From Flexible Pronouns to Chess, Here Are 7 Trends Gen Alpha Is Definitely Embracing

Elena Popova

Are you a young Gen Xer or a Millennial with kids? Then your children most likely belong to Generation Alpha, the first cohort to be fully of the 21st century.

Alphas were born between 2010 and present day (generation groupings typically span 15 years, so we have a few more to go), and social researcher Mark McCrindle coined the germ to continue the theme of using letters (i.e., Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z), but opting for the Greek Alphabet instead of the Latin one since this generation is “not a return to the old but the start of something new—to signify the new world in which they will be shaped.”

And while they may be the youngest generation, Alphas are already shaping up to be the most inclusive, eager and global one, in no small part due to technological advances, social media trends and world affairs (ahem, that whole global pandemic thing).

But what are these young people into (beyond, you know, Roblox)? We chatted to parents, experts and kids themselves to put our finger on the Gen Alpha pulse. Here, seven trends these kids are most definitely embracing.

1. Mindfulness

Perhaps in response to their eye-rolling Gen X elders, Millennials and Gen Zers have earnestly embraced wellness practices like meditation, yoga and mindfulness. As such, it’s no surprise that Gen Alpha appears to be following suit, with stress relief toys popular in both classrooms and birthday party goody bags and mindfulness tools being taught in schools, not to mention the countless books and guides written on the subject. “My 4-year-old son has been practicing yoga and mindfulness at school for two years,” one parent shared with us. “He’s been doing it longer—and more consistently—than me!”

This goes hand-in-hand with prioritizing mental health. Insights group Cassandra recently released the Gen Alpha: Generation Infinite research report and found that 59 percent of 7 to 12 year olds surveyed agree that mental health is a big issue, and 62 percent say their school should focus more on mental health education than physical education.

Taraneh Arhamsadr is the co-founder of Piper+Enza, a publishing company focused on supporting Generation Alpha kids and families with health and medical experiences, and notes that parents today are especially proactive about their kids' mental wellbeing after seeing increased rates of anxiety and depression stemming from the pandemic. “As a mom, it is very gratifying to hear my Gen Alpha kid and her friends talking openly about therapy,” she says.

2. Gender Neutral Language and Flexible Pronouns

The concept of gender has become more fluid with each generation, and multiple parents of Gen Alphas we spoke to noted that their kids ask for and use people’s preferred pronouns.

While we don’t have a ton of data on this demographic yet (they’re aged 0 to 13, after all), we do know that Gen Z young adults are much more likely to report identifying as either trans or nonbinary than other generations, so it follows that younger kids would do the same. One mom we spoke with said this is definitely the case in her (admittedly progressive) school community: “I know about 10 children who have changed their gender pronouns within the past few years—either switching genders or opting to go by they/them. The other kids are so much less phased by this and have a much better vocabulary for it than their parents. My second grader definitely came home from school one day telling me he was cis!”

3. Climate Anxiety and Action

In Generation Alpha, Mark McCrindle and Ashley Fell note that the theme of environmental consciousness came up numerous times in their research. Again, this is a concept that started with Z and has since trickled down: “According to Amnesty International’s survey of more than 10,000 people aged between eighteen and twenty-five, Gen Z rank climate change as the most important issue of our time, followed by pollution and terrorism,” the authors say.

So what does this look like for America’s school-age children? Well, some are learning about it in the classroom. (New Jersey, for instance, recently mandated climate education in the public school curriculum.) Some are taking political action. (A group of kids as young as 5 in Montana sued their state in 2023, arguing that its pro-fossil fuel policies contribute to climate change and violate the state Constitution.) Additionally, youth-led and -organized movements like #FridaysForFuture and Kids Fight Climate Change pressure policymakers to take action to limit global warming. But it's also, anecdotally, simply on young children’s minds in a way you might not expect. “Last year, my son’s school asked the kids who their heroes were, and Greta Thunberg was in the top five, after mom and Santa,” one parent of a 6-year-old shared with us.

