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Bye, Bye Helicopter, Hello “Third-Child” Style: The Top 6 Parenting Trends for 2016

Want to know what’s hot in parenting? Care.com released their predictions for the parenting styles that will dominate 2016. At the top of the list is the prediction for the end of helicopter parenting in favor of a more relaxed approach that encourages greater independence. The rise of the more credentialed, “professor nanny” and hybrid names also made the list.

Care.Com’s Predictions for Parenting Trends in 2016

1. Millennials Left Swipe on Helicopter Parenting—Every child swears she won’t be like her parents when she has kids. Well, Millennial parents who grew up with “helicopter” moms and dads are no different. While their parents called their children’s bosses, managed wake-up times, and were hyper-involved with every aspect of their lives, Millennials are turning a new page on parenting. This new generation is adopting a “third-child style” of parenting that’s more relaxed and encourages greater independence. These parents won’t micromanage a Google calendar of naps, meals, and play dates. Millennial parents will evoke an Elsa-like let it go approach.


2. Enlightened Parenting – When brands eliminate gender specification on toys and clothes and beloved shows introduce new characters with special needs, it makes big headlines.  But is it big news for our kids? In 2016, as companies continue to make important strides, families will parent one-step ahead. Enlightened parenting means taking the lead from our children, who don’t always see their friend’s wheelchair or the little boy playing princess as points of discussion. A few questions, maybe, but for them, it’s just how their world looks. Enlightened parents believe that showing understanding and acceptance without necessarily telling can be a stronger, more modern message to kids when helping to breakdown stereotypes and gender norms.  


3. The Rise of the Professor Nanny – In 2015, Care.com saw increases in job posts for nannies and caregivers with special pedigree, including college degrees (+25%) and CPR/First Aid (+55%).  In 2016, parents will want master degrees, medical licenses, child psychology backgrounds, CPR certification and more when hiring a caregiver.


4. Hybrid Names, 2.0 and the Lorelei Gilmore Effect – The hyphenated last name is so 2015.  In 2016, it will be all about the hybrid first name.  More families are creating new first names for their children by creatively combining two or more sentimental or meaningful favorites.  Can’t decide between Great Aunt Eileen and Grandma Lynn? Hello, baby Eilynn.  Bonus Trend: The “Lorelei Gilmore Effect” is on the rise. It’s no longer just first sons carrying on the family name.  More families are opting to name daughters after their mothers.


5. The Downsized Parent – Today’s families are overscheduled and overshared.  2016 will usher in a new age of simplified parenting with a less-can-be-more approach to everything from the holidays, to after school activities and birthday parties, as families downsize their lifestyles and outsource more. Moms – and Dads! – are letting go of the idea that they can do it all, and are being strategic about maximizing their help.  Many parents are choosing caregivers, babysitters, and nannies who are open to doing more around the house. Whether it’s helping to prepare for a birthday party, wrapping presents around the holidays, or doing light housekeeping, being able to let go of some of the little things is allowing parents to be more present and available with their children.


6. “We Have 2 Nannies” Families – It’s not just the rich and famous hiring multiple nannies.  In 2016, as more families take on less conventional work hours and schedules, we predict they’ll become more creative in building a care team to help them throughout the week. There are benefits too: more payment flexibility between multiple caregivers, more variety for the kids, and the ability to hire caregivers with different strengths for different needs within the family. And with the rise of the “Flex Economy,” we predict more care providers will be open to working with multiple families where different jobs can offer surprising advantages, flexibility, and benefits

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