Parents these days get so much advice about what to do and what not to do. I believe the intention – to empower parents – is a noble one, but it can make parenting an overly-complex and almost paralysing experience sometimes. It starts early – during pregnancy I was told not to eat so many things that I remember thinking all that was left was McDonald’s and carrot sticks! From when to cut the umbilical cord and what to do with the placenta to Vitamin K shots after birth and how long to breastfeed – there were so many options to consider and decisions to be made. I often thought ‘How am I supposed to know? I’ve never done this before!’
Miraculously I’ve muddled through and so far managed to keep my children alive until the ripe old ages of five and eight. These days the big parenting decisions centre around things like extra-curricular activities, low-sugar diets, technology use and – the classic – screen time.
Technology and screen time are big issues for this parenting generation, and they’re topics we need to think about earlier and earlier. They’re subjects we cover in the Baby and Toddler Toolbox – a Parenting Place course I facilitate for parents of infants and young children under five. Because even though their toddlers might not yet be able to read or write, most of them know how to navigate YouTube on their parents’ phones, operate an iPad and who Peppa Pig is by three years old.