Using the term, “checklisted childhood,” Julie Lythcott-Haims describes the type of “to-do list” upbringing that’s more harmful than helpful.
Her engaging TED Talk comes from experience as former Dean of Freshman at Stanford University and raising her own daughters. For just over 14 minutes, Julie mourns the loss of free play and childhood chores with both humour and charm. We think every second is worth listening to, and to get you started, below are the highlights.
1:24 – On what a checklisted childhood looks like:
“We tell our kids, don’t just join a club, start a club, because colleges want to see that.”
2:53 – On what it feels like to be a kid in this checklisted childhood:
“It’s as if every piece of homework, every quiz, every activity is a make-or-break moment for this future we have in mind for them.”
6:32 – On the development of self-efficacy:
“They have to do a whole lot more of the thinking, planning, deciding, doing, hoping, coping, trial and error, dreaming and experiencing of life for themselves.”
9:19 – On the importance of chores in childhood:
“We absolve our kids of doing the work of chores around the house, and then they end up as young adults in the workplace still waiting for a checklist.”
10:30 – On unconditional love:
“And then we have to say, “How was your day? What did you like about today?” And when your teenage daughter says, “Lunch,” like mine did, and I want to hear about the math test, not lunch, you have to still take an interest in lunch.”
13:25 – On why kids aren’t like bonsai trees:
“They’re wildflowers of an unknown genus and species and it’s my job to provide them a nourishing environment.”
Tell us what you think of Julie’s powerful speech. Leave your favourite quote in the comments and let us know if there were any other important moments that we missed.