The Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust got in touch with us about their new app.
It sounds like it could be really helpful for families across the country.
Here’s what they have to say about it…
A pioneering free app to help parents with their newborn babies has been launched by the NHS.
Born to Move gives advice to new mums, dads and carers on every stage from newborn, crawler and toddler to pre-school.
The idea came from Julia Haynes, a health visitor at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, who has worked extensively with health visitors, children’s centre staff and local parents on its development.
It was developed in response to research which shows that almost 50 per cent of children are starting school lacking the movement and social skills to achieve their full potential to learn and develop.
Ofcom says five-year-olds now spend as much as six hours in front of a screen and while six-year-olds are as ‘digitally savvy’ as 45-year-olds, some children are starting schools without developing the pincer grip to hold a pencil.
Julia, who has more than 28 years’ experience supporting families, said: “We all know that babies learn best if they ‘see it, hear it, and do it’ through playtime and interacting with their parents, siblings and friends.
“For example, awake tummy time helps your baby to learn to crawl, chatting and interacting with your baby increases their vocabulary, and reducing screen time and playing games encourages them to track objects and helps to strengthen eye muscles to learn to read.
“Parents told me they wanted evidence-based, practical information to help them do what’s best for their child and to support brain development at each stage as, let’s face it, babies don’t come with instructions.
“We know it’s ironic we’ve put this information into an app when we are encouraging parents to reduce screen time for babies, but we can’t ignore the large part that technology plays in our lives, it’s the place we all turn to for information.”
Born to Move is designed to be used in conjunction with the support of KCHFT’s army of health visitors and supports the Kent-wide Born to move – Active Learner project. It is based on the Active Movement Programme in New Zealand, which promotes active play from birth.
The app can be personalised with a picture of the user’s baby and includes advice as well as games for improving life-skills from birth until a child is five years old. It can be downloaded on Apple and Android devices from the App Store and Google Play.
Emily Leggat, 34, from Hothfield, Ashford, is mum to Henry, six months, and Jack, three. She said: “I love the app, it’s quick, fun and simple to use – and you don’t need expensive toys for the games; it uses items you already have around the house. As a mum, the internet is often one of the places you turn for advice but it can be overwhelming. So having simple, bite-size information in an app that you can look at is really helpful – it’s just gives you those little prompts of what you might do next.”
The app was built by the Kent and Medway Health Informatics Service (KMHIS). As part of the design and build, the app was approved by the health visiting practice development group and a multi-agency focus group as well as being piloted to a group of 100 parents in Ashford, Swale, Dover and Canterbury.
Phil Edbrooke-Childs, Managing Director of the KMHIS, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been involved in this exciting project. Parenting is a skill and our modern lifestyles impact significantly on how we interact with babies. In today’s fast pace of life most people turn to their phones for an answer, which is why we wanted to develop a fun and educational app for busy mums, dads and carers to make sure babies keep moving.”