Ananta Goyal recaps some of the biggest parenting trends from 2017, and reviews how far we’ve come as parents, caregivers, and in a way, unwitting influencers. As featured in Mother & Baby (India) Magazine.
The beginning of the calendar year is a time to mark parenting milestones that set the stage and become the norm for the new year. Parenting today is a far cry from its primitive version of being the sole responsibility of the primary caregiver – the mother. Millennial parents favour co-parenting and progressively, the concept of stay at home dads as new age ways to raise children.
Let’s recap some of the trend setting parenting moments that took off in 2017.
Hashtag pink revolution on social media and your feed will be abuzz with boys playing with kitchen sets, serving tea to their dolls and baking cookies with their mothers. A ground-breaking movement that breaks gender stereotypes, allows children to play as they choose and not be groomed to fit an idealistic prototype.
Mothers are getting wise about the harmful effects of refined sugar and limiting its intake. This is intelligently getting substituted with dried fruit, organic jaggery, pure maple syrup and honey to enjoy a sweet treat without comprising on health. Baked goodies, cakes and treats which are gluten and refined sugar free, are favoured by the discerning mother. On the go snacking is becoming a bigger part of kids’ diet. With parents trying to juggle it all, stocking up on snacks on the go has become a trend. Convenient and healthy snacks like oat and nuts cereal bars and cookies, munchies like jowar puff and lotus seeds are well stocked in the pantry. Parents are willing to spend a premium for good quality, hygienically prepared and convenient food options.
Journey Down Memory Lane
The past year has seen parents take a cue from the way they were bought up. Think no screen time, lots of outdoor play and unstructured free play. Says Rita Bajaj, a teacher at a prestigious Mumbai preschool “free play is the base for developing a child’s potential. They learn to use their imagination, take decisions and be independent when we allow them independent free play time”. Another mother notes that her child seemed to become lazy and uninterested when she spent a significant amount of time in front of the screen. She elaborates “Kiara would switch on the telly the minute she got bored. She threw a fit when she was asked to switch it off and go outside to play. That is when I realised that things needed to change.”
Millennial dads take an active role in parenting. From accompanying mommy to prenatal doctor visits to baby wearing in a grocery store, fathers are forging a more intimate and less hierarchical relationship with their children. They spend time online to read up on parenting and proudly associate their role as a parent as a strong part of their social identity. Progressive organisations such as Facebook are now offering paid paternity leave for fathers. Shares Neev Shah, father to one-year old baby girl Aanya “From the time Aanya was born, I made a conscious decision to be involved in her upbringing. I can bathe, diaper change and feed her. It’s an amazing responsibility.”
Unlike the helicopter parenting of the 90s when the primary care giver was omnipresent and hyper involved, todays millennials prefer to structure their life in a way that allows them to retain their individuality while at the same time caring and being involved as a parent. They realise that children need a lot of attention and love to flourish. Being in close and constant proximity with loved ones does wonders for their self-esteem. Restructuring their work schedules and coming up with ingenious ways to fit that essential family time, parents are becoming more particular to be involved in their little one’s life.
The Rise of the Nanny
With the nuclear set up for vast number of modern day families, hiring competent help to raise children is common. With hectic work and travel schedules, parents are shelling out top rupee for well trained, educated and efficient nannies. In the well-heeled society, hiring nannies from abroad who sometimes hold degrees in early child care is also starting out as a trend.
Thank the rise in disposable income levels and flourishing brands for kid’s interiors for this. Whether you are pregnant and designing a beautiful nursery in the woodland theme to welcome your baby or a mother of child making space to fit the needs of your growing child, all this is now done by field specialists who will maximise your space and match your theme to it.
Millennial parents are turning a new chapter in parenting. They are eager to learn about parenting tactics and practices to do a better job in raising their child. Armed with unprecedented amounts of information, connecting with friends who are parents and benefiting from the guidance of their own parents, they are taking a smart approach of striking the right balance between being involved and the letting go approach. Here’s hoping the new year brings with a flurry of changes to suit the evolved parenting needs of a privileged generation.