4. Digital Everything

The year 2010 is considered the start of the Alpha demographic. It’s also the year that the iPad was released, Instagram was launched and ‘app’ was deemed ‘Word of the Year’ by the American Dialect Society.

It’s no surprise then that Gen Alpha is a truly digitally native generation (even my 1-year-old daughter knows how to scroll). But it’s interesting to note the immersive ways they’ve adapted to play, learn and interact with technology, whether through AR, AI or voice recognition (“hey Alexa, play Baby Shark again.”)

Aja Chavez, Executive Director of Adolescent Services at Mission Prep, a mental health organization that works with young people, has noticed how pervasive it’s become: “In the realm of pop culture and entertainment, there has been an increasing use of augmented reality experiences. From interactive museum exhibits to AR-enhanced movie trailers, this trend is enhancing user engagement and providing novel and immersive experiences for audiences.” This has extended to schools as well, where, post-Covid, many students are still relying on Zoom rooms, e-books and apps to learn the things we used to sort out with pen and paper.

And here’s some good news for parents: we may not understand all emerging tech (NFT, huh?), but we are much more familiar with technology than our own parents were. Meaning that the knowledge gap between Alpha kids and their parents is less than that of Millennials and Boomers.

5. Time Away from Screens

Yes, yes, we know that we just told you that Gen Alpha is all about technology. But in more good news, they also value time away from screens. (Or at least they’ve internalized this wisdom from the “screen consultants” their parents hire for them.)

“They all learn from an early age that you need to moderate your screen use, and they scold their parents the way we used to scold grownups for smoking. In fact, our school’s Technology classes all start with a lesson on moderating screen time and safe internet use,” one mom-of-two says.

Indeed, all of the parents we spoke to told us that they have some kind of rules and boundaries around screen time (albeit with varying degrees of success). And according a Civic Science, a large percentage of parents practice an enforceable hours per day rule (27 percent), a smaller percentage (17 percent) allow only educational screen time during the week and some parents even eliminate weekday screen time altogether (12 percent).

Of course, the pandemic did see an increase in screen time overall, but McCrindle and his team also predict that Gen Alpha “will want to keep the new hobbies and way of living they adopted during COVID-19 (like board games and cooking) in the future.” He even goes as far as to say that they will value family time more, since it became such a regular part of their lives during the pandemic. Speaking of hobbies…

6. Chess

It’s not just your little emerging Bobby Fischer. Chess for elementary (and younger) kids is everywhere, so much so that it’s becoming a distraction in the classroom. Playing site is seeing record high users, organizations like Chess at 3 are promoting lessons for kids as young as, you guessed it, three and anecdotal evidence suggests a frenzy among youngsters, with many schools offering chess both afterschool and as part of the in-school curriculum. The reason isn’t exactly clear, although one chess instructor we spoke with speculates that it’s because it’s extra accessible for all children (all you need is a board, after all) and hugely popular within online social communities. “It has become a niche fun game that can be incorporated into other games (like chess boxing), and it’s also very popular in streaming communities like Twitch.”  

7. They Expect Diversity

According to the US Census, Gen Alpha will be the most diverse generation in history, and this is shaping their expectations, impacting how they assume classrooms, places of work, movies and TV and celebrities should look.

The best part? Many adult-run platforms are meeting these demands, with shows like ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Thomas and Friends’ adding LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent characters and movies like The Little Mermaid re-envisioning white norms. (Parents’ videos of their Black children seeing the new Ariel went appropriately viral.) Additionally, nonprofits like We Need Diverse Books advocate for children’s literature that better reflects the experiences of all young readers, and have done great work to bring more offerings to historically homogenous school libraries.

“Beyond being the most racially diverse generation, as a result of upbringing and the world of information they can access via technology, Generation Alpha has a heightened awareness and acceptance of diverse people, perspectives and identities. They are more equity-minded and socially conscious than any generation that came before, and I can't wait to see the positive ways they will transform our society when they grow up,” says Arhamsadr.

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...