Around the world, families are changing and evolving. They are defining themselves in new ways, promoting kids’ independence, placing high value on quality time together, and wanting experiences that everyone can enjoy.

Based on our latest research, here are a few ways that marketers and content creators can speak to families with the realness they crave:

Play to the family and provide experiences the whole family can enjoy.

For kids today, family is their bedrock. Globally, kids aged 6 to 11 consider time with family to be their #1 source of happiness. In fact, 6 in 10 say their best friend is someone in their family.

And for parents, time with their kids has twice the emotional importance as time with friends. They want to spend more time with their kids — and they value experiences that strengthen family bonds more than they value material items. Families are consciously and deliberately seeking moments of closeness and intimacy to escape the stress of the real world.

Help parents prepare their kids for the world – and don’t underestimate kids’ influence.

With today’s fast pace of change, parents are less inclined to shield their kids from potential negativity. Three-quarters (74%) believe that children should learn through their own experiences. They’re letting their kids use “big kid” objects, assigning chores, and embracing reasonable dangers (like letting their kids chop food with sharp knives). While formal education remains important, life skills have replaced academic achievement as parents’ dominant emotional priority.  Globally, 72% of parents feel that learning through play is more important than formal learning.

With parents loosening their grip, three-quarters (76%) of global kids describe themselves as “independent.” Being independent makes them feel helpful, valued, trusted, and proud. Kids know that failure is part of learning and they are comfortable with it, with 85% believing that it’s better to try things and risk mistakes than never to try at all.

In kids’ everyday lives, structured and scheduled routines dominate as they take on activities that help them grow. Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) say they use their free time to build new skills. They consider their participation in these activities to be a privilege – an opportunity to broaden their horizons, develop their personalities, build independence, and improve their skills.

It’s also important to keep in mind that kids have a lot of power in their households. They play a key role in the decision-making process and have a voice when it comes to family matters. Seven in 10 parents (70%) told us they always listen to their child’s opinion before making a decision that affects them.

Represent the diversity and the realness of today’s families.

Modern families come in all shapes and sizes – blended, same-sex, multigenerational, single parent, traditional(ish). As family types vary and evolve, the way kids define family is also changing. The word “parent” doesn’t just have to mean “mom” or “dad”; it can apply to any grown-up whom they trust and who cares for them on a regular basis. As well, the definition of “family” has expanded to include all inhabitants of the household. Pets are treated as both family members and confidants, playing a key role in comforting kids when they’re down, energizing them after a long day at school, offering a listening ear for secrets, and simply making them laugh.

Around the world, people are placing a high value on keeping it real. Rather than presenting an idealized vision of family as was done in the past, there is a desire to see families that are both relatable and reflective of the more expansive ways that people define “family” today.