Ideas for parenting-related things to build

While I’m on this adventure, I want to keep an eye out for things to build that might make it easier or more fun. Here are a few vague ideas I’ve thought about from the first 2 years of A-‘s life:

  • Parent coaching and professional development: I really appreciated having a nurse and a home visitor come to our house many times, evaluate how I played with and fed A-, and give me tips. It’s pretty interesting what you can get out of a short interaction if you’ve got something like the NCAST Parent-Child teaching scale. I also loved going to the city workshops on parenting, literacy, and child development. There’s certainly no shortage of parenting advice from books, websites, and random people on the street, but I liked the reflective, research-backed approach of Healthy Babies Healthy Children. I’m often tempted to find an educational consultant early childhood educator with experience in teacher training who can come in and help me do professional development as a parent, but I haven’t figured out my request clearly enough to set up the appropriate experiment. And the market for people who want to geek out about this and are willing to pay for it might be really small (me?), but it might still be fun to figure out if I can set up something for myself. There are a number of parent coaches available on the Net, mostly focusing on sleep or behavior. I’m curious about continuous improvement…
  • Progress tracking, developmentally appropriate expectations/principles/concepts: I’m curious about semi-structured pedagogical documentation and making it easy to learn about concepts and ideas right when it makes sense to do so, not just based on age. I enjoy keeping detailed notes on A-‘s growth, and I’m slowly figuring out how to make sense of it over time. I wonder how daycares and preschools that have moved to electronic portfolios with apps like HiMama might be doing it… Again, there’s no end of activity idea lists or Pinterest boards. Still, education textbooks are surprisingly awesome. I find progressions useful (ex: detailed development of scissor skills), since they help me understand sub-skills to look for and scaffold. I also like learning about general principles because that helps me improvise based on A-‘s interests. It would be pretty neat to have, say, a natural language AI analyze my anecdotes and help me scaffold things, and have some kind of visual way to summarize what she can do and what’s just a little out of her reach. It would be great to translate my amateur observations and help me find the right jargon to research stuff or link up to things like the ELECT framework. I’ll get the hang of this eventually! (Or I’ll find experienced educators who can help…)
  • Personalized books: Because reading is awesome, and it can be faster for me to make a book than to find just the right book at the right language level or with the things A- is particularly interested in. I see this starting to pick up, so maybe other people can take care of it.

Hah, I think these things might have a market of one for now, but that’s cool. I’m going to see if reading a bunch of books and papers can give me enough of a base so that I can ask intelligent questions. I can pass by drop-in centres to pick the brains of ECEs for free (especially on days where it’s likely to be quiet). I’m thinking of how to take advantage of how teachers and ECEs often look for weekend or summer babysitting gigs, and how there are a number of virtual assistants with backgrounds in early childhood education. I might also get pretty far doing continuous improvement on my own, especially as I create more space for reflective practice and investment.

I’ll probably come across more ideas over the next few years. I figure I’ll put these out here now just in case someone says, “Oh yeah, I was totally in the same spot X years ago, here are my notes,” or “Yup, that’s called Y, go check it out.” In the meantime, I’m having fun scratching my itch. :)