Being a parent in 2020 was incredibly hard and many of us had to adapt and change the way we parent because of lockdown orders, school closures, etc. According to renowned pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, some of these adaptations may stick and some could even benefit parents. Karp takes a look at what's changed since the pandemic began and how things will continue to evolve for parents in 2021.
1. A more flexible approach to parenting
Even before the pandemic hit, parents were doing more work than ever before with less help. With school closures and many people working from home, parents have been experiencing burnout and have had to become a lot more flexible just to get through the day. "Whether all this 'rule relaxing' means being okay with a bit more screen time or a cheese-and-cracker dinner, parents are trying to relax the rules and embrace flexibility. In 2021, I expect we'll continue to see parents give themselves some well-deserved grace … and I hope this is a trend that will outlast COVID-19," Karp says.
2. An appreciation for telehealth
"Out of necessity, many doctor's appointments have gone virtual this year — and this is a trend we will likely see stick around next year … and beyond. While some doctor's visits require face-to-face, in-person interaction, many doctors are finding that there are others that can be done effectively from behind a screen," Karp explains. He believes that telehealth has many benefits, especially for newborn care, for which new parents can get answers to their questions without having to leave the house or potentially expose their infant to germs. Karp predicts that when doctors' offices do return to normal operations many parents and providers will be more open to incorporating remote visits into their ongoing care.
3. A virtual village for new parents
"The first weeks of a baby's life can already be intense and isolating … and a new parent's job has become even tougher as COVID-19 has stripped away precious practical support from family and friends. While a lack of practical support alone can nudge a new parent toward depression or anxiety, it also may trigger an even bigger issue: exhaustion. While that's a trend that I hope we'll leave in 2020, the good news is that more and more parents have been turning to virtual support to guide them through the struggles of new parenthood," Karp says.
4. The use of technology for support
"Parents are increasingly turning to technology to get that essential help in those stressful early days, like a white noise machine or a smart bassinet, like SNOO. I created SNOO to give tired new parents an extra pair of hands to hold and soothe the baby. And, it also is the only baby bed proven to add hours of sleep to the baby's sleep and keep the baby safely on the back … all naps and nights," Karp says. "This is a massive piece of the puzzle in curbing the scary upswing in postpartum depression and anxiety … and for forging a new trend of reliable and meaningful virtual support that may help keep those perinatal mood disorders at bay."