If there’s a new baby in the family or someone you know is expecting, what better way to show your love than a gift that encourages healthy child development and supports pediatric research? Seattle Children’s is partnering with Cricket Crate, a monthly subscription service developed by Kiwi Crate, Inc. that aims to get babies and parents started on the right path to child health. The monthly boxes include age-appropriate items for newborns and toddlers up to 3 years of age.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, helps design the content of the boxes. Each month, parents receive a package with an age-specific toy or product, a book to read to your baby, a short magazine with tips and an online toolkit. Proceeds from the sales benefit child health and behavior research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
“Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and new parents are flooded with advice from friends, family and information from the web,” Christakis said. “What I like about Cricket Crate is that we focus on a single topic each month. We can share research-based advice with new parents in an easy format. ”
How activities between baby and parent shape a child’s life
Each package is designed to encourage interactive engagement between baby and parent. Christakis says early and regular engagement is critical because it shapes the rest of that child’s development. In a time when babies and kids are surrounded by digital tools, devoting time to hands-on engagement through playing and reading is crucial.
“Babies need laps more than apps,” he said. “In the first two years of life, the brain triples in size in direct response to external stimulation. Every meaningful interaction between a baby and parent at an early age will shape that child’s brain function and behaviors for the rest of his or her life.”
Supporting child health research at Seattle Children’s
The Cricket Crate partnership not only brings evidence-based advice to parents, but it also helps advance what we know about healthy child development by funding research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute to study children’s cognitive, social and emotional development.
“My passion for researching early child health and development came from becoming a parent myself,” Christakis said. “I wished this was around when my son was born 19 years ago. That’s when I decided to dedicate my research to finding the most effective strategies for parents to encourage healthy child development. I’m thrilled to bring that knowledge to parents in their homes each month.”