The 10 Best New Year's Resolutions for Parents

Written by: Sarah Cobb

As we wrap up another year, we are all reading and thinking about New Year's Resolutions.  As parents, lets all try to focus on what will make our most important job better, more fun, and bring on lots of little smiles and hugs.  These are resolutions worth keeping!

  1. Read more.  No matter how young or old you baby is, read more to and with your child. Read anything - books, magazines, newspapers, greeting cards, street signs, menus, and more. 
  2. Unplug more.  Put down the phone, cell, ipad, laptop, or tv remote for at least the 1-2 hours after getting home. Get them involved in chatting, cleaning up, cooking, setting the table, going through the mail, etc. They grow up so fast – take more time to savor the now with them while you can.
  3. Talk more.   They really just want to hear your voice and get your attention.  Some of the best times to get them to open up is when they are lying in bed about to fall asleep and while you are in the car.
  4. Listen more.  Ask questions and listen. “Tell me one thing you liked about today?”  “What food did you like at lunch?  “What are your favorite colors?”  Try “Roses and Thorns” – dialogue about what was great and what was not so great during their day.  It is amazing what you can learn from your conversations – even if they are mostly babble.
  5. Understand more.  When your child is behaving badly, it may be because he is feeling badly.  Try to understand what happened, why your child is upset, and learn together how to encourage better behavior. Slow everything down and spend time figuring out what is going on....are they anxious, tired, hungry, distressed.
  6. Plan less.  Stay home, don't plan anything, and just play with your children. We take our kids to so many activities, museums, and events and often the thing they want to do most is stay home so you can read and play together.
  7. Stay calm.  When your child loses it and has a meltdown, the best thing you can do is not respond.  And we all know this seems impossible.  Our gut reactions (verbal and non-verbal) tend to escalate the situation and create awful power struggles.
  8. Be more specific.  When it comes to giving your child feedback (good or bad) – specifics instruction and information will help your child to truly get it. Help your child understand what to do and what they did right.  Rather than  “don’t run” – try "use your walking feet".
  9. Judge less.  As parents, we are all trying our best. We can read all the books out there but we have to know our child--what works for one family will not work for another and that is ok. It is hard enough to be a parent without having someone else making you feel guilty for what you are doing wrong.
  10. Light up more. Maya Angelou once asked, "Does your face light up when your child walks into the room?".  When you get home from work and first see your little one, or when she wanders into your room in the morning – do you show her how much you love her and how happy you are to see her?  Don’t miss this precious opportunity everyday.

photo credit: bambibabe48 via photopin cc

Posted on January 03, 2013 at 10:24 PM