Last week at Camp Mighty, I re-thought through a lot of my goals for the upcoming year. This was, in part, motivated by spending time with individuals with Next Generation/Clinton Foundation‘s Too Small to Fail campaign, who I am honored to be teaming up with over the next few months on a sponsored campaign with Go Mighty. Their goal is to improve the development of kids in America (you can read all about it here.)
As my small part in this, I’ll be creating goals for myself to do with Harry and my nieces and random babies that cross my path as I move through my day…Watch out babies! I’m talking to you. In fact, I believe that I spoke this very thing out loud while holding a microphone and it was recorded for the Library of Congress:
So here’s what’s behind all this: Research shows that over 80% of a child’s brain develops before he or she turn three years old – so it’s important for parents and non-parents and communities as a whole (It takes a village, people!) to spend quality time interacting with kids in positive ways.
To put an exclamation point on the matter, there’s something called the “word gap” that has been discovered through numerous studies showing that children in low-income households hear 30 million fewer words than children from high-income households by the age of four. There are many socio-economic reasons for this . . . stress and work schedules for starters.
But no parental shame game here. When you are working to put food on the table, instigating further brain development is possibly not top of mind. I was a very full time working mom until Harry was almost four, and I can barely remember past last week, so it’s hard to know if I did enough. Did I talk to him enough? Did I sing to him enough? Did I do enough? I believe I’ve been in that kid’s face since the moment he made his first appearance in the world, but I think as a mom, I’ll never really feel like I’ve done enough…because the stakes are so high and this kid has my heart. I’ll always want to do more. But wait, hold that thought… like the Big O says, ‘when you know better, you do better.’ So I’m making it my mission to do better, to be mindfully in the moment and connect with my child (and really, any child in a 30-yard radius) whenever possible.
Which brings me to my goals.
One of the most important things parents can do to promote brain development is to talk, sing, and engage with our children. My child is now eight. But ‘our children’ are all around us, so I’m going to do more to help some babies. And I’m bringing my eight-year-old baby along.
Together, we are going to mindfully interact with some kids and babies that need it. I don’t totally know (specifically) what this means yet, but beyond spending more mindful time with my own child at dinner, on dedicated mom/kid/no electronics anywhere dates, we are going to go together to find some babies to help. And then we’re going to do our little part to help.
And on that note… I’ll be documenting these goals, details, progressions and stories over at Go Mighty so if you’re at all interested, check it out. And if you’re want to hear more, here’s a video with more information about Next Generation/Too Small to Fail. (You can also go here to learn more.)
This post was sponsored by Next Generation and the Clinton Foundation as part of the Too Small to Failcampaign. Several bloggers, including myself, have added goals on Go Mighty around spending more time with the kids in our lives. You can check them out here and join in by tagging #gomighty4kids on your kid-related goals.