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10 Things Today’s Kids Do (That Their Parents Didn’t)

Photo by Kate Daigneault / Stocksy United / 720174
Photo by Kate Daigneault / Stocksy United

Some things about growing up will never change. Teething, potty-training, bed-jumping: These have long been rites of passage for any big kid in the making.

Yet there are things that set today’s young’uns apart: From yoga classes to playing with apps, the daily life of young children today reflects the current times.  

Here are 10 things today’s children do that would have baffled their grandparents (and even their moms and dads):

1. Downward-facing dog.

It’s becoming more and more evident that in today’s modern world, kids are stressed out right along with adults—and that’s led to the usage of more and more relaxation practices. In 2012, a study showed that 1.9 million American children are doing mind-body practices like yoga to ease stress—and the numbers are likely growing every day, with the increase of yoga in schools and mama-daughter yoga celebrities on Instagram.

2. Have the answer to anything, instantly.

“Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs pant? Why are sunflowers so tall?” Once upon a time, kids would have to ask a parent, teacher, or librarian to find the answer to a perplexing question. These days, more and more kids know how to Google their questions—or even ask Siri! To aid the search for knowledge, kid-friendly search engines like Kiddle are popping up to make instant information even easier for young minds to access.

3. Watch movies without needing to leave the house. 

Remember renting videos from actual brick-and-mortar stores? Today’s kids certainly don’t. According to Nielsen, 40 percent of American households now subscribe to on-demand streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.

Photo by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy United / 775093
Photo by BonninStudio / Stocksy United

4. Play games on a personal touch screen. 

Now, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2015, nearly 97 percent of children have used mobile devices to keep themselves entertained—and most started using them before their first birthday. Whoa.

5. Spend less time outdoors. 

While, yes, all of the latest technology mentioned previously opens new worlds up to kids, they are now spending less time outside playing. But playing outside has huge benefits for kids: They’re less likely to be overweight, aggressive, or depressed, and are more likely to play creatively and have better concentration and attention.

KinderCare child eating healthy lunch

6. Have access to healthier school lunches. 

It’s true, obesity rates and high sodium intake are still rising—but we are becoming more aware of how problematic this is. As a result, many schools are now changing their menus to keep the next generation as healthy as possible. According to the National Institutes of Health, school lunches are getting healthier and healthier, with more fruits and vegetables.

7. Have Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. 

Once upon a time, Pin the Tail on the Donkey was a major party starter at kid parties. No more. Thanks to Pinterest and its endless repository of ridiculously cute party ideas, parents can throw the coolest DIY birthday parties. Granted, not all of us are motivated to get SO crafty. But that’s what Pump it Up and other tricked-out kid-friendly play spaces are for (which also didn’t exist when today’s parents were kids).

8. See all of their baby and toddler pictures in one place: Facebook. 

Good-bye, baby books. Hello, scrolling. Thanks to social media networks, our children’s lives are documented in perpetuity in the digital realm. According to Nominet, the average parent will post almost 1,000 photos of his or her child online before she turns 5!

9. Learn to ride bikes without training wheels. 

The rise of pedal-less balance bikes has nearly eliminated trikes and training wheels in the early rider set. Invented in Germany in the late 1990s, balance bikes help kids who are toddler age (or younger!) learn important riding skills like weight distribution and overcoming the fear of two wheels.

10. Have super-engaged super-moms.  

According to Scarborough Research, some 14 percent of American moms use Internet blogs to share their experiences, recipes, and playtime ideas. Today’s kids are more likely to have a parent who can whip up a batch of DIY play dough, rattle off six ideas for a healthy mid-week dinner, or have five ideas to stave off kid boredom. (Boredom, we should note, is also a rite of passage.)

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