5 Parenting Trends We’re Embracing in 2022 (And 2 We’re Leaving Behind)

parenting trends 2022 cat

In terms of parenting, most of us will agree that this year was a significant improvement from the dumpster fire that was 2020. Thanks to vaccine rollouts and a return to in-person learning, parents were finally able to breathe a (small) sigh of relief. But let’s not deny that raising tiny humans these last 12 months has still been freakin’ hard. As such, we’re ready for a bigger, better and, yes, safer 2022. Here are the parenting trends we’re welcoming with open arms next year (and a few that we’re happy to leave behind).

The 9 Beauty Trends That Will Be Huge in 2022

In: Male advocates for parental leave

We can’t believe we have to qualify this as “a trend” rather than a no-brainer, but the fact that the U.S. does not have a federal system of paid parental leave despite overwhelming and explicit support from women all over the country means that we need others to speak up… specifically, men. (Let’s not forget that nearly 75 percent of Congress is male.)

Journalist Jessica Grose makes this argument succinctly in a recent opinion piece for The New York Times: “I’m enraged that we are still having to tell these stories, still having to splay our vulnerability and torn-up bodies out to the universe to get some legislators to prioritize mothers as humans in need of the barest social supports...If we’re going to move large numbers of American voters toward more full-throated support of government-funded paid leave, we need more fathers—and men in general—to be vocal about it.”

The New York Times also recently published an article that detailed the effects of paid leave on new families, including—but not limited to—parents having better relationships with their children as they grow up and a lower divorce rate. (Again, this all seems pretty obvious to us, but hey.)

“Most fathers want to be involved, they want to be around, they want to have it all—a career and to be a good domestic partner and a good father to their children... paid leave is a great way to help dads do this” Elie Mystal, The Nation's justice correspondent, told MSNBC. So yes, paid leave for parents benefits everybody.

With the fate of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act and its provision for four weeks of paid family and medical leave currently unknown, now is the time for everyone—men included—to speak up.

In: TikTok as a safe space

Are you on TikTok yet? Because as parents, no social media app has given us as much joy—and connection—as this particular platform. First, there’s the top-notch comedy content, like when parents imitate their kids or share the most useful lie they’ve told their offspring (we’re totally stealing that star trick).

But beyond the laughter, we’ve picked up some incredible parenting hacks from TikTok this year, and have also seen underrepresented communities using the platform to communicate honest experiences of what it’s like to foster a child, parent a kid with a disability or have a miscarriage. While other social media platforms are about curating a “picture-perfect” identity (looking at you, Instagram), TikTok users are refreshingly vulnerable and open.

“Unlike the platitudes on Instagram, TikTok’s content is raw and offers a window into someone else’s world because much of the content is provided by people struggling with…issues themselves,” writes Jennifer Tzeses in PsyCom.

And those are just some examples of the types of relatable and unfiltered family content you can find on the platform. With over one billion active users, chances are that whatever parenting struggle you’re currently dealing with, someone else on TikTok is going through it too. Next year we’re looking forward to even more scrolling and connecting with these honest, sometimes heartbreaking and often humorous, unscripted realities.

In: Talking about trauma

2022 will usher in a larger focus on kids’ coping skills, predicts Dr. Elanna Yalow, Chief Academic Officer at KinderCare Education. “Disruptions to children’s routines, lack of or sporadic contact with extended family and friends, and parental stress have put children at risk of increased feelings of isolation and depression,” she explains. Indeed, as many parents can attest, depression and anxiety in youth doubled during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the research published in JAMA Pediatrics.

“In 2022 we hope to see a focus in schools and amongst parents and families in rebuilding sense of community, establishing support networks, and providing children with consistency and

normalcy.” (For the love of God, no more school closures please!) “Social emotional health and mental health are slowly becoming more mainstream topics of conversation and we think that trend will continue into 2022.” Because isn’t your kid’s wellbeing more important than learning trigonometry, anyway?

In: Experiences over things

This past holiday season has seen an increase in experience gifts, according to a survey by the computer company Adobe. Per the study, while 51 percent of respondents plan to purchase physical gifts this holiday season, 17 percent plan to give “an experience” instead.

Migle Rakauskaite, the chief marketing manager at travel experience website, told CNBC that the pandemic has prompted an increase in travel experience gift purchases.

“Gifting traditions are changing,” she said. “People seem to value quality time together and doing something meaningful. Experience gifts are so much more valuable than the regular ‘stuff.’”

Look, we’re not here to judge—like so many other parents, we threw caution to the wind when it came to buying toys in order to keep our kids entertained during the pandemic. And we totally get that children deserve fun things after so much isolation and confusion. But as we look forward to brighter days ahead, we’re going to prioritize experiences like travel, time spent with loved ones and getting out of the freakin’ house over material posessions. Need some inspo? We’ve got 41 experience gifts for kids that are way better than any toy.

In: More Vegetables...Yes, Really

You may struggle to get your child to eat a single green pea, but 2022 could be the year your picky eater gets just a little more adventurous. That’s according to culinary experts and registered dietitians from Chartwells K12, a company that creates custom dining programs for 4,500 schools across the country “With kids placing a high priority on personal health and the health of the planet, protein replacements and vegetarian options are the star of the meal,” they predict.

And perhaps that’s no surprise—one-quarter of adults say they are eating more plant protein than last year and plant-based dairy sales are expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2024, per the Institute of Food Technologists. With more plant-based food available at home, it only makes sense that schools follow suit. 

“Veggie burgers are more popular in schools than ever before along with creative vegetarian and flexitarian twists like a Watermelon Edamame Poke, Kung Pao Tofu Stir Fry and a Vegetarian Sweet Potato and White Bean Chili.” (It’s unclear if this interest in plant-based foods extends to your green bean casserole, however.)

Out: Staycations

Have kids, will travel. After exploring every single park, playground, nook and cranny of the neighborhood, parents are ready to get the hell out of Dodge… and they’re letting kids call the shots. Per Vrbo’s 2022 Trend Report, half of the families surveyed said they’re more likely to let their kids decide where they vacation, compared to pre-pandemic times. Parents are also planning on traveling throughout the year (see ya, school holiday price surge) and stay for longer—43 percent of parents are more likely to let their kids skip school for vacation and there has been a 68 percent increase in 21 to 30-day stays on Vrbo. So… see you at Disney World?

This idea of making up for lost time is seen across the board for travel in 2022, but with those younger than 5 years old likely to be eligible for the vaccine in the first half of 2022, family travel could very well see a large increase towards the end of the year… and here are the places we’re planning on visiting first

Out: Virtual Support

Don’t get us wrong—whether it’s been regular Zooms with grandma or ultra-convenient telehealth appointments, the wonders of modern technology have been a lifesaver the last two years. But we are so done with the virtual get togethers and online support groups—we want to meet IRL again (provided that it’s safe to do so, obviously). 

Last year, Chelsea Allison, founder and CEO of Motherfigure, a maternal wellness start-up observed that 2021 would be the year that “providers, ranging from lactation consultants to physical therapists to doulas, all adapting and embracing digital platforms, taking their practices virtual—and national—for the first time.” And she was right—parents had a plethora of services available through their computer screens which was amazing. But let’s get real: If we’re experiencing a sore back or, um, child labor, then we really would like to have the assistance of someone in person and not online. While many practices have resumed in-person support, here’s hoping that high vaccination rates and low transmission rates will give us even more of that in 2022.

I’m a Wellness Editor and I Predict These 5 Wellness Trends Will Be Everywhere in 2022

img 0936

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...