A History of Listening to Kids

Highlights has always valued what kids think and have to say, and we regularly engage with kids in authentic dialogue, whether it be through Dear Highlights letters or our annual State of the Kid survey.  Listening to kids informs our work and supports our mission to help kids become their best selves. The State of the Kid survey gives kids a national platform on which to speak and share their thoughts and opinions on topics relevant at the time.  

2017
2017

Kindness

Kindness and empathy were the themes of our 2017 survey. When asked “What do you think is most important to your parents, that you’re happy, do well in school, or are kind?” 44% responded “that I’m happy,” 33% answered “that I do well in school,” and only 23% said “that I’m kind.” We asked if it’s ever OK to be mean, with most kids agreeing that it’s never OK. They acknowledged that both kindness and honesty are important, but it’s more important to be honest.

2016
2016

The Election

Since 2016 was an election year, our questions focused on the presidential race. We learned that a majority of kids talked about the election at home with their family, and kids wanted the newly elected President to focus on “keeping our country safe.” Surprisingly, 65% of respondents said they would not want to run for President due to the high pressure of the job. And who wouldn’t consider repainting the White House? Thirty-six percent kids said they would want to paint it blue!

2015
2015

Discipline, Indulgence, and Competition

Behavioral topics like discipline, indulgence, and competition were the topics of the 2015 survey. Most kids agreed that discipline helps improve their behavior because it helps them determine right from wrong. When kids want to indulge themselves, about a third admitted they beg their parents for the special treat! But when it comes to competition, they mean business—most older kids (54%) said only winners should get trophies and awards, whereas younger kids (64%) said everyone should get recognized.

2014
2014

Parental Distraction

This year the main focus was on parental distraction but we also asked some questions about school and stress. Sixty-two percent of kids told us that their parents are preoccupied, mainly with cell phones. When asked what would happen if their parents lost their phone, one child said, “Wow, I can’t imagine. Probably Mommy would go nuts looking for it . . . ” 

2013
2013

Patriotism

Kids answered questions about patriotism in our fifth survey. When asked if their home country is the best, 77.9% responded with a positive “Yes!” Kids also stated that freedom was the best thing about living in the U.S., and most felt that it’s safer to be a kid today than when their parents were little. 

2012
2012

Inclusiveness

For our fourth survey, we asked kids to share their thoughts on inclusiveness. We learned that 88.6% of kids have a friend who is a different race or religion. Kids’ best advice on how to be friends with people who are different from them? Be nice and say “Hi!”

2011
2011

Bullying

This year, we wanted to dive into the more serious topics of how kids view and interact with others, including the impact of bullying. Sixty percent of kids said they had been bullied in the past; 55% said they’d tell a teacher or another adult if they saw bullying.

2010
2010

Family Life and the Future

Our second annual survey focused on family life and the future. We learned that 60% of kids get an allowance, 9:00 P.M. is the most popular bedtime, and playtime is best spent with their parents! Our respondents shared fun ideas about the future—27% thought we’ll have new inventions like special cars, and 36% planned to travel to outer space!

2009
2009

Inaugural Survey

This was the first year of our State of the Kid survey! Our questions ranged from chores and time management to people kids admire and respect in their lives. We asked thought-provoking questions like, “If you had 5 minutes to talk to our new President, what would you tell him?” And our favorite in-depth response: “We need to change school hours to 9 A.M. so I don’t have to get up early.”