Contrary to popular belief, success and happiness do not always go hand in hand. When it comes to the relationships between children and career-minded parents, work distractions and electronic devices can actually negatively impact parent-child communications which leads to monosyllabic responses that make it difficult to know what’s going on in a child’s life and how he feels about it. This results in unhappiness among children and parents alike. Luckily, Povi is a new product that hopes to help ease some of these problems.
Povi is a “smart” toy that is loaded with real-life stories which children can relate to. Povi also offers endless conversation starters and subsequently helps parents and children establish a daily habit of thoughtful conversation that, in turn, helps children develop crucial social-emotional skills. Essentially, Povi was designed to help parents raise happier, caring and confident children.
Povi is an EQ (emotional quotient) content platform and app with crowd-sourced content and a huggable storytelling buddy as the delivery tool. In other words – Povi is a connected toy with a mission, for children ages 3-8. Povi shares short stories based on children’s everyday situations then engages young listeners and their parents in a discussion on emotions and feelings.
Povi is a product of AntWish, a California-based company that was founded by Seow Lim, a mom of two boys and a Silicon Valley executive for over 15 years, with engineering degrees from Imperial College of London (UK) and Stanford University in California (USA). The company’s goal with their product is to help strength human relationships. An example from the official press release explains:
A story related to self-esteem, for example, would lead to the parent asking the Povi app question:
“If you could be someone else for a day, who would you like to be?”
A focus on empathy might prompt, “How can you tell when someone is sad?”
Povi’s stories address subjects such as caring, resilience, confidence, motivation, thankfulness and other valuable life skills. Povi is not designed to be played with alone, but rather always with a parent on hand to discuss the challenges presented and come up with possible solutions with their child.
“Teaching the ABC’s alone is simply not enough for raising a happy and successful child. Families and schools need to look at the ‘whole child’ and focus on enhancing social-emotional skills, in addition to academics,” according to Katherine Fan, MD, pediatrician and child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. Research highlights the importance of focusing on emotional intelligence starting at a very young age. This movement has gained momentum in recent years, in large part due to concerns over school violence, bullying and teen suicide. According to multiple studies, preschoolers who participate in social-emotional skills programs exhibit less aggression and anxiety and become better social problem solvers. Prosocial behavior in early childhood is closely tied to future academic performance and mental health. Thousands of schools now use programs with this goal in mind. Povi enables parents to implement social-emotional development at home.
Povi has been visiting busy families across the U.S. for user testing and these families have been sharing their experiences with Povi. Until Povi, the only resources for encouraging this growth in children were books and online research which makes this item truly innovative.
At present, Povi comes with 10 pre-downloaded stories and a free app (available for Android or iOS) featuring additional questions parents can ask related to the stories and 20 additional stories that are age appropriate for each individual child. Parents can choose from among three levels, for ages 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. The stories are written and curated by experts including psychologists, teachers and parents.
Povi launches on Kickstarter, May 24, 2016. The first 2,000 customers to sign up will receive Povi at the discounted price of $49. Povi will be available to everyone for $69 in the fall on the official website. To learn more, see here.