From gender-neutral *everything* and normalizing anxiety to environmentally conscious kids and woke parents, here’s what to expect more of in 2020.
Parenting next year may look a bit different than 2019, thanks to these societal trends that are set to impact parents. Some are new, while some are older but growing in popularity or acceptance. Here are the trends we think will affect parents in 2020.
- Gender-neutral everything
In a world that is starting to shift from the gender binary, do we really need to still enforce stereotypes on babies, kids and—worst of all—fetuses? Parents are starting to move away from gendered toys, clothing, pronouns, names—not to mention dramatic (and dangerous) gender-reveal announcements. Part of embracing this movement includes talking to even young kids about gender identity and everything from gender fluidity, to what it means to be gay or transgender.
- Environmental consciousness
“Children understand the urgency of the climate change crisis—sometimes faster than adults,” writes Jason McBride in Today’s Parent. From taking part in local activism to connecting with nature or adopting a plant-based diet, parents in 2020 will help turn climate despair into action.
- Tuning out mommy Instagram culture
While having an online community of other parents going through the trenches at the same time can be life-saving in many ways, sometimes that endless scroll is just too much to handle. Whether it’s because you find social media too distracting, invasive, narcissistic or FOMO-inducing, many parents are deciding to tune out the “mamasphere” (or at least take a break from it).
- Education cuts
Canadian provinces such as Ontario and Alberta are facing education cuts in all levels of schooling and that is inspiring many parents and students to speak up and fight for the rights to public education. For example, this mom says the cuts have helped her to teach her 14-year-old son to become an activist.
- Homeschooling and unschooling
Dissatisfaction with the public system is just one of the reasons Canada is seeing the homeschooling (and unschooling) movement continue to grow across the country. While some people call it radical, parents willing to do it say there are many ways that homeschooling benefits kids creatively and academically.
- Vaping crackdown
Vaping and vaping-related illnesses have become big headline grabbers in Canada in 2019 as the trend is dangerously rising among youth. The good news is that stricter government policies are starting to emerge to curb vaping products, such as Nova Scotia’s move to ban any kind of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices by April 2020.
- Normalizing anxiety
With more and more parents and children feeling anxious these days, we’re also seeing less stigma about anxiety and more openness about how people cope with mental health issues. Take for example kids’ graphic novelist Raina Telgemeir, whose bestselling book Guts tackles things such as fourth-grade politics, phobias, panic attacks and therapy for a tween audience.
- Acknowledging societal injustice
Being awoken or alert to injustices—especially racism and discrimination—will continue to be a parenting mantra in 2020 and the new decade. We will keep having hard conversations about everything from anti-Black sentiment in schools, to the possible harms of cultural appropriation (whether it’s buying a play teepee or dressing your white kid as Moana) to looking at the unconscious prejudice in the table manners we teach.
- Being the boss
Of all the parenting philosophies we’re embracing in 2020, being the boss in the parent-child relationship is high on the list. If your kid seems more defiant and demanding than ever, you’re not alone. Many psychologists and child development experts insist that parents have to start growing up and taking the lead. Here are eight loving ways to show your kid you’re the boss.
- Validating the right way
We know that validating kids’ feelings is one of the most important ways to connect with them and to help them recognize their own emotions during a meltdown, but why doesn’t it always make them feel better? It turns out that this one word we use may be the culprit. Here’s to getting rid of old habits in the new year and showing kids we’re really listening to what they’re trying to tell us.
- Home births
A greater number of Canadian women than ever are choosing midwives as their primary care providers during pregnancy—especially in British Columbia and Ontario—and that means we’ll likely be seeing more births happen at home and at birthing centres. Still, there are a lot of myths about home-birthing, so knowing the facts will help you decide if it’s right for you.
- Easier pumping
It’s a universal truth known to parents that pumping is a serious pain that’s needed more innovating for a long time. Thankfully we’re finally getting some gadgets that save the day, not to mention that hard-earned liquid gold, with products such as milk-savers, wireless and wearable breast-pumps and even private lactation pods in public spaces such as airports, stadiums and malls.
- Embracing postpartum bods
The body positivity movement is finally reaching new moms in a big way and we are so here for it. Thanks to hashtags such as #this_is_postpartum and #everywomanisanangel, powerful images like these are normalizing postpartum bodies, while making us feel inspired and more beautiful every day.
- Parent-friendly workplaces
While the trend of actually taking baby to work is more visible in the United States (due to pretty terrible parental leave policies), Canadian parents are also pushing for more flexibility and understanding from their employers—and for good reason. You’ll never meet a more loyal employee than a working mom with a good boss. Other 2020 trends in parenting we fully support? Child-friendly coworking spaces and a rise of stay-at-home dads.
- Asking Google/Siri/Alexa
In some ways, parenting has never been easier. For better or worse, instead of your kid asking you “why?” approximately 237 times a day, they can now just ask the nice lady inside the computer. But honestly, some of kids’ questions (and answers) are pretty hilarious.
- Less screen time, more audiobooks
For many parents, audiobooks are a win-win situation. Instead of screen time, you can just cue up a story or podcast—and the kids are effectively distracted and out of your hair, and they might even learn something new, which explains why they’re surging in popularity. They also help to develop crucial listening and concentration skills, without being nearly as addictive and dopamine-inducing as TV time.
- Grandma and Grandpa baby names
In addition to more unisex and androgynous names, vintage names aren’t going anywhere in the new decade. While old-lady names are well into their comeback (think of names like Hazel, Evelyn, Lucy and Stella), now, the traditionally male names get a turn, thanks to the increasing popularity of names like Emmett, Wyatt, Arthur and Eli. Charming!
- Sibling tattoos
Siblings may not always get along, but they can share a lifetime bond—especially if they get matching tatts. Family-inspired tattoos to honour kids or parents have been around for awhile now but the brother-and-sister fad is suddenly stronger. Take a look at these beautiful sibling tattoos that parents just can’t get mad about.
- The ultimate mom power suit
Babies practically live in onesies, so why can’t moms? In case you haven’t discovered them yet, these trendy rompers, jumpsuits and one-piece wonders will be your go-to wardrobe staple before, during and after pregnancy.