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7 Parenting Trends for 2016

Care.com's predictions for the future of child- and pet-rearing.

7 Parenting Trends for 2016

At Care.com we like to think about parenting trends. What’s happening, what will happen, and how we can help. We look at our internal data, news reports, trending stories and our community of parents. How are things evolving? How are attitudes and styles changing? Below are the seven parenting trends we expect to gain momentum in 2016.

1) Third-Child-Style 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 bosses, managed wake-up times, and were hyper-involved with every aspect of their lives, Millennials are turning a new page on parenting. They’re swiping-left to a helicopter style and taking cues from their experienced parenting friends who relax a bit more with each child. This generation of new parents is adopting a third-child style of parenting that’s more relaxed and encourages greater independence. They won’t micromanage a Google calendar of naps, meals, and play dates. Millennial parents will evoke an Elsa-like let it go- approach.

2) The Rise of the Professor Nanny

In 2015*, Care.com saw an increase in job posts for nannies and caregivers requesting certain degrees, special skills, licenses, etc. And they’ve spread the word. In 2016, we expect to see increasingly more parents look for nannies with master’s degrees, medical licenses, child psychology backgrounds, CPR certification and more.

*As of September 2015

3) Enlightened Parenting

You know how kids with differences are like NBD for other kids? A new student comes to class in a wheelchair, and her super cool chair is the seventh or eighth detail your child tells you about her. It’s just not a huge deal. Inclusion has been mainstream in the lives of our children for years. It’s the parents who are catching up. Think about it: When brands eliminate gender specification on toys and clothes and beloved shows introduce new characters with special needs, it makes big headlines. But kids don’t see this as big news. In 2016, as companies continue to make important strides, enlightened-parenting families will take the lead from our children who don’t always see their friend’s wheelchair or the little boy playing princess as a rational point of discussion. And we too will think No Big Deal. 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. 

4) Hybrid Names, 2.0, and the “Lorelai Gilmore Effect”

Next year, the hyphenated last name will be so 2015. 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, and are downsizing their lifestyles and outsourcing 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.

6) “We Have Two 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: less over time pay when you spread hours between multiple caregivers, more variety for the kids, and the ability to hire to caregivers with different strengths for different needs within the family. And with the rise of what Care.com calls the Flex Economy, more care providers are open to working with multiple families where different jobs can offer surprising advantages, flexibility, and benefits.

7) The Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan Pet

We know parents are more tuned-in than ever to the nutritional needs of their kids, and it extends to their pets too!  Modern day pet parents are developing custom diet plans to ensure the health and longevity of their furry friends.  Before you share that treat, make sure it’s vegan.

Want to see what we’ve predicted in the world of (pet) parenting in other years? Then make sure you check out these articles: