My name is Puck, and I am the Founder of Gooru, Inc. To families from Asheville to Belarus to Cambridge, I hope you are staying well. Given the state of the world, it’s as important as ever to ensure babies and young children are safely getting out for walks and seeing the world around them. I want to tell you a little bit about how I came up with Gooru Mirror and how I used it with my two children, Lawson and Ilsa.
A few years back when, I was helping bring to market the world’s first high-stakes A.I. English language test. Then in 2015, I started serving as a founding, elite admissions selector, charged with evaluating and choosing the world’s most promising future global leaders for Schwarzman Scholars. In the midst of this, I had a cute little guy at home who called me Daddy. I decided to study child brain development in my spare time. I read over and over how nothing matters more to a child’s later predicted intelligence than eye-to-eye communication during the first three years of life. Staying busy with my own life, I couldn’t always be around my son’s life so I tried to find ways to make up for it.
When the boy could sit up on his own, we transferred him from a backward-facing stroller to a forward-facing stroller. One summer day after returning from a business trip, I took him with me on a training run and realize I was missing an opportunity to engage. I hollered, strenuously peeked around the side, peered through the transparent canopy (at the back of his head), all with little connection, much awkwardness, and no eye-to-eye contact. When I went home to buy a stroller mirror and realized no stroller mirrors were available for sale, I started prototyping. I wanted a stylish mirror that went on and off easily, stayed in place during runs, and had the perfect convex to enable face-to-face communication during stroller time. This was easier said than done.
As my children grew and my prototypes improved, we walked and talked more – they were a captive audience, after all, as was I. We worked on the ASL alphabet, played “I Spy,” counted objects around all around us, and held marathon rallies of Serve and Return. They loved the attention and showed me with smiles, engagement, and more eye contact.
When the babies grew old enough to sing, I’d run to their tunes. The more they sang, the faster I’d go. They’d watch me strain and laugh. Research from M.I.T. indicates they may have been learning resilience during these moments. When they stopped singing, something my youngest rarely did, I slowed down, and a conversation would begin anew.
We were genuinely connecting and exploring the world together – not Uber driver and passenger – but connected parent and child, face-to-face, happily adventuring.
Stroller time should be bonding time, exploring time, and brain development time all rolled into one. With Gooru Mirror attached to your baby’s stroller, you’ll be more connected with them than ever and accelerating their burgeoning intelligence with little to no effort. I wish for all stroller-age families to be able to experience that.
Understanding the Adolescent Brain 0-3
https://developingchild.harvard.edu – A go-to resource for any parent looking to understand how to raise the best of the next generation.
A child’s brain undergoes an amazing period of development from birth to three—producing more than a million neural connections each second.
The Power of Communication:
New York Times – 1997
“New studies are showing that spoken language has an astonishing impact on an infant’s brain development. In fact, some researchers say the number of words an infant hears each day is the single most important predictor of later intelligence, school success and social competence.”
The Power of Eye Contact 2018:
As predicted, infants made a greater effort to communicate, making more ‘vocalizations’, when the adult made direct eye contact – and individual infants who made longer vocalizations also had higher brainwave synchrony with the adult.
Dr. Victoria Leong, Cambridge University Researcher
“It might be the case that eye contact between infants and caregivers stimulates communicative development and language development.”