5 Popular Parenting Trends for 2020

The world our children live in is always evolving. That means that we parents have to evolve, too. Here are five parenting trends to get you on your way.

Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #562

If you like to keep up with the latest trends, have a look at these parenting movements for the new year and see what resonates with you. 2020 is shaping up to be a wonderful year for creativity, acceptance, and raising intelligent, emotionally healthy kids.

1. Parents make a move for less screen time

Today’s kids are being raised in a digital world. While living in high-tech times has plenty of benefits, parents struggle to find a healthy balance when managing family screen time.

A 2017 study revealed that:

  • Kids ages 0 to 8 living in the US used screen media 2 hours and 19 minutes per day on average.
  • The trend increases as children get older. Kids under age 2 spent about 42 minutes on screen time, but by the time they reached ages 5 to 8 kids were spending nearly 3 hours in front of a screen.
  • Nearly all kids ages 0 to 8 (98 percent) lived in homes with access to a mobile device.

Teens spend staggering 7-plus hours a day on their devices!

RELATED: Screen Time for Kids: 3 Questions You Should Be Asking

An interesting 2020 trend is shifting our kids’ screen time from social media and video games to the entertaining and educational world of audiobooks. This platform keeps kids in the digital world they know and love while allowing them to learn something new. Audiobooks continue to grow in popularity and can foster good listening skills.

Make this 2020 parenting trend your own

Audiobooks are a fun way for kids to spend time during car rides. They're also a wonderful tool for busy kids wanting to read more, or for those who may not enjoy reading or have learning disabilities.

Local libraries offer hundreds of free titles for children. Here are six more places to find free audiobooks.

2. Thrift stores are hot

Hands down, two of the biggest expenses in our household are groceries and clothing. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the average family spends $1,800 per year on clothing. Most financial experts recommend allocating about 5 percent of your budget to wardrobe and accessories.

It still blows my mind that an average pair of brand name sneakers my child might grow out of in three months can cost $100.

Keeping in style can be a huge source of pressure for kids, particularly tweens and teens. It still blows my mind that an average pair of brand name sneakers my child might grow out of in three months can cost $100. That makes me grateful for this money-saving trend—thrift store shopping.

My 14-year old daughter and I decided to see if second-hand styles were really worth the hype. We were amazed at what we found! Not only were the pieces in excellent condition, but many were brand new items that had never been worn. She walked away with nearly $200 worth of top labels for less than $40.

The great prices weren't the only attraction. The three local thrift stores we shopped were boutique-like with beautifully arranged merchandise. The owners were personable and helped us find specific designers and styles.

Make this 2020 parenting trend your own

If you’re new to the world of thrift store shopping, make a fun day of window shopping. Search out area second-hand shops and find a yummy place to stop and have lunch.

Doing some window shopping, with no plans to make purchases, will help you get a feel for the various stores and the merchandise they tend to carry. You won’t feel obligated to purchase anything—you’re just looking. Once you've picked out your favorite stores, you can make a day of buying your family some gently-used threads.

And don’t forget online thrift stores! Thredup has some amazing finds.

3. Discipline without physical punishment

If you want to hit a nerve with a group of parents, ask their opinions on spanking. You're sure to get a heated discussion from both perspectives. But 2020 brings a global trend toward ending corporal punishment for children.

Around the globe, parents are finding alternatives to spanking.

Around the globe, parents are finding alternatives to spanking. Sweden was the first country in the world to ban spanking and all other forms of corporal punishment in 1979. Since then, over 50 countries and states worldwide have followed suit and many others have committed to making reforms.

RELATED: 5 Ways Positive Discipline Makes Parenting Easier

Make this 2020 parenting trend your own

My episode, 5 Smart and Effective Ways to Discipline Your Child, offers suggestions for different ways to make sure your kids understand that their actions have consequences.

One of my favorites is “add rather than take away.” When your child breaks a rule, instead of taking something away, like a privilege or a favorite possession, add things like extra chores into his schedule. Being tasked with cleaning out the garage for two weekends can be the sort of penalty that will help your child make a course correction in a hurry. Bonus: You get a clean garage!

Revisit your own discipline strategies and do some soul searching. What's been the most effective? Make a plan to do more of the same. What hasn't worked? Consider ways to change things up.

4. Homeschooling is on the rise

Parents who homeschool are passionate about their decision to educate their kids in their home environment. The National Home Education Research Institute reports there are about 2.5 million homeschool students in grades K-12 in the United States. As we enter the new decade, this number is predicted to rise.

Parents who homeschool tout the following benefits.

  • It offers a more positive learning environment free from stressors like peer pressure and bullying.
  • Parents can optimize learning plans for their children's learning styles.
  • Changes in laws, attitudes, and available resources make homeschooling easier for today’s families.
  • There's less time wasted on things like traveling to and from school.
  • Lesson plans can have more variety and creativity, which results in less boredom for students.
  • Children benefit from their parents' deep involvement in their education.

Although homeschooling may not be the right fit for everyone, many children have seen significant improvement in their grades and attitudes through a homeschooling program.

Make this 2020 parenting trend your own

Get to know a family who homeschools their kids. Perhaps you can collaborate with them on an educational excursion. You'll glean helpful information from one another regardless of your individual approaches to education.

5. Parents and society will be more accepting of anxious kids

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not a surprise that more than 1 in 20 US children and teens struggles with anxiety or depression. If you’re raising an anxious child like I am, you that trying to keep their stress levels at a minimum is a delicate balancing act. Daily interactions with teachers and peer groups, attending doctor appointments, and even being in a busy shopping environment can be difficult for an anxious child.

In this new decade, the trend leans toward being more open about mental health issues, which helps remove the stigma.

Many parents (myself included) tend to protect their anxious children from judgment. We do our best to prevent others from seeing our child's emotional and physical struggles. But in this new decade, the trend leans toward being more open about mental health issues, which helps remove the stigma.

I like a tip offered by QDT's former Savvy Psychologist host, Dr. Ellen Hendriksen— teach your child to "talk back to their anxieties." This anxiety buster has been very successful for my 22-year-old daughter. If your child is old enough to have a mobile phone, Ellen recommends they jot down some ready-made pep talks in their notes section.

  • "I can deal with whatever happens."
  • "It's okay to make mistakes."
  • "I'm stronger than my worries."

When an anxious moment arrives, the note is a friendly reminder that “this too shall pass.” It gives your child an opportunity to regroup and carry on with their day.

Make this 2020 parenting trend your own

Find books that offer actionable tools that can help your child work through his anxiety. Two suggestions are The Worry Workbook for Kids: Helping Children to Overcome Anxiety and the Fear of Uncertainty by Muniya S. Khanna Ph.D. and Deborah Roth Ledley Ph.D., and Just Feel: How to Be Stronger, Happier, Healthier, and More by Mallika Chopra.

RELATED: Mallika Chopra's Best Advice to Help Kids Manage Their Feelings

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.