The insights gathered from our research to date have particularly highlighted the importance of play and exploration, networks and informal support, and a common need among parents for emotional support. Here is a snapshot of a few key insights.

Indoors outdoors

For many families, their world quickly gets smaller when children arrive. It becomes much harder to get out and about and for some it can be a lonely and isolating experience. Playing outdoors and enjoying quality time outside of the home are not always possible for a variety of reasons, both practical and emotional. However, the home isn’t always a space where children can play and explore, because the practicalities of adult life take priority, space may be limited and parents just need to ‘get things done’. How could families be more connected to people and places that might stimulate their imaginations and improve their wellbeing? If families can’t leave their homes, how could quality time be delivered to them?

Worn thin

It is evident that many families feel completely overwhelmed by the stresses and strains of everyday life at some time or another. While stress is not always a bad thing, persistent stress within the home can have a damaging effect on children’s emotional, social and intellectual development, as well as affecting the quality of relationships within a family. What could be created which would encourage families to ask for trusted help and support and allow families to enjoy more genuine quality time?

It takes a village

We know that raising children takes the support, collaboration, and care of many different people along the way. Building and strengthening the breadth and depth of a family’s social connections seems to be a significant contributor to the early development of a child’s health and wellbeing. So, what could be done to make this easier for families who are more isolated or lacking confidence? How might informal childcare really work across a community?

Learning by doing

Research shows that all parents need support and advice at some stage, and ‘parenting on instinct’ is not always enough to give children the best start in life. But the traditional learning model does not work for everybody. Families learn most effectively by figuring out what is most relevant to them. Parents are the experts on their own children, so how can parents with great skills and techniques be more willing and able to share these with others?

More on these insights, and others, will soon become available on the Design Council website.