Parenting: Then and Now

Mummy and Willy

Then: my mum holding my baby. Now: my mum stimulating my baby’s visual recognition skills


“Messy play” – or “mucking around with his Weetabix”? While the basic tenets of parenting remain the same through the ages, the phrases I come out with sometimes make my mum look at me like I’m bonkers. But think about it, a lot of the labels we use these days are a teeny bit daft.

THEN: Baby “touched things”.

NOW: Baby does “sensory play.”


THEN: Baby “picked up some food”.

NOW: Baby does “baby-led weaning”.


THEN: Baby “went back to sleep”.

NOW: Baby “self-soothes”.


THEN: Baby “bent over”.

NOW: Baby “does baby yoga”.


THEN: Baby ”heard something.”

NOW: Baby “receives auditory stimulation”.


THEN: Baby “jumped on the sofa cushions”.

NOW: Baby “does soft play”.


THEN: Baby “picked up dangerously small stuff”.

NOW: Baby “practises fine motor skills”.


THEN: Baby “shook a rattle”.

NOW: Baby “does Monkey Music”.


THEN: Baby “used crayons”.

NOW: Baby “does mark-making.”


THEN: Baby “battered a toy into submission”.

NOW: Baby “problem solves”.


THEN: Baby “whacked something that was thrust in its face”.

NOW: Baby “exhibits hand-to-eye coordination”.


THEN: Baby “pushed a car along the floor saying brrm brrm”.

NOW: Baby “practises imaginative play”.


THEN: Baby “walked”.

NOW: Baby “mastered gross motor skills”.


THEN: Baby “was naughty”.

NOW: Baby “explores boundaries”.


THEN: Baby “was told off”.

NOW: Baby “gets descriptive praise”.


THEN: Baby “watched TV”*. * For the one hour a day that there were children’s programme in the Dark Ages, as my mum never fails to stress.

NOW: Baby “rescued mummy’s mental wellbeing via the medium of Peppa”.

I’m not saying who’s right or wrong – all I know is, 24-hour Nick Junior is progress – nay, a human right – and I’m all for it – call it what you will!


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