Parenting trends for 2019
According to Cosmopolitan magazine there will be five big fashion trends for spring 2019: Neon; bucket hats; tie dye (say what?); colour-blocking and lastly, cycling shorts (I remember rocking my inner Neneh Cherry wearing a pair of Lycra shorts with a shirt over the top and Hi Tops on my feet, circa 1988). Thank goodness social media wasn't around then, at least there's no evidence of my sartorial disasters.
But just like fashion has its trends, so does parenting. Who knew? (Psychologists, teachers, Pinterest, parenting magazines - it turns out they knew).
I've done my research (while wearing my tie-dyed tee, knotted at the waist) and here are the top five parenting trends for 2019
1. Accepting we will never sleep (the same way) again
I've seen a flurry of articles in the national press recently (The Guardian, The Metro), claiming sleep deprivation is much, much worse than parents let on to each other.
Research published in the journal Sleep has revealed that while it is universally accepted the first few months with a newborn wreak havoc with sleep patterns, the reality is, most parents don't get enough sleep for the first six years of their child's life. The study showed that while children generally stop crying during the night as they age, they may wake up, be sick or have nightmares. In addition, the stress and worries that go with parenthood can also affect parents’ sleep.
Add more children to the mix and I'm guessing you're looking at never sleeping properly until the last of your progeny have moved out, got their own place, a dog, a steady job and a dependable, loving partner (if they want one).
The good news is, now we are all aware of this research we can unite in our brain-addled state of sleep deprivation, knowing it is much more common NOT to get a full eight hours every night.
2. Taking a girls' trip is good for you
Science agrees, taking a weekend trip with your girlfriends and leaving the children at home (with someone to look after them, not home alone with YouTube and a couple of Pot Noodles) is good for you.
Here's the science bit - a 2016 study published in the journal Behaviour explained spending time with friends boosts the production of oxytocin, which is often called the “love” or “cuddle” hormone.
In our increasingly digital world, where mums often interact via messages or social media, further research shows that a lack of social connections in the real world has the same health risk as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. So, it seems that hanging out with friends can actually help you to live longer and boosts mental wellness.
The chances of escaping family commitments for a weekend often prove a logistical nightmare but organising a night out, an afternoon enjoying a cream tea or a few hours at a local spa seem doable, don't they?
And if anyone asks - SCIENCE says it good for you, so ditch the guilt and plan an escape with your mum mates, whether that's for a couple of hours or a few days.
3. Scavenger birthday parties
Scavenger Hunt-style parties are all the rage, thanks, in part to the social media platform - Pinterest.
The social media giant has just released its annual 'Top 100 trends' report, to reveal the most popular searches that have increased in the past year across 10 key categories, including parenting - and Scavenger Hunt parties are on the list.
Easy to organise and masses of fun, a scavenger hunt starts with a list of things to find (or do) within a time limit. It can be played in teams, or even as a solo game against the clock.
All you need to host a Scavenger Hunt party is a printed or written list of things to find - so an example might be a bottle top, a yellow flower, a flat rock and so on, something to carry the treasure home in, a time-keeper, a few adult helpers if younger children are doing the searching.
Oh, and don't forget a prize for the first team home.
I predict this trend will be the most popular of the five.
Check out Pinterest.com for more ideas!
4. Toy-sharing subscriptions
Tired of spending a fortune on toys only for them to be discarded under beds and at the back of cupboards within a week a two? A toy sharing subscription could be the answer. Relatively new in the UK - a company called Toy Box Club can deliver a box of carefully curated, gender-neutral and age-appropriate toys and books straight to your door, every month for as long as you choose. The company blurb says it is a "one-of-a-kind toy subscription service for pre-school children" and it sounds like the perfect antidote to toy fatigue - but it's not cheap at £35 a month.
Here in Lincoln, we are fortunate to have Lincoln Toy Library - which provides a soft play area for children from birth to five years, as well as offering a vast range of toys for youngsters to play with. In addition, when you become a member of Lincoln Toy Library you will have access to more than 1,000 toys to borrow from as little as £1 for four weeks.
Lincoln Toy Library can be found at Witham Park, Lincoln.
For more information about Toy Box Club, visit toyboxclub.co.uk.
5. Flip phones
Number five, flip phones for children. Want your child to be able to stay in touch but not a massive fan of the idea of them having free access to the Pandora's Box that is the internet? Make sure their first phone is a flip phone, like the Nokia 2720 Fold (just £69.99 on Amazon, versus the Apple iPhone 7, £409).
Flip phones - like Smartphones but with none of the 'smart' bits.
One for the road...
I know I said there were five definitive trends for 2019 but here's another I stumbled across: Audiobooks. Searches for Audiobooks on Pinterest went up by 126 per cent last year- suggesting parents are either doing one of two things. Trying to avoid their kids having too much screen time by encouraging them to listen to audiobooks via apps like Audible.
Or leaving apps like Audible to read their children a goodnight story...