As a ‘90s kid that grew up watching cartoons in the morning and then spent most of my day either romping in the backyard, rollerblading with my friends down at the local schoolyard because that was the "in" thing to do in Brooklyn back in the day or getting dizzy from swinging on the swing set in the local playground for hours at a time, it threw me for a loop when I saw my neighbor’s third grade son expertly navigate an iPad and chatter away to me about cute dog videos on YouTube when I brought my dog over to have a play date with their new dog.
Seeing a third grader know more about iPads than I ever will and reading stories online about how toddlers are now reading picture books on several different devices, it’s truly amazing to see how my generation is handling being parents and how that differs from Gen Xers.
Some of their decisions, like the whole idea of a capsule wardrobe which is mentioned in the upcoming list, doesn’t make much sense to a ‘90s kid but others, such as making sure their toddler eats healthy snacks from a young age is a great way to teach good nutrition from a young age.
20 Playing With Gender-Neutral Toys
Unlike the generations before them, Time points out that toddlers that have Millennial parents will play with gender-neutral toys.
Instead of the age-old adage of “pink is for girls” and “blue is for boys” or “Barbies are the realm of girls and Hot Wheels are the realm of boys,” these kiddos have parents that will happily get their little girl a toy replica of a Monster Truck and their boy Astronaut Barbie from their local mom-and-pop toy shop or off of an Internet retailer.
19 The Majority Of Play Is Indoors
Parents.com notes that a new survey reveals that children of Millennial parents spend more time playing indoors than the children that are raised by the previous generations, like the Gen X-ers.
In fact, the research showed that the children of Millennials spend 4.11 hours in total playing inside while the previous generations’ children only spent about 2.47 hours inside playing with their toys or video games. That’s almost double the amount, and it’s due to the fact that many Millennial parents don’t put as much value on the benefits of a toddler playing outside.
18 Answers To A Unique Name
I won’t lie, there were times when I was growing up where I was so mad that my parents had decided to go with “Amanda” as a first name because I had to be known as “Amanda F.” due to the copious amount of female children in my class sharing my name.
Romper points out that toddlers with Millennial parents will never have to feel the frustration of having a common name because they’re choosing unique monikers for their kids—like "Khaleesi" after Daenerys Targaryen’s title from the hit HBO show Game of Thrones.
17 Putting Money Into A Piggybank
I have vague recollections of being a little girl and being given a pretty hand-painted porcelain piggy bank by my grandmother. I must admit that I didn’t do much with it until I was a pre-teen and started getting an allowance for doing chores around the house.
Business Insider writes that Millennial parents are more likely to teach their children about money from the time they’re very young in an attempt to make sure that they grow up with better saving and spending habits.
16 Goes On Vacation With Their ‘Rents
Forbes reports that many Millennial parents love to travel and spend time with their families, so it is not unusual to meet a toddler that has already been lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World down in Florida or go to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey two years in a row.
Heck, my boyfriend’s nephew isn’t even six months old and he has already been on a plane to Georgia in order to visit his paternal grandmother during the summer.
15 Eating A Health-Conscious meal
Baby Gaga writes that it is not unusual for Millennial parents to be extremely health conscious and make sure that their toddler eats plenty of fruits and vegetables during their meals or as snacks.
Many Millennial parents are really not big fans of letting their toddler chow down on snacks and meals that they grew up with, such as Arizona’s salsa and chips combo pack or the fast food staples such as the McDonald’s Happy Meal with the toy of the month inside.
14 Wearing A Capsule Wardrobe
Baby Gaga points out that it can be difficult for parents to pick and get their toddler into their outfit for the day, so many Millennials are turning to the idea of a capsule wardrobe.
Apparently, a capsule wardrobe is when parents try to cut down on the amount of clothing their kiddo is wearing by choosing a black or navy item as your base color, then adding in other items in a neutral color and one or two accent colors. I am so thankful that I grew up as a ‘90s kid wearing colorful t-shirts and leggings; sure, it’s embarrassing but at least I was able to make my own fashion faux pas.
13 Receiving A-Typical Gifts At Birthday Parties
In many Italian-American families on the East Coast of the United States, it is traditional to give them a cornicello necklace to ward off the “Malocchio” or “Evil Eye.” In some cases, they may also give female children a bracelet or necklace made of coral—I still have the bracelet that my paternal grandmother gave me when I was a little girl.
Baby Gaga notes that toddlers nowadays have parents that are eschewing the traditional gifts and Millennials are going for giving their kids something more unique, like a coupon to the zoo or an outing to the aquarium.
12 Parents Getting Them Pre-Loved Clothes
There is a Salvation Army in my neighborhood that has apparently been there for years, but I haven’t gone inside because when I was a kid and I needed clothes, my mother just hustled me over to the local department store that had some ridiculously cheap prices.
Baby Gaga points out that more and more Millennial parents are eschewing department stores when it comes time to get clothes for their toddlers and are instead buying “pre-loved” clothes from their local thrift shops.
11 They Have A Toy Rotation Schedule
Any good force-free dog trainer worth their salt will recommend that clients—especially those with young puppies—get a box or a chest and chuck their dog’s toys inside because it’s a good idea to rotate what they play with week by week so they don’t get bored or destructive.
