Historically, a child’s world has slowly grown larger as they have grown older. They start in the small space in the womb, then slowly learn about their parents, home, then their backyard and community, then their school, and then beyond. This is a gradual process that gives the child an opportunity to become grounded locally and learn about who they are before they explore the beyond.
That is changing and very quickly. Children have access to the internet at younger and younger ages, which is showing them a world of wonderful and infintite opportunity. It’s just all happening a little too early. Before their roots have been firmly planted they are opened up to an unlimited number of worlds. I believe there is a big and long lasting cost here.
The other shift in recent times has been about children’s exploration. Previously children have had ample opportunity to explore their physical local environment from backyards to neighbourhoods, for most children now this doesn’t happen (for various number of reasons). Child still have the need to explore however now it happens on the digital platform, again limiting their connection on a local level.
Sense of belonging is so important for mental health and well-being so without these opportunities to connect and explore locally, it is becoming more and more difficult for children to grow up feeling grounded and connected. Telling stories about our history as parents and proving space for children to get to know their local environment and neighbourhood are two ways to instill this. What else can you do to provide a strong grounding before our children who explore their physical or digital ‘beyond’?