This year has seen lots of changes and how we parent is no different. It is interesting that data from Facebook suggested as early as the end of last year that Children would tinker more, listen to more audio books, have less screen time and parents would be more conscious about health and the environment and how true that has been for this year.
Parenting has never been easy but modern-day parenting is probably the hardest. With both parents so often working the juggle of trying to balance family and work commitments has become increasingly difficult. Parents today want to be invested in their children and ensure that they have as many opportunities and experiences as possible. Whilst most of us would say that we do not follow trends when it comes to parenting there is always cultural shifts to consider and new ways of thinking when it comes to parenting.
Here are some of the trends that have been popular this year and look to remain so into 2021 based on Facebook IQ
- Self-Care Habits
It seems from conversations that parenting groups have as well as the most searched posts that finding ways to destress, chill out and relax are on the rise, some of the simpler things in life like taking a walk, soaking in the bath or just allowing yourself your guilty pleasure without feeling guilty is something that more and more people have started to embrace. They are realising that to be a good parent you need to take care of yourself as well as your offspring.
- All thing Gender Neutral
Becoming more accepting of the fact that we need to raise balanced and considered young people, who are able to express how they feel and not be pushed into a stereotypical box is becoming high up on the ‘how to be a good parent’ list. Ensuring the next generation are more respectful when it comes to embracing ‘differences’ is an important lesson for them to learn and hopefully this is not just a fad but something that is set to stay.
- Moving away from the Social Media ‘perfect’ Family Shot
We all do it, that quick snap when everyone is smiling, tables laden with goodies or the Christmas tree is heaving under the weight of pressies underneath it. The clink of glasses as we #perfectlife #familytime #lovemylife and we’ve all been on the other end when we see these posts after a day with a sick child, a tantrumming child, no sleep and skin and hair that have not seen a decent shower or clean for days and it makes us feel rubbish parents, envious that our lives are just not this good, guilty that somehow other people manage to pull it together and keep everyone happy. But things are moving slowly in a better direction and the more popular posts are those were people are honest about how they ‘feel’ they are failing at parenting. If you do struggle with the FOMO (fear of missing out) maybe take a breather from social media and concentrate on the positives in your family life.
- Making anxiety normal
Not too many years ago parents were made to feel like their child was just difficult when they struggled with school and home life, they were told to just get on with it, they would grow out of it etc. But School stress is real and mental health is real and people are now beginning to talk openly about it and whilst it in no ways undermines those that struggle every day, by normalising it and encouraging people to speak out publicly about their own difficulties or their children’s struggles it can help to take some of the fear and distress away.
- Hands on Approach
The Facebook report also predicted that there would be a move towards a hands-on approach when it came to creativity and education. Baring in mind that this was predicted last year it is amazing how true this has become. Technology is becoming more readily available and affordable and people are embracing the old and new ways of learning and making things. Using computers to research ideas and methods and then reproducing tie dyed t-shirts, printing magazines, knitting, sewing and so much more have become popular again. Learning about family history has helped children embrace the past and take an interest in subjects that in school they have simply found boring and staid. Being able to home educate our children has opened whole new worlds to them and maybe we did not follow the curriculum exactly, but they were still learning and for once actually enjoying it!
- Embracing our flaws
This goes back to those perfect images on social media, the Mum who is back on her size 8 jeans the day after giving birth to twins, the mum who photographs her well groomed self with the #bedhair #feelingblur so that people respond with uplifting and gushing comments. Most of us barely find the time to put a brush through our hair and #bedhair is more likely to be #everydayhair but more and more people are being open and honest about their body issues and accepting that we are all individuals and whilst getting back into shape and looking good maybe something we want to achieve we also realise that how we look doesn’t reflect on how we parent. Mums and Dads are becoming much more confident in their parenting skills and excepting of the bodies and looks we have, and this can only be a healthy image to present to our children too. 2020, it is all about instilling positivity, uplifting each other, and seeing the beautiful even in imperfections.
- Environmental consciousness
Saving the Planet is definitely at the fore front of purchases made these days and we are all making a much more conscious effort to reduce our waste, whether we are recycling clothes or buying eco friendly baby products we are definitely making sure that we are helping towards a better world for our offspring and future generations. By doing this we are being role models to our children, and they learn from this.
- Less screen time, more audiobooks
We are all guilty of spending too much time on our laptops, phones, TV’s etc but we are also very aware that this is not a good thing and not healthy for our children. There are times when we need them to sit quietly and this is where audio books are a great alternative! Audiobooks are said to also help in developing crucial listening and concentration, which are important skills to have. It also allows kids to multitask while they engage in other activities.
- Health at the forefront
The last few years have seen a huge change in the way we look at our children’s health and wellbeing, we are becoming much more aware of what is healthy and what is not, and whilst we all know that the occasional pizza or chicken nugget dinner is not going to do any harm we also realise that ensuring a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg is linked to long term good health and that the way we eat can have an effect on brain development too. We also know that exercise and mindfulness is good for not only us but our children too, again the role model effect of seeing us exercise and take time for ourselves will help them develop their own healthy attitude to fitness and wellbeing. Home cooked meals, home baking and long walks have all become popular activities due to lock down this year and for many this is definitely something that we are planning on keeping up for the foreseeable future.
So, all in all being a parent is changing and this year has made many of us realise that we need to alter our lives, that we need to take time out as individuals and as families and enjoy life. Teaching our children to find a good work / play / life balance is what we should be doing and maybe they next generation of parents will be more relaxed, less anxious and have less stressful lives.