ParentalEQ: a parenting app to help manage your child’s emotional & social development

Need help navigating parenthood or have a child who needs some support?

If your answer is yes, then you will be glad to know there is an app for that. ParentalEQ is the brainchild of CEO Vijay Solanki and his team, who designed an app for parents who need support with the emotional and social development of their children. 

Kidsbook caught up with Vijay to pick his brain on how the app works and what he is trying to achieve for children’s and family mental health.

How do you think our attitude to mental health has changed over time?

There has been an enormous shift, from the ‘They’ll be alright’ attitude, which just doesn’t wash it anymore – to a more mainstream acceptance that our emotional health needs to be addressed. If you look at the whole concept of mindfulness, which is very much in the mainstream now, I can see mental health following a similar path.

There’s also a lot of friction to getting mental health help. Besides the stigma – it is actually quite difficult to get an appointment with a therapist or counsellor, Coming out of this pandemic we have seen therapy wait times double here in Australia, anywhere from 2 months to 4 months. 

So we want to simplify psychology and also make it more accessible for parents.

What are the most common issues children have?

The most common issues we see are emotional like anxiety or anger, or behavioural like lying, fighting or non-compliance (that could include diagnosed conditions like ODD – Oppositional Defiance Disorder) and then also children living with the challenges associated with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder.

In terms of triggers, major changes in life, including separation and overall family health can all impact the mental health of our children. 

Clearly Covid has been a big factor too.  For some children, there has been anxiety and often tension on the parent-child relationship due to the breakdown in routine.

Screenshots of the ParentalEQ app showing audio modules and activities

Emotional resilience in children is very topical, what does this mean to you?

For me emotional resilience is having the capacity for emotional awareness and regulation. Sociability is also important, as are soft skills like empathy and listening, all increasingly valuable in our modern world.

Tell us about ParentalEQ and what you are trying to achieve

Well, all the research points to mental health problems in children developing before they hit 14,  but most go unnoticed and undiagnosed.  

So our app is there to support parents and carers in playing a more active role in their kid’s emotional wellbeing from much earlier. It is there for parents (with children aged 5 – 12) seeking support, and as a parent coaching platform to raise emotionally strong families. 

We are also trying to simplify parent-child psychology. There is still a stigma attached to seeking help for mental health and seeing a therapist. We want to change this and also make it more convenient, while delivering an outcome for the child. We want to help people understand their own emotions, behaviours and build positive habits.

How does the ParentalEQ app work?

When you sign into the app you are given a series of topics you want to focus on, which helps to personalise the content for you. 

The core of the app is a 365 chat function in the app where you get to interact with one of our parent science experts.  Parents can also schedule video sessions with the expert.  The first is free.

There is also a series of bespoke audio modules based around ‘Knowledge’ and written ‘Activities’. The audio modules are no longer than 10 minutes and simplify a whole range of relevant topics around child behaviour and parenting skills. 

The Activities are similar to what a therapist would use but shorter and easier so parents can use them.

The app has an introductory freemium period, with some free access to both ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Activity’ modules, before it moves into a paid monthly or annual subscription. On the paid tier you get to interact with a real counsellor who helps to guide parents on the journey. We like to think of our parent science experts as a bit like a fitness instructor, there to help you achieve your parenting goals, when you need them. 

You are not trying to replace therapists though?

Absolutely not. We are not trying to replace therapists, independent professional advice, diagnosis and treatment. We are also very aware that some people need clinical intervention. This is something our team are very aware of, the need to refer someone who needs more formal help.
 
You can download the ParentalEQ app on the Apple App store or Google’s Play Store.

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