Move over Greta Thunberg. Australian Molly Wright is on her way to becoming one of the youngest and most persuasive influencers ever. Her Ted talk, (above) has already been seen over 5 million times, and her words on child development are spot on.
What were you doing when you were seven years old? Some people have the gift of not giving a crap what others think, and Molly may be one of them.
Molly's Ted Talk has been used by Australia's Minderoo foundation to train parents all over the country on child development. The message is a simple one- over 90 percent of our brain development happens before we turn age 5, when children would normally be starting kindergarten. The video shows, with an actual toddler, how important parental attention, love, and play is to stimulating brain development. Just think of all the misery later in life that could be avoided if every child got what they needed from parents and caregivers. How much easier would things be if we made the first five years a priority? There would be less crime, better relationships, better employees, and happier families. The problem is that parents are so over-extended and stressed today that they have no idea how important this interaction truly is.
When the video was shown to a group of parents in Australia, "Over 90 per cent of parents said they would be more likely to connect, talk and play with their children after watching the film and the majority would recommend it to their friends and family." So if you know any new parents out there, share the heck out of this amazing video.
The Minderoo foundation also has another initiative, called the Bright Tomorrows App, which is currently only available in Australia. It has a list of activities that parents can do with their young children to engage them further, such as the ones below:
Sentence Mixer Upper
For ages 3 to 5
"Sometimes it can be fun to mix things up as you make statements like, "Your banana is blue. I wear shoes on my ears," or "This ice cream is hot." Give your child a chance to correct you and show how much they know before they take a turn mixing things up.
Gab and Go
For ages 0 to 1
When you’re getting ready to go out, talk about what you’re doing and how your child might be feeling. Maybe you could say, "We’re getting ready to go to the shops. You’re wriggling and have a smile on your face. You seem excited. Let’s go and see what we find there." How do they respond? Follow their lead!
For ages 2 to 5
Whenever you’re waiting together, take one of your child’s favorite songs and take turns singing the lines. You start the first line and then have them continue. They can hum even if they don’t remember the words!"
Luckily, these activities are available on the Bright Tomorrow website- https://www.brighttomorrows.org.au/
In the US, there is a similar program, called Parents as Teachers that works through school districts to educate new parents on the latest in child development. Check with your school district to find out more or visit the PAT website at https://parentsasteachers.org/
Sometimes I worry about the world we are leaving for children. I think we owe it to them to use the best research out there to give them the best chances at successes in life. That doesn't mean the best clothes, schools, electronic gadgets, trips to Disney World, or huge inheritances. It means quality time with mom, dad, and other adults learning what it means to be a human being, and discovering that they are loved and valued.
Watch this video and see for yourself.