This speech and language pathologist at a school is telling parents to stop forcing Gen Alpha kids to grow up before their time and let them play more with toys.
Kids grow up quicker than you think, especially Gen Alpha, who are born right in the middle of this technologically developed society. The current generation hardly plays with old-school toys and prefers to stick to modern gadgets instead. But this does not particularly concern the children or infants. A mom and speech-language pathologist, Alexis Lazarus—who goes by @practicallyspeeching on TikTok—is bringing people's attention to a topic that hardly anyone speaks about. It involves tweens and what they are supposed to play with.
"There are going to be some pissed-off parents in the comments, I'm sure," she wrote in the caption of her viral video. She focuses on how fast kids are growing up. And the ones who have reached 3rd grade have already stopped playing with their toys and are more inclined towards "adult" interests. "As a mom and school SLP, I am unsure when third, fourth, and fifth grade became sixth, seventh, and eighth grade," Lazarus shares her concern. "But rest assured, your eight-year-old should still be playing with toys. It's okay. And as parents, we should be encouraging them to play with toys. Stop forcing these kids to grow up so quickly."
Lazarus adds that she understands the massive load of expectations put on kids these days and is in the midst of a society buzzing with social influencing culture and smartphones. However, she still wants the tweens to continue playing with toys and their parents should not burden them unnecessarily. "And I realize that kindergarten is now the new second grade, and that's a whole other ball of wax, but we need to be playing. You don't need to be acting twelve when you are nine," she concluded.
The TikTok audience had a lot to say about this and parents on the platform jumped in to share their thoughts on raising a kid in this era. @michellencleaveland recalled, "I played Barbie's until I was 12. All my friends were moving on and I just wanted to keep playing." @arg7443 agreed and wrote, "School psych here- 100% agree. I have kindergarteners telling me that Barbies are for babies." @genafitzgib questioned, "I don't understand why we push play-based learning until PreK and then once they hit kindergarten, we never let them play again."
Lazarus answered this question and wrote, "Yep! We are play-based in speech as much as possible and the kids thrive. The demand is different, so the behaviors are minimal and we make progress because it's hands-on. Play = learning." @llynnhl commented, "Amen!! First-grade teacher whose principal let us bring back an hour of free play at the end of the day the past few years and it's been the most needed thing and done wonders for our school." @courtneyreyes89 quipped, "No phones, tablets, or gaming systems for my kids. My son is 8 and still plays outside and with toys. The school social worker said he's probably the only one in his grade that does this."
On the other hand, a teacher expressed her concerns about the way Gen Alpha kids are behaving in their classes these days. Teresa Kay Newman—who goes by @teresakayenewman on TikTok—shared her thoughts on how they need to do better not to stay behind concerning emotional, mental, and academic growth. "Every time I make a video about these topics, I'll get people that have never worked with kids or have never spent a day in the classroom as an educator to give me lines like, 'Well, you're just old and jaded if you don't like it,'" Newman said in her video.
She explained how these kids have always been like this and blaming it on the pandemic isn't the best thing to do. She also clarifies that she is talking about the special population of kids and not about any children with special needs. She mentions that all teachers, whether amateurs or veterans have the same opinion on Gen Alpha. "Your children are missing the mark on discipline. They're missing the mark on education standards. They're missing the mark on literacy. They're missing the mark on socialization," she added.