Erica Christakis is a former faculty member of the Yale Child Study Center and has authored a best-selling book, The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grownups. She has written this book to preserve the experiences of true childhood for our children. In a world full of high expectations, technology and busy parents children can often be treated as commodities. She advocates that parents and teachers should see the world through the eyes and needs of young children.
She has written a compelling article in Edutopia https://www.edutopia.org/article/whats-lost-when-we-rush-kids-through-childhood?utm_source=Edutopia+Newsletter&utm_campaign=8f1c8099d6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_090419_enews_whatslostwhen&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f72e8cc8c4-8f1c8099d6-79057787entitled: What’s Lost When We Rush Kids Through Childhood. Here is a quote from the article.
““Being little” is of critical importance because we see the signature of early childhood experience literally in people’s bodies: their life expectancies are longer and their social-emotional capabilities are more robust when they have a chance to learn through play and through deep relationships, and when their developing brains are given the chance to grow in a nurturing, language-rich, and relatively unhurried environment. It’s clearer than ever before that young children are not simply mini-adults.”
The article continues to discuss “adultification,” high quality early childhood education, the importance of play and the “serve and return” style of communication with children. I think there is valuable content delivered here in this brief article that can be very helpful to parents, teachers and caregivers as they become more attuned to the needs and processes of children.
It is easy for adults to assume that children are just mini-adults. The expectations that accompany that view can rob children of the simple joy of being a child, full of life, growth and change. That would be a loss to both the child and their caregivers. Childhood has so many unique experiences and points of joy that none of us should miss.