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  • Writer's pictureLaurel P. Jackson, PhD

Remembering the Playground

Updated: May 11, 2023

Parenting in the age of AI

I smile at the sound of squeals, giggles, and laughter that fills the air as our children slide down the slides and play catch in the playground. It's a scene that brings back memories of my own childhood.

A group of caregivers huddle next to the swings. As they share their caregiving experiences, expressions of stress and anxiety about their caregiving journey dominate the discussion.

In this highly connected, fast-paced, ever-changing world, parenting in the 21st century is demanding, challenging, and downright overwhelming for the majority of us. We face an entirely different set of challenges compared to previous generations.

The caregivers talk about being overwhelmed: “Am I doing this right” Am I screwing up my kid? Is my kid learning enough for their age: is my kid smart enough….”

They also talk about the desperate need to find balance in their hectic lives. They speak about being perpetually fatigued, constantly on the run, and never having the “bandwidth” (time) to fulfil the demands of their children. It’s an emotional game of tug and war.

A few parents talk about the future, and express fear and apprehension regarding AI and question the impact it might have on their children’s lives.

As AI becomes more prevalent, our reliance on technology increases, the job market in which our children will enter will be radically different from today, and the prevalent question is: How can we ensure that our children are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need not only to survive but also to thrive in this rapidly changing world?

Reports from (OECD), the Organisation for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, suggest that creativity, critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and social-emotional skills will be essential for our children's success. Unfortunately, most of these are skills that are not taught within traditional schools.

Caregivers need to focus, more than ever, on nurturing our children's qualities of being; those that cannot be readily replaced by AI; lifeskills. We need to help them to develop the ability to understand themselves and others with “courageous curiosity.” We need to help them to make thoughtful decisions, and understand the potential impacts of those decisions for themselves and others (critical thinking). Most importantly, they will need to learn how to adapt and how to learn, not what to learn, as we did in the past, but how to learn. Because knowledge is changing and increasing at such an exponential rate, that in order to keep up, we need to develop within. (This applies to our children as it does to ourselves).

At nurture, we believe that the basis of success lies in the nature of the relationship that our children have to themselves and to others. “The key skill for a happy, fulfilling life is knowing how to nurture healthy relationships.”

We focus on three domains of this relationship building.

  1. Relationship to the self

  2. Relationship to others

  3. Relationship to the planet

Parenting (Caregiving) is a continual journey: one in which we need to constantly grow and learn and develop. We need to learn with and from our children; create a space for them to develop relationships with themselves, others, and our planet. The best and most impactful gift that we can offer our children is to nurture them in this manner. This, we believe, is the key to help them thrive in a future that's largely unknown.

What skills do you think are most important for your children to develop in order to thrive?


About the Author: Dr. Laurel Paula Jackson is nurture’s VP Caregiver Learning. She is a perpetual learner, who holds degrees from Oxford and Cambridge Universities in Education, and a doctoral degree in Education from the University of London. Dr. Laurel has spent the past fifteen years working with schools and educational institutions around the world as an advisor and Edtech founder. More recently, she has been an educational coach with a focus on 21st century skills, nutrition and wellness, speaks on issues related to sustainability and writes children’s books that inspire readers to think about the connection between people, place and planet.

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