The 21st century Checklist for Modern-day Parenting

Even with all the extra help & accessibility, being a 21st century parent comes with its own challenges. You find yourself bombarded with advice from relatives to complete strangers.  “Follow a strict sleeping routine,” “Don’t let your child get on Instagram,” “Are you even spending enough time with your kid?”— the list is never-ending. 

With so much information floating around, making decisions can be tough. Parenting can feel like navigating without a compass. According to child and adolescent psychologist Tripti Choudhary Vaid, “Indian society is currently in a flux where older ways and family systems are no longer current and therefore new age parenting requires guidance and direction.”

The 21st century parents are juggling more roles than before— a parent, a teacher, a friend, a mentor, etc. They tend to achieve perfection and set rather high expectations for themselves. This leads to added stress which can reflect poorly in your parenting style. The solution is to move beyond the rigid parenting philosophies and find your own unique parenting style. 

Here’s a sorted directory for modern day parents to ease down the pressure:

Parenting during the pandemic

Being confined to their homes for such a long time has made it difficult for parents to focus on their child’s overall development. From helping them with their online homework to dealing with their mental health, parenting responsibilities have increased ten fold in the current scenario. 

  • Protecting your child’s mental health

It has become challenging for parents to manage their children’s anxieties. Introduce habits & activities that can work as a stress-buster and contribute to their development. It is important to keep your calm during conversations involving Covid-19. UNICEF suggests that engaging children in creative activities can be useful. This will help them channelize their negative feelings in a safe environment. 

  • Helping them with online classes

The closure of schools during the pandemic has made parents the teachers and tutors. Combining online and offline learning activities can prove to be the best bet for parents. Start with online educational activities and include offline exercises to it. Taking timely breaks in between homeworks will help in staying alert. Helping your child create goals and deadlines will assist planning in advance. Incentivizing them for healthy behaviour will motivate them to do better.

  • Keeping healthy routines

Due to the pandemic taking a toll on work life, parents tend to neglect their routines. This might create a sense of uncertainty in the child. The child tends to get out of control due to the chaos around. Setting fixed timings for meals, studying and sleeping will help kids maintain hygiene. Routine makes the kids enthusiastic throughout the day.

Befriending Technology

Technology today provides various educational learning tools, resources and platforms. 21st century skills like Coding helps students think logically, recognize problems and come up with creative solutions. 

Two of our Tekie students, Medha Bose & Neev Dutta came up with one such creative solution amidst the chaos of covid-19. Using their Coding skills, they made a special website to spread positive news & resources during the pandemic. Check out their project here.

At Tekie, we enable personalized and self paced learning through expert mentors. It takes into account problem based learning through project-driven curriculum. You can book a free class to experience it for your child. 

Tracking Children’s Progress

In this digital era, it is difficult to track your child’s educational progress due to the plethora of classes and courses. Parents are keen to keep a track of the attendance, results and different extra curricular activities. 

The modern pedagogy is evolving with Ed-tech promises to fill this gap by involving parents in the process of learning and growing. Eg., At Tekie, tracking your child’s progress gets easier with homework streaks and personalized reports. We also provide a dedicated mentor who guides them on their coding journey from the beginning. 

Staying connected with the teachers can help you keep a better track of your child’s performance. Maintain an everyday healthy dialogue with your child, lead the conversation with curiosity instead of taking an investigative tone.  

There are also many education tracker apps available online with in-built checklists and brochures to help in communication and tracking. 

The Social Media Dilemma

The internet is like an open playground where your child could explore diverse platforms and communities with like-minded students and shared interests. This helps them explore identities, collaborate on ideas & experience peer learning.

Apart from the benefits, the concerns you face range from increased screen time to online harassment. 

You can try a to implement a few ground rules to limit their use of social media –

  • Create a digital routine for them specifying the time they can spend online
  • Teach them about the importance of privacy settings
  • Spend more time with your kids

Bridging the gap between Curriculum and Skills

Are the kids well prepared to face what the future holds? Are they being helped build the right skillset?

The traditional education system and curriculum have not kept pace with rapidly changing needs, particularly those related to soft skills, advanced technology usage, and even the ability to re-skill for new opportunities. 

Hence, the National Education Policy 2020 has proposed introducing coding in school curriculums as one of the important skills. Did you know that Tekie has partnered with top schools in India to make coding more accessible to students? 

What can you as parents do?

  • Introduce your child to skill based courses available online
  • Get them enrolled in programs offering technological skills

Conversations around Gender, Diversity & Inclusion

This topic is mostly considered a taboo, contentious subject that should not be discussed with young children. As children encounter new people as they grow up, parents should openly discuss differences. Children should be educated on the importance of accepting, valuing, and celebrating diversity.

Parents need to raise their child in a more liberal environment. Be open to conversations with your kids regarding gender diversity. Parents also need to educate themselves on the subject to be able to accept it. Only when the adults are sensitised, children can be.

Parents can practice gender equality at home to influence their child positively. Being more democratic and equal in your interactions will create a positive impact.

Physical and Mental Well-being

Nutrition, good food and mental hygiene are the foundation of a child’s future. Cultivating healthy eating habits and practicing mental hygiene practices will have benefits that last a lifetime. Let us have a look at these very important aspects of your child’s health-

  • Raise a fit child

Poor eating habits might start from a very early age. As children grow up, their exposure to junk food rises alarmingly. Parents find it difficult to raise their children in a healthy way. A few eating and exercising habits that can benefit your child are –

  • Oversized portions lead to weight gain while undersized portions lead to poor nutrition. Make sure to teach your child about portion sizes. For instance, teach them how the amount of pasta to be consumed should be the size of their closed fist.
  • Start their day with a healthy breakfast. Starting healthy leads to your child having a balanced diet.
  • According to CDC, school-aged(6-17 years) children should be physically active for at least 60 minutes in a day. Encourage your child to participate in exercise. Plan family activities to hype them up.

  • Mental well-being

A 2021 study found that  7.2% of children had at least one caregiver with poor mental health. A child’s mental health is highly dependent on its parents. A mentally healthy child is more likely to function well at home and school. What can you as parents do?

  • Creating a safe space for your child will help them open up about their problems.
  • Listen to them patiently and try to resolve the problems.
  • Encourage your child to take necessary breaks.

Sex Education – A parent’s role

“What is masturbation?”

“Why do girls use stayfree?”

Do such questions from you kids make you awkward? It is high time that parents stop relying on schools for sex education. Teaching your own child about healthy sexuality is important in the digital era. If parents don’t step forward, children will learn about it from someplace else that might not be safe.

Discussing sex with your child will encourage open communication. It helps your child feel positive about their own bodies. 

If you haven’t already started this conversation with your child, here are a few strategies you can consider –

  • Address and kill your own discomfort.
  • Get in touch with books and resources available online and equip yourself with necessary information.
  • Take your own time to answer the questions of your child.
  • Practicing responses in front of your spouse will make you feel more confident.

With the change in age-old parenting traditions and the aftermath of the pandemic, parenting has become more challenging than before. So rather than trying to find a perfect method, look for the right approach and develop your own parenting style considering the essential elements discussed above.