These parenting trends can help make a positive impact in your family life in 2018 and beyond.
When I was a full-time career gal with no kids, I looked forward to the month of January more than any other. As exciting as the holidays are, for many it comes with an exhausting price tag, so I always looked forward to the beginning of the year to unwind and just “be.” Not only does January offer a clean slate with which to kick the year off, I also find it a very low-key time of year when there don’t seem to be as many social pressures or commitments from the outside world. It’s like a mini vacation from life.
Now that I’ve been parenting for over two decades the month of January is even more important. It’s a time to let go of what wasn’t working in my role as a mom, and focus on areas that may need a bit of freshening up. Thanks to the fascinating trends that emerge during each New Year, there are some really cool and interesting patterns being tracked that can benefit all areas of life, including parenting.
Here are five influential trends to be on the lookout for this year that can help make a positive impact in your parenting life during 2018.
- Trend #1: Getting Unplugged
- Trend #2: Time Savvy Hacks
- Trend #3: Eco-Friendly Toys
- Trend #4: Making Time to be Selfish
- Trend #5: Encouraging Body Neutrality
Let's explore all in more detail.
Trend #1: Getting Unplugged
When I was pregnant with my first child, I worried how in the heck I’d be able to alert my husband if I went into labor unexpectedly while he was off on a business trip or down the road shopping for my daily dose of pickles and ice cream. This was back in 1994 when cell phones were barely in existence and couples rented pagers from the hospital as a means of communicating to their partner that their water had broke!
Jump ahead two decades and the statistics are staggering. In 2017, the number of smartphone users in the United States was estimated to reach 224.3 million, with the number of smartphone users worldwide forecast to exceed 2 billion users.
Families have become completely dependent (addicted, even) to their phones. It’s rare to glance into a room full of people and not see the majority of them without their cell phone in the palm of their hand or very close, texting, emailing, shopping, or otherwise engrossing themselves in social media. Well, look for that to change a bit in 2018 as more families commit to unplugging and putting their phones away for regular blocks of time throughout the week so they can connect with one another in person.
My kids and I made a list of 20 things we could trade for non-phone time: walk our puppy on the beach, play cribbage and chess, make homemade ice cream, and watch videos of the kids when they were babies, just to name a few. We’re making a pact to carve out regular time every week to stay away from our phones and find more time for each other.
Trend #2: Time Savvy Hacks
One buzzword that hasn’t lost its momentum over the past few years is the word hack. The completely brilliant term “life hack” was coined in 2004 by technology journalist Danny O'Brien to showcase the humorous shortcuts tech professionals used to complete their work. Now we gravitate towards anything that mentions a hack because of the savvy and creative ways we can save time, energy, and money when we take advantage of these clever ideas to make life easier.
Parents will forever be juggling family life, work, running a household, and making time to care for their personal relationships and themselves, so time-saving hacks are more important than ever. 2018 will continue down the path of all things “hacked” so jump on board by discovering ways you can take advantage of some of these great ideas that will benefit your family.
One of my favorite hacks—cook once and double up. Cooking for a family of 10 is beyond daunting, so years ago I acted on a great meal-making hack which was to pick one day of the week to prepare all my meals and double up on a couple of the recipes to freeze for future use. Sunday afternoons are my meal prep day. I prepare about four dishes that will store easily in the fridge so when I get home from work, I pick one and heat it up. By doubling a couple of the recipes I always have “go to” meals in my freezer. The time commitment is well worth the luxury of never having to scurry at dinner time!
Trend #3: Eco-Friendly Toys
Being kind to the environment is a hot trend that’s not going away anytime soon, and in 2018 families will be gravitating to toys of yesteryear such as Lincoln logs, good ol' fashioned wooden blocks, and other eco-friendly play sets that welcome a child to use his/her imagination rather than being glued to a screen.