Why ‘inchstones’ are the new big deal in parenting

Move over, milestones — ‘inchstones’ are the hot new parenting trend. But is celebrating mini moments always a good thing?

Once upon a time, a lost tooth meant 50 cents in a glass by your bedside.

And learning to ride a bike got you a pat on the back and permission to stay out until dark.

Forget all that. Turns out, this is the year for celebrating every tiny triumph, also known as “inchstones”.

That’s according to 2024 Pinterest Predicts, after the popular platform analysed months of data.

Pinterest found searches for first-tooth parties had risen by 40 per cent, while searches on ideas for potty training rewards had sky-rocketed by 100 per cent.

It seems parents are sprinkling party vibes on every mini moment of their children’s lives.

How did inchstones get started?

Founder of gift-wrapping service The Daily Wrap Vivienne Anthon, whose background is in education, says the inchstones concept “originally came from recognising small gains for kids to whom big gains came very slowly”.

“So there was lots of joy when a goal was reached,” Vivienne says.

“But on top of that, everyone these days is being encouraged to break down goals into smaller, more manageable bites and, also, our world has changed.

“People celebrate differently — children don’t always live with both mum and dad, or see their grandparents all of the time, and so different milestones are recognised at different times.”

Is celebrating inchstones always a good thing?

Psychologist Donna Stambulich says while celebrating small wins will work for some children, it won’t for all — and it’s up to parents to decide which tiny triumphs to fete.

There is nothing wrong with positive reinforcement, she notes, but one thing parents need to remember is that life is full of disappointments and building resilience in kids is really important. “While it’s great to recognise effort, you don’t want to create a dependency on external validation,” Donna says.

“A key component to effort is the simple satisfaction kids get from doing and achieving something.”

How to incorporate inchstones in your parenting

If you are keen on trying out the inchstones trend in your family’s life, keep celebrations appropriate and in proportion to the moment, Vivienne advises.

“You don’t need to order a marching band for an inchstone,” she explains.

“The cost of living pressure is everywhere and for many mums, it’s squared … not only are they feeling that pressure, but they’re trying hard not to show that they’re feeling it!

“For kids, the joy is not just in the latest toy — your currency can be your time and your thoughtfulness in celebrating those micro moments.”

Easy ways to celebrate inchstones

Looking for easy ways to celebrate inchstones without breaking the bank?

  • Create a jar of “remember whens” — every day for a month, add a slip of paper with a memory written on it to a glass jar (for example, “Remember when we went camping and saw that tiny koala?”).
  • Frame a special photograph.
  • Get something your child loves engraved.
  • Plant something together.

And what about parents-to-be?

For those who aren’t parents but who would like to be, you don’t need to worry about inchstones yet as you now have your own reason to celebrate.

A new survey has revealed more than half of Aussies believe they should be marking one of the biggest decisions in their life — being ready to embark on the rollercoaster ride of becoming a parent.

And the name of that celebration? A “readymoon”.

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Written by Liz McGrath.