Five generations are active in today’s economy, and that has led to increasing complexity in communications among these cohorts, with particular challenges among the various generations of parents and caregivers in schools and PTAs.
In a recent episode of the Multipurpose Room podcast, “Learn to Speak Millennial, Gen X, and iGen,” special guest, Dillon Kalkhurst, a well-known speaker and author on communicating to multiple generations, shares his experience and tips on how to best communicate among the generations.
First, let’s outline each. Generations are defined by birth year, not age, because people get older and enter different stages of life but remain of the same generation. Here’s the breakdown:
1. Baby Boomers: born between 1946 and 1964. They are currently between 56-74 years old, and there’s 71.6 million in U.S.
2. Gen X: born between 1965 and 1979/80. They are currently between 40-55 years old, and there are 65.2 million in U.S.
3. Millennials (or Gen Y): born between 1981 and 1996ish. They are currently between 24-39 years old, and there are 72.1 million in the U.S. Millennials are divided into two groups:
Gen Y.1: 25-29 years old (around 31 million in U.S.)
Gen Y.2: 29-39 years old (around 42 million in U.S.)
4. Gen Z: born between 1997 and 2012/15. They are currently between 8-23 years old. There’s nearly 68 million in U.S. but are on target to become the largest generation in the world.
iGen is outnumbering both Millennials and Baby Boomers
K-12 parents and caregivers in the first three generations are struggling to communicate with iGens, 74 million young Americans born between 1995 and 2012 who have been labeled the “internet generation.” They’ve grown up with technology since birth, never knowing life without the internet, and are making up the largest generation.
With parent and PTA membership bodies made up of three generations, and sometimes up to five, a one-sized fits all communication strategy is not effective.
Best way for schools and PTAs to communicate across generations
Baby Boomers love face-to-face personal communications through phone calls. Have you texted a Baby Boomer only to have them immediately call you? And they are accustomed to printed communication sent home via the backpack.
The Gen X generation loves email, Facebook, and texting. Millennials span a larger age group. Older millennials love Facebook, messenger, and getting quick texts and shares. Younger millennials and Gen Z are all about apps – Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.
So, whether your PTA or school is looking for volunteers for a specific activity, donations of money or supplies, or something else, use all communication methods to reach across the generations in your school community. Many want to help, but you need to reach them first.
For more, listen to this packed episode here.
About Multipurpose Room Podcast
Multipurpose Room podcast, supported by SquadLocker, is hosted by strategic partner K-12 Clothing, a PTA-Dad created business that provides high-quality school apparel while increasing access to educational resources through fundraising in schools. The Multipurpose Room provides real-life issues that PTAs, PTOs, and school staff are dealing with and offers practical tips.
SquadLocker supports schools by managing the entire process of acquiring custom school uniforms, sports gear, and spirit wear – from instant online store creation to free graphic artwork assistance as well as decoration, production, and fulfilment. Learn more at https://www.squadlocker.com/solutions/schools.
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