As another year ends, we’re taking some time with our families to relax and reflect, and plan for what comes next. I hope all of you parents found a moment or two this holiday season to do the same.

There was so much darkness to absorb this year in the world: increasing alarm over climate change, political turmoil, the fire at Notre Dame in Paris, a hurricane that devastated the Bahamas. But there was also light. Kids took a stand on climate change (we see you, Greta Thunberg). Those fierce women on the U.S. Women’s National Team dominated on the field and off, winning a second consecutive World Cup while fighting for equal pay for themselves and future players. The most diverse group of lawmakers in history was sworn in to Congress in January. And billionaire tech investor Robert F. Smith announced at the Morehouse College graduation that his family would create a grant to eliminate the student loans of the class of nearly 400 young men.

Here’s a quick trip through our most-read parenting stories from 2019 — a mix of the darkness and the light.

Mary Pflum Peterson thought the slow-moving, sweet “Mister Rogers” wouldn’t resonate with her four young children. But while she was working on a national television segment about the show, her children caught part of an episode. They were engrossed, she writes, and asked to watch more. Fascinated by their interest, she asked why they liked the show. “He likes kids, Mommy,” her daughter said. “Kids know when a grown-up likes them.”

Royal babies always seem to draw attention. In 2018, this story about the Duchess of Cambridge looking flawless just hours after delivering Prince Louis was one of our most-read pieces. This year, the Duchess of Sussex was in the parental spotlight, as she and Prince Harry welcomed a son, Archie, in May. Madhulika Sikka shared this piece about the powerful message Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sent by showing off her postpartum body in a dress that cinched just above her baby bump.

Jennifer Breheny Wallace wrote about new research that shows kids attending high-achieving schools — those with high standardized test scores, varied extracurricular and academic offerings, and graduates who head off to top colleges — are now an at-risk group for behavioral and mental health issues, along with kids living in poverty and foster care, recent immigrants and those with incarcerated parents.

Caitlin Gibson explored how the idea of having “just one” is catching on in America, and looked at the stigmas surrounding only children. Are they lonelier or less happy than kids who have one or more siblings? Probably not, she found. “The only kids are all right, as all right as any of their peers,” she concluded.

Amy Joyce wrote a helpful story with expert advice on how parents can help kids regroup after a bad day, without falling into the trap of trying to fix everything for them.

What were those parents thinking? It was the question on everyone’s minds when watching the Michael Jackson documentary “Leaving Neverland.” Amy Joyce talked to experts about how parents can be sucked in by predators, leaving their children vulnerable to abuse.

What would a year — any year — be without a story about a woman being shamed for breast-feeding in public? Yes, it’s 2019, and yes, it still happens. In this installment, the mom was asked to stop feeding her child at a public pool. A conflict with pool staff followed, and the police showed up.

The college admissions scandal in March led to the filing of criminal charges against several wealthy celebrities and a hard look at our parenting priorities. Are we pushing our kids too hard, and at what cost? Caitlin Gibson looked into a related — and alarming — trend: Parents trying to sabotage other students to give their kids a better shot at admission to an elite school.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1-4, but most parents don’t know what to look for, and don’t recognize the signs that something is wrong, writes Erin Strybis in this piece. She spoke to experts about some common misconceptions (for example, that drowning is loud, active and easy to spot) and what parents can do to prevent drowning accidents.

Marjorie Brimley interviewed Nora McInerney, the host of the podcast “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.” McInerney lost her husband and her father, and had a miscarriage, when she was 31, and uses the podcast to help people explore grief, pain and life after loss.

What kind of parenting stories and advice are you looking for in 2020? Let us know by commenting below or emailing onparenting@washpost.com.

Like On Parenting on Facebook for more essays, news and updates and sign up here for our newsletter.

More reading: