Arttachment is an app for parents of children under 5. It is being created by a small team of psychologists and parents to help parents connect with their children through making and creating together.
Increasingly, child development science is confirming the foundational role that parent-child attachment plays in a child’s development. Infants and young children who feel secure are more confident to explore and to learn. By providing accessible activities and pointers about applying child psychology, Arttachment app aims to support parents’ relationships with their children and make it as easy as possible for them to carve out time in their busy life to do something special together.
Equally, learning about child development helps parents gain confidence and resilience. Arttachment bring parents child psychology knowledge through accessible videos, with insights applied to daily parenting practice. Throughout the parent-child projects in the app, we also help with suggestions derived from child psychology to help you turn the activities into opportunities for emotional, social and cognitive development.
1. Parent-child activities
Arttachment will include a collection of activities for children and parents to do together, including painting, making, storytelling and music. The activities fall in three age categories: baby (0-1), toddler (1-3) and preschooler (3-5). The app will come with over 30 activities in the first instance, to which more activity-packs will be added after we launch, so that there’s always something interesting to choose from.
Each activity will be easy and accessible, using basic craft supplies along with common materials found around the house or in nature. Step-by-step instructions will guide parents through the activity. For every step of each activity, we provide suggestions on how to encourage child development and bonding. These are pointers of how you can use the activity to interact with your child in order to develop four main areas: (1) decision-making and problem solving; (2) language and logical thought; (3) visualisation and big picture thinking; (4) closeness and touch.
2. Child development videos
We bring the latest insights in child development science through engaging and accessible videos. Arttachment is based on a current understanding of the development of the human brain. Parents are given tips on how to encourage the development of particular skills and abilities, and how these relate to specific brain functions. Arttachment is grounded in the understanding that relationships formed by babies and children with their parents and carers are essential to their development. That is why insights from attachment theory inform the videos we are creating for parents.
The following videos will be included in the app in the first instance.
Brain development videos: The importance of developing your child’s upper brain; Logical thinking versus creativity – developing the whole brain; Brain plasticity – how the child’s brain changes; Epigenetics – how genes and experience interact to build children’s brains; Learning by imitation – the role of mirror neurons
Attachment theory videos: Attachment and its crucial role in child development; Being your child’s ‘secure base’; The language of touch; Our bodies’ response to bonding – the role of oxytocin.
We are currently crowdfunding to help us complete the app. If funded, the app will be available for Android and iOS in September 2019. Find out more here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/406923546/arttachment-a-creative-app-for-parents
Parents can contribute to our crowdfunding campaign to get the app here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/406923546/arttachment-a-creative-app-for-parents. Through the crowdfunder, parents even have the opportunity to sign up for our testing programme so they can receive a test version a couple of months before it becomes publicly available. The campaign closes on 16 April 2019.
Arttachment is a collaboration between three friends: Kitty Howarth, Diana Onu & Dan Marshall, who are all psychologists and parents. Here are their bios:
Kitty Howarth, DEdPsy. I am an Educational, Child and Community Psychologist and I have over 13 years experience of working with children and applying child psychological theory to practice. Some of my most valuable experience however, has come from becoming a parent to my two children. Parenthood has coloured in the theory that I have studied for years. Now I can see what real and deep connectivity and attunement feels like and I can recognise how this supports social and emotional resilience.
Diana Onu, PhD. I am a research psychologist and science communication entrepreneur. My 10 years experience in academic research inspired me to make scientific insights more accessible in people’s lives. Following this passion, I co-founded PsyNovigo, developing apps based on scientific research. Above all experiences, becoming a parent has shown me how empowering knowledge can be. In those early days, knowledge of child psychology helped me be a calmer, more loving, more resilient parent. I am grateful to be part of bringing Arttachment to parents everywhere.
Dan Marshall, MSc. A dad, psychologist and small business owner. I have spent most of my career working as an applied or research psychologist. In recent years I co-founded a business developing smartphone apps with a firm foundation in research. I was also lucky enough to attend the Arttachment sessions at Kitty’s house and did not just survive, but was deeply moved and inspired by them. So much so, that I am working towards bringing the Arttachment app into life to share with, and to benefit, as many parents and carers as possible.
Arttachment didn’t start as an app. It actually started as informal sessions for parents and children run by Kitty Howarth. At the time, Kitty welcomed a second child into her family. Aware of the need to support her first child through this transition, she designed a series of creative attachment-based activities to do together with her children, drawing on her experience as an educational psychologist. She was joined by other friends with children at her house, where they would do these activities together.
One of the friends who came to these sessions with his son was Dan Marshall. Dan and his partner Diana were both working in psychological research at the time. Following a passion for science communication, they had also started a business developing mobile apps based on psychological research. About a year after Kitty ran the Arttachment sessions in her living room, Kitty, Dan and Diana were chatting about how these activities would make an excellent app for parents. This is how the idea of Arttachment app was born in 2018.
Science-based content. We strongly believe in making scientific evidence accessible to all parents. This knowledge can empower parents to better care for their children. That is why most of the educational content we produce (such as videos) will be free.
Affordability. We try to keep costs low and make our mobile app as affordable as possible to parents all over the world. We are not focused on profit-making beyond covering our operational costs.
Giving back. We believe in supporting worthy causes in our communities. We commit to donating 50% of all profits (after covering our operational costs) to worthy charitable causes. We will choose these causes with the help of the Arttachment community.
These work-in-progress screenshots demonstrate the step-by-step structure of the parent-child activities, as well as the suggestions for parents for helping their children develop
We are developing a growing collection of free videos for parents to communicate child development insights. Click below to see the entire video collection
Example video: Insights about brain development in young children