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7 Ways Toddler Parenting Is Different Today Than It Was For My Parents

By Naomi Odes |

toddler with iphone

10 years ago, he would've been holding a book.

You know you’re old when you hear yourself saying “When I was your age…”

It’s enough to send you directly to Forever 21 to buy some wildly inappropriate outfit. Maybe that’s just me.

With all the changes in the world today in regards to safety, technology, and social norms, it’s no wonder that toddler parenting has had to make shifts as well.  As much as we all try to keep things simple, sometimes we have to fly with the times in order to make sure our kids don’t get left behind.

However, I think there’s a balance between the two.  I want my kids to experience the benefits that technology has to today offer, but also expose them to some of the experiences we had as kids.

Here are some of the ways toddler parenting has shifted since we were kids.

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From iPads To Play Dates: 7 Ways Toddler Parenting Is Different Today Than When I Was A Kid

Helicopter Parenting

This video called "Cockaboody", by John and Faith Hubley, represents an animated version of 9 tape-recorded minutes of their two daughters playing together when they were toddlers. There is no adult present in this video at all. I think we'd be hard-pressed to find a stretch of time where no adult says a single word in a 9 minute stretch in today's household, don't you think?

More By Naomi
I’m More Than A Mom
Hilarious and True T-Shirt Slogans For Toddlers
10 Birthday Presents For $15 or Less

Read more of my posts on Toddler Times.
Check out my personal blog. I Am Still Awake.
Follow me on Twitter.
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About Naomi Odes


Naomi Odes

Naomi Odes Aytur is a blogger who's contributed on the parenting channel of Babble. She chronicles her experiences of being a new mom on her personal website, I Am Still Awake. Read bio and latest posts → Read Naomi's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “7 Ways Toddler Parenting Is Different Today Than It Was For My Parents

  1. Danielle says:

    I will admit to leaving my two kids alone to make mischief in our house all the time (I don’t mean leave them alone in the house, I am in the house, just usually in a different room). Maybe because my big kid is a little older, it all goes swimmingly…until it doesn’t. But, I can get a break if they are occupied, and fortunately Maddy likes playing with Abby most of the time.

    1. Naomi says:

      I try to leave my boys alone, too. I listen in the next room until the penis-grabbing starts. Then I feel like I have to step in. Maybe I should just let them grab each other’s penises. I agree that all goes well until it doesn’t.

  2. Meagan says:

    I don’t leave my baby alone, but he plays without my interference for long stretches of time. I could see it being more difficult not to step in if there were two though.

  3. Danielle says:

    OMG, that’s hilarious Naomi, “I listen in the next room until the penis-grabbing starts.”

  4. Jenny says:

    So far my 2 year old doesn’t know how to use our phones, thank goodness because I know I’d never get it back. I also leave him alone for long stretches of time if he’s playing independently. I think today he was alone for 30 minutes or more reading books and playing in his room while I was cleaning. I’m grateful for an independent kiddo.

    I like your list. It made me think about how the times have changed.

  5. Jodi says:

    I agree with all of these except for the first one. My girls are 3 and 5 and spend long stretches of time playing without my interference. We live in a split level, their play room is in the basement so I can always hear what is going on but I think it’s so important for kids to learn to play independently (or with their siblings).

  6. MommaR says:

    even though she’s an only child (so far anyway) I still make sure she gets at least 30 minutes of play time, alone, in her room. She loves it, and frequently plays on her own other times too. I’m so glad she does this, now I can get the dishwasher unloaded, the laundry moved, whatever needs doing. I have to shake my head when I see those boxes of size 5,6 & 7 diapers. really? mine hasn’t had a diaper on her since before she was 2 1/2 and even then, we tried really hard to mostly have her in cloth so that she would actually learn that it was better to stop and use the potty. I don’t have a fancy phone like that, so that is not an issue in our house.
    These are a good hoot that’s for sure. it is really different in a lot of ways, but it’s also somewhat similar in others. :)

  7. Helen says:

    I recently had someone watch my toddler throw a fit, then tell me that she didn’t remember her children having temper tantrums. Her children are considerably older than mine and the oldest one was the most badly behaved horror EVER!!! It was hilarious that she couldn’t remember it! Added to this hilarity is he still has meltdowns and he’s well over 10! As if this wasn’t enough, her 6 year old twins have permanent frowns/scowls on their faces and are always throwing fits about something. I’ve heard lots of parents say their kids never threw fits, but I saw them do it : )
    I think it’s the same about potty training! : ) My sister was potty trained by 18 months, then started wetting the bed… I was almost three. We both wore old fashioned terry toweling (fabric) diapers (in England, just in case they are different here) I have also known lots of women who claim their child was walking, potty trained, talking, reading etc… by a certain age, but I was there and they most certainly weren’t! : ) I wonder when they claim 18 months, how many of them truly were, or if that’s when they parents started it.
    We have a family friend who didn’t do any potty training with her children, until they were three, unless they showed they were interested, even then she didn’t push it. My Mum says (now) that she wishes she’d done the same. This was in the 70′s.
    As for the size of the diapers, my 2 and a half year old has been wearing size 5 since he was about 9 months old, as he had mega prize winning thighs! lol He just went into a size six, but since he wears 3-4 (at least) year old clothes, this shouldn’t be a surprise. I have no intention of potty training him, I’m having another baby in the summer, so I don’t see the point, I don’t want him to regress, I’ve been warned by lots of parents that this happens and it’s not a happy time. The prospect of trying to get him to a bathroom, as a newly trained boy, with an older child and a new baby is less than pleasing too : ) He’ll do it when he’s ready : ) At the moment, I think he’s starting to work it out, but he still refuses to sit on the loo most of the time, then he surprises us by asking to : ) I am not going to make it into a power struggle.
    I’m surprised that they never mentioned that we ate everything on our plates : )
    We don’t have and refuse to have smart phones. If they were all free, then perhaps! : ) My kids have played Angry Birds and are desperate, but we aren’t paying for the plan, we have the most basic talk one, we have to pay for texts. When we go shopping I take paper and pens for their entertainment. I’m not worried about them missing out at all, they can both use Netflix and the Wii, so they aren’t going to be techno ignorant ; )
    My almost five year old has been reading for months and can do everything he would need to be able to do to pass the end of kindergarten “test”; he will start there in September. He’s done it pretty much by himself, as I don’t do structured schooling at home, it’s all for fun learning and he usually decides what he gets to do. My toddler seems even quicker, which I find really exciting : ) I’m not saying this to make me sound like I’m somehow special, or my kids are (obviously I think they’re bright, but so does every parent : ) ) I just think where some of us seem to fail (my almost five year old didn’t potty train until 3 and a half) doesn’t mean the child has anything wrong with them, or we are rubbish parents : ) It’s all swings and roundabouts : ) They are all different, not robots, who follow a plan made up by someone else of when they should do things : )
    They have lots of free play time and I often feel guilty that they don’t have my attention enough. I feel guilty that we don’t paint often enough, or get the playdough often enough, or bake etc… At the moment they are watching a bit of TV : ) They help with the cleaning and tidying etc… I think in spite of the lists of others on how my kids should be, my kids are doing OK : ) They did things differently in the past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean better : )

  8. DB Landes says:

    I encourage my children to play independently. I like having times when they are “nicely” playing in their rooms. I do agree that it works until it doesn’t, though. They have good days and bad days with sharing and getting along.

  9. nice one for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic If possible, as you gain expertise, could you mind updating your website with more info ? as it is extremely useful for me.

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