I am so fascinated by this category of little humans. They are seriously the most confident generation of children yet.
I am the proud creator of a little Gen Alpha, he’s 5 now. So to define this a little more clearly, Gen Alpha’s are kids born to Millenials – that’s us bunch who were born between 1981 and 1996.
They are the first generation of children born straight into the norm of iPads, iPhones and laptops being a part of everyday life, the most technology infused human beings.
I mean my 5 year old has started to teach himself simple maths now, I’m always close by when he’s “playing iPad” and when I start seeing him looking guilty while counting on his fingers, I realize what’s up! He is busy trying to buy a game that was advertised to him during another game he was playing, but to get to the purchase screen he needs to answer a maths sum! There has been a few times where he’s got this right, but then when he hits buy it requires a typed out Apple ID password or fingerprint recognition, so he hasn’t quite worked out how to crack that part yet.
My friends little 3 year old comes to her last night and says “Mommy where’s my slippers, my feet are cold.” In the back of the car honey, here’s the keys she says. On the car keys there are 3 icons for how to lock and unlock the car and boot. She looks at them for a while and then points to the correct button and goes “is this one unlock Mommy?” And off she goes. She’s definitely too short to reach the door handle, but we know she’ll find something high enough to drag there to stand on and help her out.
Their minds are just different. They connect things we never would have. When we ask them to do something, they question “but why?” And any old answer won’t do. We actually have to have a real reason. It’s so interesting to watch and compare to the childhoods we had.
How narratives have changed:
“Children should be seen and not heard” is now “I hear you, let’s talk about this.”
“Girls should be pretty” is now “You dressed yourself, I love that.”
“Boys should be brave” is now “that was hard for you, do you need a hug?”
Millennials parent differently. Every generation does. And every generation did the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time.
There’s a lot of doom and gloom surrounding what some may believe technology is doing to our little people – in my opinion that can all be managed by responsible adults putting healthy boundaries in place. But remember you can’t just say “20 minutes on the iPad only!” Because they will ask “why?!” And then you can’t just said “because I’m your Mother and I say so.” They’ll literally say… something you don’t wanna hear. But if you say “well because baby studies have shown that this is what happens to children’s brains after prolonged periods of time…. “ and show them a video about it and then take them outside to experience nature, they will most likely understand the concept and listen to your reasoning.
Millennial parenting combined with Gen Alpha curiosity can equal a hugely positive outcome. But it takes A LOT. It’s not easy to step out of those deeply engrained patterns we were raised with, especially with these hugely demanding tiny little people challenging us every step of the way. But it’s exciting, and I love a challenge!
Raising a child in today’s world is definitely that – a challenge. The uncertainty of our future world is always there, but… wasn’t it always? I’m sure our parents had their fears too.
These little people are going to do good things. I can feel it. We just have to be there to be their backup when they need us, which honestly I don’t think will be that often.
I’m so excited to see what they will do with the endless possibilities they have at their finger tips. What a time to be alive.