92|Y Wonderplay Conference Focuses on the 21st Century Child and Family
Families today are living fast-paced lives that are increasingly influenced by rapidly changing technological advances. Experts in education, child development, psychology and related fields offered advice at the 92nd Street Y’s Annual Wonderplay Conference to help parents and educators slow down and understand the value of community, collaboration and creativity as they raise children in the 21st century.
“Instead of focusing only on test scores, parents should also be asking themselves, does the child feel connected at home and at school?” said keynote speaker Dr. Edward Hallowell, an adult and child psychiatrist, author and founder of the Hallowell Centers. “Our days are packed with distractions. Families need to work on reconnecting interpersonally.”
The theme of the conference, “Working with the 21st Century Child and Family” was based on the concept that children today are growing up in a world that is heavily influenced by digital devices and increasing demands. It is up to parents and educators to prepare children with the resources they’ll need to thrive as adults. The afternoon portion of the conference included seminars focused on ways to encourage creative thinking, positive social interactions and constructive play.
There are seven essential life skills that every child needs, said Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of Families and Work Institute, a non-profit organization that conducts research on changes in family dynamics and the workplace.
“Children are born with amazing learning capabilities and we need to help them begin developing the skills they’ll need,” said Galinsky, who was also a keynote speaker.
The seven essential life skills Galinsky identified were: focus and self-control, perspective and training, communication, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and being a self-directed and engaged learner.
The best way to teach children these skills is to adopt them ourselves, Galinsky explained.
“It may not be easy, but what better way to teach a child than to show him or her what you mean through examples,” she said.#