weekly snapshot! Setting new goals and reflecting on past achievements has never been easier. Want to keep track of the activities and milestones your baby reached during the week? It’s easy with our new weekly progress section in which you’ll see clear graphics depicting the number of milestones and activities that were completed per week. We know it’s an exciting time for parents to witness when their baby reaches a new milestone, whether it’s his first smile, word, or step.If you are wondering which milestones your baby will be working on during the week, we’ve got you covered! Now you will be able to see which are your baby’s upcoming milestones. Lastly, we know you always want to continue strengthening your baby’s skills, so we have a Suggested Track section. By analyzing which milestones your baby hasn’t reached yet, we specifically select a Track that contains a set of activities that will help your baby reach those critical milestones! That way, if you want to focus on developing a specific skill, it’s easy to identify and do! Don’t wait any longer… try out the newest version with the improved progress section and more, here!
We are thrilled to announce that Kinedu 2.0 is now available for our Android users. You’ve never seen Kinedu like this, it’s better than ever!
Kinedu 2.0 for Android features a completely redesigned app. It’s never been easier to navigate the app and track your baby’s development! With that comes clearer progress report graphics that also make it easier for you to visualize your child’s evolvement. On top of that, with Kinedu 2.0 you are now able to access the Milestone Checklist, a list of developmental milestones that correspond to your child and you can update at any time.
What’s new in this version:
Improved Design: The new app has performance improvements and a more intuitive interface so that parents can easily navigate the app and track their baby’s development.
New Progress Report: Improved graphics make it easier for you to visualize your baby’s progress since the initial assessment.
Milestone Checklist: With the introduction of the Milestones checklist, you can now access the list of developmental milestones that correspond to your child and easily update them at any time.
What are you waiting for? Download the latest version of our app! Click here!
It’s easy to get a new one! Simply answer the milestones that are pending and correspond to your baby. To do this, just exit your daily training routine by selecting ‘click here to explore on your own‘ and then enter the milestones section on the main menu. There, you’ll be able to select the milestones that your baby has reached. We’ll then have the most recent and accurate information about his or her development in order to create a new activity plan that continues to be tailored specifically to his or her needs!
Did this help? Have any more questions? Don’t hesitate to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org