No cellphones. No blogs. No apps. And no rules. Okay, that last one’s going a bit far. But seriously, figuring out how to parent back in the day wasn’t exactly the tech-heavy competitive event that it is today. Take a trip back to a time around your own childhood, wipe your mind of the latest fads for raising great kids, and give your child the gift of a less stressful childhood. Or at least, one that’s way more fun (and, like, totally radical!).
1. No more hovering. In 1980-something, Eighties Mom was probably in the kitchen drinking a Tab while the kiddos not-so-quietly turned the living room couch cushions into a towering fort. Sure, they jumped off the tippy-top of that fort. And no, that mom absolutely, positively could not see what they were doing. But she trusted them. It’s not like Eighties Mom was an absentee parent — she just didn’t hover. No one’s saying that your kids don’t need supervision: Of course there should be someone ready to jump in if there’s actually a problem they can’t solve on their own. But traipsing behind your preschooler, hands poised to catch them if they happen to trip over their own feet, isn’t helping anyone. So quit your helicoptering and take a step back… even if it’s only to a few feet away.
2. Turn technology off. Thirty years ago, toddlers didn’t know how to swipe, open an app, or unlock an iPad. They picked up crayons, played in the dirt, and maybe got into a competitive game of pencil-drawn tic-tac-toe. Taking all of your child’s tech toys away at once might be a major shock, so try a tech-time diet, where you go a morning or afternoon without the tablet, laptop, smartphone, or any other device. Oh yeah, and turn your tech off too — your kiddo will appreciate seeing you having fun without checking your texts, FB feed, IG, or anything else.
3. Stop being the party planner. You’ve turned the technology off. Now you’re being hit with, “Mommmmmy! I’m bored,” and, “What am I supposed to do now?” Eighties Mom didn’t spend hours clicking through blogs to get dozens of activity ideas. Eighties Mom said, “Figure it out,” and turned on Dynasty. There’s nothing wrong with finding a few creative play ideas to help your child along — but there’s also nothing wrong with letting your kiddo learn how to entertain themself. Give your little one the chance to use their own imagination and show you just how genius they really are!
4. Quit competing. Competition between parents still existed back in the ’80s, but without social media keeping us connected to all our other mom-friends 24/7, it wasn’t on the scale that it is today. Instead of worrying about whether your two-year-old is meeting milestones before everyone else’s toddlers in your mommy Facebook group, focus on the amazing things that your child is doing right now. Who cares if your former college roommate’s tot is already memorizing times tables while yours thinks their shoe is fun to chew? Arbitrary achievements don’t reflect your child’s abilities, or their worth.
5. Don’t worry about the trends. In the ’80s there were theories of parenting. There were ideas. There were thoughts. But most of them stayed with the pros: Some moms swore by Dr. Spock or another baby/child guru, but there wasn’t the intense level (and constant flux) of trendy parenting propaganda that modern moms have to deal with. While brushing up on the best practices in parenting is never a bad thing, that doesn’t mean you have to go crazy overboard. If you’re spending more time reading about being a parent than actually doing it, it’s time to get back to the ’80s!
What part of the ’80s would you bring back? Tweet us your retro revival @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)