ParentTV is helping educators and families to navigate childhood with expert support
It’s 7 am. It’s raining and cold, your child’s favourite socks are still damp, and they can’t find the drawing they spent an hour on last night, which they wanted to show their best friend. Imagine having advice from a clinical psychologist, who specialised in anxiety, who could assist you in staying calm and navigating those challenging emotions. It’s a dream many parents can buy into, and scenarios such as this are part of the motivation for Sam Jockel, who established ParentTV – “the Netflix of parenting resources”.
Six years ago, Ms Jockel, who has a background in social work, founded two communities on Facebook (School Mum and Aldi Mum) which now have a combined following of over 650,000 people. Within those communities, it became increasingly clear to Ms Jockel that parents were struggling. Some questions were straightforward – how do I encourage my child to eat more vegetables? He won’t keep his hat on at childcare! Any tips? – and others were far more complex: My youngest son is hurting our baby.. I think my child has autism…I can’t seem to get motivated to take care of my family. From these communities, the inspiration for Parent TV was born.
Launched in March 2018, ParentTV is designed to be a one stop shop. A place where “short, sharp and shiny” videos addressing a range of concerns would be answered in video form, with a range of specialists at the ready, to guide families through tricky times. Which is fine, for parents. But what about early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals? Wouldn’t it be great if they too had access to psychologists, specialists who deal in sensory brain development and behaviour? Some sector greats like Sandi Phoenix, Maggie Dent and Dr Kaylene Henderson… after all, parents and educators are partners in producing the best possible outcomes for children, right?
For one ECEC provider making that happen across the service providing access to the ParentTV platform, for both families using the service, and educators, is what’s colloquially referred to as “a no brainer”.
Speaking with Ms Jockel, Jae Fraser, Founder of Little Scholars, said that the ParentTV platform offers a lot of value for parents, but even more so for staff. With a range of videos and training modules, as well as practical advice, tips and strategies for families, Mr Fraser said the platform offered holistic value to Little Scholars.
He outlined the ways in which centre managers are referring parents to expert commentary and support through the platform, but also the ways in which the staff of Little Scholars are able to use the platform in staff meetings and professional learning situations to explore challenging behaviour and other issues involved in education and care.
Most of the videos on the platform are two to five minutes – by design, Ms Jockel said. Parents and educators alike are time poor, and when the rubber hits the road, they want answers – and fast. The platform is customised to ages and stages, so that only the information relevant to the age group parents or educators need support with is put forward.
For those educators with limited prior experience of working with children, either in a formal sense or in their personal lives, having access to developmental expectations, reasonable boundaries and other resources can be transformative for their teaching practice. Parents will often approach educators for assistance and advice about biting, teething, sleeping – or about bigger issues like diagnosis of additional needs, or navigating the emotional wake of a marriage break down. For a young educator with limited experience, these can be tough situations in which to offer advice.
Instead of stumbling through these situations, or referring the parent on, ParentTV offers an opportunity for these questions to be answered with the help of individuals who are renowned for their expertise in these fields. A blessing for both educators and parents alike.
When centres or services sign on to be “ParentTV centres” Ms Jockel said, they purchase access for every family and educator within the centre. Through a log in code, parents and educators are then able to access a bank of research based credible content in relation to their concerns, or simply just to further their own learning.
Dr Justin Coulson, positive psychologist, said the platform offered a credible space for educators and families to seek support. Outlining the value of the service for families in challenging situations, he noted that the platform enabled families to seek the kind of expert advice and support which they may not otherwise be able to afford, and lessens the challenges faced by families experiencing isolation.
An increasing number of ECEC services are adopting ParentTV as a resource and value add for their families, assisting them to manage complex issues and providing social and emotional wellbeing support. The platform is well placed to bridge the gap between home and care, and offer advice and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more information about Parent TV, please see here.