childcare In the 1980s, the average family was a dual-income family. During this decade, it became increasingly common for both parents to work. Dad's paycheck didn't go as far as it used to, and fewer women were putting their careers on hold to be homemakers. Between 1970 and 1984, the number of mothers who worked outside the home increased from 40 percent to 60 percent.
In addition to this, the soaring divorce rate created many single-parent households. The number of children living with only one parent nearly doubled between 1970 and 1983, going from 12 percent to 22 percent.
This created a need for quality child care that went beyond nursery schools and babysitters. State-licensed daycare centers answered that need. To accommodate working parents, daycare centers offered extended hours, experienced staff, activities for preschoolers and afternoon care for older children. Staff members held degrees in Child Development and Early Childhood Education.
Although most daycare centers were privately owned, a few daycare center chains became popular in the 1980s. They included Kindercare, Children's World, La Petite Academy, Mary Moppets Day Care, Children's Discovery Centers and Gerber Children's Centers.
daycare controversy In the 1980s, the childcare industry underwent intense scrutiny when several daycare centers were charged with sexual, emotional and physical abuse of children. The resulting court cases focused attention on the delicate issue of obtaining credible testimony from children. Many of the cases ended with an acquittal, dismissal or a guilty verdict that was later overturned.
most popular baby names of 1985
girls Jessica Ashley Jennifer Amanda Nicole Sarah Stephanie Heather Melissa Elizabeth
boys Michael Christopher Matthew Joshua David Daniel James Joseph Robert John
For drivers, the 1980s introduced the first mandatory child safety seat laws. In 1982, New York was the first state to enact a child safety seat restraint law.
Parents of newborns proudly attached these signs to their car windows.
-- "Smoking or non-smoking?" The dangers of second-hand smoke were becoming apparent in the 1980s. Most public buildings addressed this issue by creating non-smoking areas.
diet & fitness The fitness craze inspired us to don our leotards and leg-warmers and exercise with our Jane Fonda Workout videos. It also gave us a new word: aerobics.
Many people took aerobics classes and joined health clubs such as Nautilus and Bally's. Other popular programs included Jazzercise, Dancercize, Nutri/System, Weight Watchers and the weight-loss plans of the eternally peppy Richard Simmons.
Eating disorders first received public attention in the late 1970s. These conditions generally afflict young women, who feel pressured to remain thin at all costs. When eating and dieting escalate into bingeing, purging and starvation, the resulting conditions are known as anorexia and bulimia.
The trendy, mall-hopping teens of California's San Fernando Valley had a language all their own. This was satirized brilliantly in Frank and Moon Unit Zappa's 1982 song Valley Girl. Before we knew it, the rest of the country was using phrases like gag me with a spoon, like omigawd! and fer sure, fer sure.
Valley girls exhibited a fashion sense that was pure 1980s....white pumps, little ankle socks, bitchin' mini-skirts and big poufy hairstyles. Their awesome clothes were purchased at the famous Galleria mall, and were paid for with Daddy's credit card, of course.
spending money These were the days of conspicuous consumption. In other words, you can never have too many toys!
Here are some 1980s innovations that made it easier to part with your money....
home shopping channels on TV: In 1977, a Florida radio station held an on-air auction of merchandise they received from an advertiser in lieu of payment. This was the birth of the Home Shopping Network (HSN). After moving to cable TV in 1981, the network went nationwide in 1985. The QVC cable shopping channel made its debut in 1986.
automatic teller machines: Although some banks had primitive automatic teller machines in the 1970s, ATMs really hit their stride in the early 1980s.
credit cards: The increased use of credit cards provided instant gratification for the consumer. Why save when you can get it now?
what's your major? In the free-thinking 1960s and 1970s, it was very cool to major in a subject simply because you loved it. Whether or not you could make a decent living with a degree in Asian Studies was beside the point.
In the 1980s, many college students were guided by the new yuppie attitude. Careers that netted big salaries after graduation were becoming more popular, and the students who chose these majors didn't hide the fact that they were doing it just for the money.
Popular fields of study in the 1980s included Business, Computer Science, Physical Therapy and Marketing. Liberal arts courses like History, English and Ethnic Studies managed to survive, usually because they fulfilled the general education requirements of most colleges.
new career trends Careers that didn't guarantee high salaries but had tremendous growth potential were also popular. Fields like Journalism, Early Childhood Education, Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Social Work and Teaching fell into this category. Anyone with a degree in these fields would probably have no trouble finding a job, if they didn't worry about making a lot of money.
residence halls Most college freshmen were required to live in the residence halls. After that, they were free to live off-campus if they wished. When the strict rules of the past were abolished in the early 1970s, dorm regulations became a bit too permissive. By the 1980s, things had settled down. Each floor had quiet hours and an R.A. (resident assistant) to keep things under control. Although co-ed floors were becoming more popular, you could still request a same-sex floor. You could also choose to live on a study floor, special interest floor or over-21 floor.
Dorm residents equipped their rooms with mini-fridges, black & white TVs, stereos, boom-boxes, carpets, wooden lofts and beer signs. In the mid 1980s, some students brought their computers from home, and in the late 1980s they also brought answering machines and VCRs.
party! Although drinking had always been a popular student activity, the problem of binge drinking got steadily worse in the 1980s. On Greek Row, hazing (humiliating new pledges) was also a problem. In the late 1980s, there were several highly-publicized student deaths caused by binge drinking and hazing, and this led to some changes in the 1990s, especially for fraternities.