Much like our four-legged friends, toddlers also get bored playing with the same toys over and over again—which is why Baby Gaga says that Millennial parents are instituting a strict toy rotation schedule for their little ones
10 The Little One Actually Plays Outside
I grew up in the ‘90s, and I have plenty of fond memories of spending hours playing with my friends at the local park during the summer or rollerblading until it got dark in the schoolyard during the fall months.
Unlike Millennial parents, Business Insider notes that the previous generations put plenty of value on making sure that their toddlers get a chance to play outside, either by themselves or with friends at the playground instead of being cooped up inside staring at a screen all day.
9 Their Parents Always Make Sure That They See Their Grandparents For Sunday Dinner
Business Insider points out that previous generations were more hands-on in terms of grandparents being part of their grandchildren’s’ lives and seeing them on a weekly basis, especially when they are toddlers.
Heck, I remember that I used to love going to visit my paternal grandmother’s house because my cousin Tommy and I would make a beeline for the den and watch tapes for a couple of hours before we got bored and headed outside to play on the swing set she had set up in the backyard for us.
8 They Don't Take As Many Trips During The Summer
Unlike toddlers that have Millennial parents that love to travel, Business Insider writes that toddlers whose parents belong to Gen X and other previous generations often don’t travel as much.
Heck, I was a ‘90s kid and the only major family vacation I can vaguely recall taking when I was a toddler was when we all went to Walt Disney World. I know we took one or two trips to Atlantic City when I was a teenager because I remember I was excited to see the Titanic exhibit at the Tropicana, but for the most part, my childhood was spent frolicking around at the local pool club during the summer instead of on vacation.
7 Plays With Stereotypical Toys
Baby Gaga writes that Millennial parents have started the trend of forgoing gendered toys, but there are still some parents from previous generations that will purchase stereotypically gendered toys such as a Barbie doll as a birthday gift for a little girl and a G.I. Joe figurine as a birthday gift for their little boy.
As a ‘90s kid, I too grew up with the stereotypical toys and I have fond memories of playing for hours in the toy room with my sister and our wide assortment of Barbies.
6 Takes Trips To Toy Store
Motherly points out that toddlers with Millenial parents are more likely to be given unique gifts or toys that were ordered off of Internet retailers due to the fact that the adults in the family prefer to stay on top of changing trends.
In contrast, many parents of previous generations prefer to purchase their child’s toys from actual brick-and-mortar shops, although with the closing of Toys R Us, that has become just a wee bit more difficult in this day and age. It makes me sad thinking that toddlers with Millennial parents will never get a chance to feel the sheer joy I felt when I was their age and my mom announced that I could get one toy from Toys R Us.
5 Runs To Their Parents For Every Little Thing
Motherly adds that toddlers with parents that hail from Gen X and even older still cling to the helicopter style of parenting and they know that they can run to their mother or father to receive comfort for every little scrape, bruise, and nick.
Millennial parents, in contrast, often adopt a more laid-back approach to raising their toddlers because they want to use more relaxed methods of teaching their children and feel that they need to learn via their own experiences in life.
4 They Don’t Play Games On An iPad
Parents.com notes that it is common for some toddlers with Gen X-er parents to eschew the fancy-schmancy technology such as iPads until they are older and can be far more careful when handling such delicate items.
I have heard anecdotes online about some Millennial parents allowing their toddler to play age-appropriate games on their mother or father’s iPad, which blows my inner ‘90s kid’s mind. When I was growing up, my dad only rarely allowed me to play this cool archery game that was on his work laptop and I didn’t get a computer capable of dial-up until I was in the sixth grade. It’s really weird for me to think about how parenting styles have changed in such a short period of time.
3 Parents Buy Them Actual Board Games
Parents.com adds that toddlers whose parents aren’t part of the Millennial generation often avoid allowing their children to stay glued to a television screen or an iPad; they would rather their children get some fresh air and play with items such as actual board games.
This isn’t a bad idea; I fondly remember all the good times I had growing up when I used to play Pretty, Pretty Princess with my friends or busting out Candyland and playing with my aunt during the holidays.
2 They Are Dressed In Stereotypical Gendered Clothing
While Millennial parents are heartily embracing the trend of raising their toddler in a gender-neutral environment, Parents.com note that those who belong to previous generations are more likely to go for a traditional route and this includes putting their toddles in gendered clothing.
Given the fact that as an adult I’m much happier frolicking around in ripped jeans, Doc Martens and a t-shirt, I find it absolutely hilarious when I look back at old photos of me as a toddler and see that my mother decided to doll me up in the frilliest dresses possible.
1 They Romp Freely At The Park Without A Hovering Parent
Romper notes that in contrast to the worry-wart Millennial parents that keep a watchful eye on their toddlers at all times, even when they are at the playground, ‘80s parents tend to have a “hands-free” approach. They’ll make sure they’re not getting hurt or into trouble, but they don’t feel the need to constantly hover them.
‘80s parents also prefer a more lax approach to the playground because some know that research suggests that toddlers that engage in “risky play” develop better problem-solving skills and resiliency.
Sources: Time, Business Insider, Romper, Forbes, Baby Gaga, Motherly, Parents.com