What does 2017 have in store for parenting in the UK? From TantrumXYZ's work with early adopters, the parenting business community and parenting influencers, this is what we identify as being the top 10 key trends for parenting and childcare in 2017...
There will be a marginal increase in the number of men in childcare, from 'mannies', nursery assistants and those training as childminders so they can look after other children alongside their own. Parents are opening their minds to childcare being a mixed environment.
2. Extended childminders
The system of childminders clubbing together to look after more children is becoming a popular choice with parents, who see it as a way of giving their children the social experience of a nursery in a home setting, and with fees going directly to staff rather than chain nursery overheads.
3. Healthier chocolate
Increasingly health-conscious parents are moving away from big chocolate brands, and giving their children chocolates containing alternatives to processed sugar and dairy instead.
4. Explosion in Parenttech
Tech is transforming the way we parent, with an explosion of new apps, websites and gadgets created by British parents for other parents. The burgeoning 'parenttech' community, operating mostly out of east London, will make major inroads into reaching the wider population in 2017.
5. Famous kid bloggers, vloggers and reporters
It's not just mums and dads who are able to monetise their lifestyle through blogs, Instagram and video. 2017 will see kids themselves grow their audiences and public appeal; either through YouTube diaries, reporting or blogging.
6. Gender-neutral clothing and toys
Movements such as 'Let Toys be Toys' will have a tangible effect on what parents buy for their children. It's not that they won't be buying dolls or trucks, it's just that they won't be bought just for girls and boys respectively.
7. Dads being featured in advertising
With fathers becoming increasingly important to marketeers in the kids' gear arena, we will see a shift in advertising copy and images, so 'parents' are being spoken to and featured, rather than just 'mums'.
Changes to the way schools are funded, the government's pro-grammar school stance, and the spiraling cost of childcare will lead to an increase in parents choosing to educate their children at home, and using local friends and networks to provide extra-curricular activities.
9. Flexible working
With the Equality and Human Rights Commission making headway with their #WorkingForward campaign, which seeks to encourage employers to allow their staff to work flexibly, we will see this campaign grow in prominence and make a tangible difference to the lives of working parents in the UK. It has been ably supported by Digital Mums' #WorkThatWorks and Mother Pukka's #FlexAppeal campaigns.
10. Low-alcohol, high-quality
Parents still want to have a drink but, with alcohol consumption falling anyway and the fact that having a hangover while looking after children is not a pleasant experience, there will be a demand for high-quality, low-alcohol or non-alcoholic drinks, ideally with added health benefits.