Parenting Hero is an app created on the premise no matter how many parenting books you read, a lot of that knowledge vacates your brain when faced with an indignant child on the verge of a meltdown. The app, currently available on iOS, takes tenets from the book “How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7” and presents them in role-playing scenarios that guide users through different responses to common parenting dilemmas.
Developed by Warsaw-based education app startup Mythic Owl, Parenting Hero is illustrated with 1,500 panels hand-drawn by graphic designer Katarzyna Struczyńska. Mythic Owl was founded in 2014 by chief executive officer Tomasz Mularczyk to create games that give educators more teaching tools.
The former chief technology officer of Medicalgorithmics, which makes cardiac monitoring devices, Mularczyk told TechCrunch that he went to a lot of parenting workshops to learn the best ways to communicate with his three children, but felt there should be a better way to practice techniques than for the first time with a kid.
Mularczyk’s mother and father owned copies of classic parenting books by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, the authors of “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.” As a teenager, Mularczyk liked to browse through their comic-like illustrations. When he had kids of his own, Mularczyk returned to the books for advice and discovered an app opportunity.
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“I thought that since parents have so little time nowadays, it would be great to allow them to improve their skills using this medium and giving them the interactivity through choice for every scene,” he said in an email.
He contacted Adele Faber and Joanna, her daughter, and found out that Joanna was getting ready to publish “How to Talk to Little Kids Will Listen” with co-author Julie King, which is based on the same ideas as “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk,” such as speaking honestly about emotions in order to resolve conflicts without fighting.
Mythic Owl worked with Joanna Faber and King for ten months to make sure Parenting Hero stayed true to their book.
“We presented our prototype to Joanna Faber and Julie King and even though they had thought that it’s almost impossible to capture ideas like this with an app, they believe our approach had achieved it,” said Mularczyk.
The app costs $4.99, so parents might wonder why they should spend money on it instead of, or in addition to, the $12.99 e-book version of “How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen.” Mularczyk believes the app has two key benefits: parents can familiarize themselves with Faber and King’s advice quickly and it also serves as a quick reminder about how to follow the book’s principles when faced with a conflict. After completing a category, users can print out a card with tips and advice they learned in each scenario.
Mularczyk says versions of Parenting Hero for other platforms will come out next month. Future updates to the app will include new scenarios based on feedback from parents and optimizations to allow it to run more efficiently on older smartphones.