The Daily Growth app supports parents in teaching their children aged 2–4 emotion regulation – this refers to important skills for understanding and managing our emotions.

There are significant gaps in Australian universal services, and most parents never receive evidence-based parenting support.

Strengthening children’s key social and emotional skills can help reduce the rates of mental illness in Australia.

Continuum of Care

  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Continuing Care
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Lifecourse

  • Pregnancy
  • Infancy
  • Toddlerhood
  • Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Young Adulthood
  • Middle Adulthood
  • Late Adulthood
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Mental illness often begins in childhood 

Mental disorders affect almost half of Australian adults in their lifetime – and even higher rates of Indigenous Australians.

Mental illness typically begins in childhood. And the earlier a child’s mental health problems begin, the more serious the burden of mental illness is likely to be for them.

Teaching children emotion regulation can head off mental disorders

Emotion regulation – our ability to understand and manage our emotions – is critical in the pathway to mental illness. It is a key building block of our social and emotional skills.

Research shows that programs that improve children’s emotion regulation are effective in preventing or reducing child mental illness.

When children are young, they rely on their parents to teach them how to recognise and manage their emotions through co-regulation.

Most parents with children 2-4 years do not have access to quality parenting education to learn to do this well.

Our Daily Growth app makes evidence-based parenting support readily available on a smartphone for parents of children aged 2–4. This parenting app supports parents in teaching their children emotion regulation skills, which in turn can reduce their children’s risk of developing mental health problems.

How can the Daily Growth parenting app help?

Daily Growth offers in-the-moment support for parents through surveys that ask them about a recent parenting situation.

The app adapts to a parent’s individual characteristics and offers them short video resources from three categories:

  • Emotion coaching: to support parents in teaching their child about emotions.
  • Wayapa Wuurrk: an earth connection practice based on Indigenous wisdom of taking care of the environment to create earth mind body spirit wellbeing by combining mindfulness, storytelling, embodied movement and reciprocity.
  • Active play: play-based physical activities that can improve child and parent emotion regulation and mental health.

Using Daily Growth, parents can get parenting support that is relevant to their daily lives and appropriate for their personal context.

We are working with parents to co-design the Daily Growth app to meet their needs. We will then coordinate a 6-week trial of the app to evaluate its real-world effectiveness.

Recruitment for the trial is expected to begin in 2024.

Meet the team 

Daily Growth is being developed as part of Deakin University’s Centre for Social Epidemiology and Emotional Development (SEED) Interventions theme in collaboration with Wayapa Wuurrk, Barwon Child, Youth & Family and the University of Melbourne.

SEED conducts world-leading research on social development and its origins in early emotional life. The Intervention Theme designs, evaluates and promotes mental health interventions to help Australians grow up into resilient adults.

Daily Growth is funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas grant.

Chief investigators: