The world is smaller – and perhaps kinder – than we may think. At least that’s according to a new study released by Fisher-Price International, which surveyed global attitudes and approaches to early childhood development with the help of 3,500 new and soon-to-be moms across seven countries.
The Moms’ Hopes & Wishes Study, conducted by Illuminas Global on behalf of the Mattel-owned preschool brand, indicate more similarities than differences in terms of global child rearing beliefs, the most notable one being that the majority of Millennial parents want a balance between intellectual and emotional intelligence as they help their kids grow.
While parents understand the importance of traditional IQ when it comes to thinking analytically, there is a widespread belief among those surveyed that kids with high emotional intelligence have an easier time making friends and are more likely to be successful in school and at work, according to survey consultant Sara Harkness, professor and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Health and Human Development at the University of Connecticut.
Among the moms surveyed, 62% strongly agree that play helps children learn to interact with others, and 56% say that play helps them learn how the world works. The majority (65%) strongly agreed every baby grows and develops at his or her own pace, and 61% believe that moms play a strong role in preparing their child for school.
Still, cultural differences are expected. When asked about characteristics that are important for their child to have, Chinese moms in the survey value grit/tenacity, Brazilian moms say environmental awareness and Russian moms choose athleticism. Another question asked moms what level of agreement they had with the idea that development begins at birth (59% believe that to be true), with the highest level of agreement coming from Russia, France and the UK.
Roughly half of moms surveyed feel it’s important to push children to reach their full potential and for their kids to reach milestones quickly and ahead of others. This is especially prevalent in Brazil and Mexico, followed by China. Access to education is the number one answer across all countries when asked about what made moms feel optimistc, even above considerations like safety in the community, clean water, access to affordable healthcare and “my ability to provide.”
In terms of directing this information into new messaging, Fisher-Price plans to engage its 3.2 million Facebook followers in a four-week global conversation, which began this week. Questions from the survey will be fielded to the community for responses on a weekly basis. A microsite featuring a summary of the global study, as well as country-specific data and articles, is also part of the campaign.