Girl, 7, goes viral over tough lesson to adults on parenting

·3-min read

They say that often children teach their parents lessons, and a seven-year-old girl is certainly proving just that.

Queenslander Molly Wright has become one of the youngest people ever to deliver a TED talk, with her stirring speech encouraging parents how to play with their children, rather than relying on digital devices.

The talk, titled "How every child can thrive by five" discusses how interacting with children even before they are born can mould their futures.

A screenshot of Molly Wright from her TED talk titled
Seven-year-old Molly Wright has gone viral after her stirring speech about how parents can mould the future of their children. Source: TED

The tiny TED talker, who spoke without a teleprompter or notes, explained her speech was about some "powerful things" adults can do to shape children into the adults they become.

"How do I know?" she asks the rapt audience. "Because my parents and the people around me did them, early and often." 

Listing connecting, talking, playing, a happy home and community as the five main tips to helping a child's development, the seven-year-old says that children's brains grow fastest in their early years but can't do so without their parent's help.

A screenshot from Molly Wright's TED talk showing her in front of th TED sign with her neighbour, baby Ari who she talked about in her talk.
Molly urged parents to put down the devices and play with their children. Source: TED

"Games like peek-a-boo — yes peek-a-boo — actually build memory and trust," she reveals. 

"Each time you talk to us, play with us, make us laugh, it not only builds and strengthens our relationships and mental health but it actually teaches us some of the most important life skills, from making friends to taking a test, to getting a job, to maybe even one day starting a family of our own."

"Interactions, early and often, matter," she urges the audience. "Take it from me, the seven-year-old up here talking about brain science."

Kids seek meaningful connections from a young age

To explain to the audience why interacting with children is so important, she showed an example of a father distracted by his iPad and ignoring his one-year-old, who was trying to get his attention, eventually leading to him crying.

Kids are hardwired to seek out meaningful connections and not receiving them causes confusion and stress,” she explains.

"Now imagine if a whole childhood was like those last 30 seconds, how hard it would be for a child to feel calm, feel safe, to learn to trust anyone and the lifelong impact that would have," she pointed out.

Urging adults to "serve and return", which according to Molly is a "fancy grown-up" way of connecting, talking, and playing with children, adding that simple games like peek-a-boo can change the development of a child. 

"Every moment together is an opportunity to connect, talk and play," she said.

Thrive by Five campaign

Molly is the new young spokesperson of the “Thrive by Five” campaign, set up by Andrew “Twiggy” and Nicola Forrest as a part of their philanthropic Mindaroo Foundation. 

The foundation aims to "improve the lives of Australians" through tackling "the tough and systemic issues that require leadership and change", with the campaign hoping to raise the quality of early childhood centres. 

Molly's talk has almost 490,000 views and will be shown in 1400 doctor's waiting rooms across Australia, as well as being shown in maternity wards in Australia and Afghanistan, with UNICEF will support global distribution of the film.

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