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The 6 Biggest Parenting Trends to Watch for in 2016

The Short of It

Care.com has announced its predictions for the trends that will shape families in 2016 (see ya later, helicopter parents!).

The Lowdown

According to the folks at Care.com, 2016 will be the year we kick helicopter parenting to the curb, and say hello to hybrid names, two-nanny families, and much more relaxed parents.

"We are beginning to see parents—especially millennial parents—make fundamental shifts in their approach to raising children," said Katie Bugbee, global parenting expert at Care.com. "With more dual-income households, greater access to technology, and shifts in parental roles, family dynamics are changing and giving rise to some exciting and positive parenting trends."

Here, then, are the top six predictions for 2016:

1. Millennials Left Swipe on Helicopter Parenting

It's a fact of life: Most children vow to be nothing like their parents when they grow up and have kids of their own. Enter today's posse of Millennials, who grew up with helicopter parents, who micromanaged every aspect of their lives, and who are now swiping left on the whole helicopter trend. Instead, they're opting for a "third-child style" of parenting that's more relaxed and encourages greater independence, with less focus on scheduling.

2. Enlightened Parenting

But more relaxed does not mean out of touch. And 2016 will see a rise in enlightened parenting, as more and more brands eliminate gender specification on toys and clothes and beloved shows introduce new characters with special needs. 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. It 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.

3. The Rise of the Professor Nanny

In 2015, Care.com saw year over year increases in job posts for nannies and caregivers with special pedigrees, including college degrees and CPR/First Aid. In 2016, parents will want master's 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 give daughters the same first names as their mothers.

5. The Downsized Parent

The new year will usher in a new age of simplified parenting with a less-can-be-more approach to things like holidays, after-school activities and birthday parties. Moms—and Dads!—are letting go of the idea that they can do it all and are being strategic about maximizing their help and outsourcing more. 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

In 2016, as more families take on less conventional work hours and schedules, Care.com predicts they'll become more creative in building a care team to help them throughout the week. There are benefits too: less overtime pay when you spread hours between multiple caregivers, more variety for the kids, and the ability to hire caregivers with different strengths for different needs within the family.

The Upshot

It looks like the overall arching trend for 2016 will a loosening of the parenting reigns, via less scheduling, more help around the house, and a greater use of outsourcing.

Do you agree? What trends are you seeing? Let us know!

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