21 Awesome, Actionable Resolutions to Improve Your Parenting in 2016
The beginning of the new year is a time of transformation and excitement. There is no better occasion than the end of the year to sit back, take stock, and decide how you want to make positive changes in your life.
For parents especially, the beginning of the new year is very meaningful. Each positive change made has the potential to impact not only your own personal well-being, but also that of your Children.
Whether you have a couple resolutions in mind already or you are starting your brainstorming from scratch, we can all use a bit of inspiration. Here are some great tips to inspire any parent looking to set a goal or two in the new year…
There are only 940 weekends between your child’s birth and when they (hopefully) leave for college. Even though it seems as though you spend countless time with your children, one day you will look back on the time you had together and it will seem as though it went by in the blink of an eye. Do what you can to be fully there, fully present in the moment with your children when you are together.
- Set aside daily ‘parent time’. This is a specific part of your morning and/or evening to not focus on anything aside from your children and your role as a parent. Whether it’s just between 5-6PM, accept in your mind that during this period, your first priority will be family.
- Limit your device use. When you are being a parent, do not prioritize technology over your child. When you are focusing on ‘parent time’ there should be no tech. None. For anyone.
- Carve out a new one-on-one habit. Whether it’s reading a book together every night before bed, or walking the dog around the block, find something each of your children loves to do, and make that ‘your thing’ that you do one-on-one. They will cherish these moments forever, and so will you.
- Nurture your non-parent identity. Give yourself time to nurture your needs and interests outside of your role as a Mom or Dad. Doing so will allow you to be more engaged and balanced in your daily parenting.
- Take more pictures. You don’t want to be the parent who is taking photos in burst mode at every chance, but it is indeed very important to make an effort to take pictures often, especially on special occasions. These pictures will be incredibly valuable to both you and your children down the road.
Learn More About Your Children
You know everything about your child. You could map their scars and birthmarks, or recognize their laugh in a room of hundreds. But sometimes as parents, we can get into routines and ignore certain behaviors. Take the time to gain insight into a new mannerism, or learn something new about how you can parent an individual characteristic in your child. No two children are the same, or should be parented the same. Do what you can to customize your parenting to best suit the needs of your kid.
- Encourage new skills and interests. Ask your child to write a list of things they think they are good at, and things they are interested in learning more about. Support outside-of-the-box thinking; sharing at recess, climbing trees, or eating chocolate cake all count as skills! Then, take steps to help your child excel in these areas.
- Learn from screen time. Ask about what your child does online, and what apps they love most. This will allow you to gain insight into their true interests, and budding skills.
- Do research. What is unique about your child? Research how to parent an individual trait in detail. If you have a stubborn, independent child, you need to learn to parent a stubborn and independent child effectively.
Set a Positive Example
This is a big one, and chances are you’re already doing a great job (the very fact that you are reading this article is evidence of that!). It’s always important to consciously illustrate appropriate behavior and deliberate decision-making in front of your children, and then hold them to that same standard. After all, as we love to remind our parents on a regular basis, children learn more from what you DO than what you TEACH. There’s a difference!
- Practice what you preach. If you expect your kids to put their devices away at dinner, then you need to do the same. If you want your kids to eat their veggies, then make an effort to eat veggies on a regular basis (even if it’s just in front of them!).
- Keep your cool. All parents have trying moments, but your children learn how to handle stress and difficult situations from you. If you’re frustrated, take a moment to stop, breathe and settle down, then respond appropriately before you react impulsively. Patience and understanding go a long way with kids.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. If you eat well, exercise and take care of your mental health, you are teaching your kids very important lessons about wellbeing they will carry into adulthood.
So, you already manage your child’s device habits with OurPact. You know that setting healthy limitations on tech-time is essential to encourage tons of great stuff – physical well being, proper sleep habits, good manners, quality family time, good work habits, to name a few – but do you hold yourself to the same standards? Being wired into our devices 24/7 isn’t healthy. Give yourself a break.
- Get in sync. If you have your children on automated schedules with OurPact, set aside a certain part of their unplugged time to put your tech away as well and focus on relaxing or enjoying each other’s company.
- Delete your most used apps. Not for long, necessarily, but deleting your most time-sucking apps (ahem, Pinterest and Twitter) can go a long way in helping you break away from mindless device use habits.
- Message efficiently. If you’re like most of us, your phone is attached to your hip, and every time you get a message, email, phone call or text you know right away. Set up a system to more efficiently respond to messages. If you need to, let your friends, family and co-workers know about your system.
Use More Positive Language
Kids need positive reinforcement on a regular basis. If you stop and think about it, you can probably remember times when a teacher or one of your parents said something genuinely kind to you, or pointed out something that you are good at. Using positive language with kids is a great way to help build self-esteem, and will go a long way in changing your mentality as a parent as well.
- Say ‘I love you’ more. When they are eating breakfast, when you drop them at school, when they say something silly, when you tuck them in for bed. You get the picture. You can never tell a child you love them too much. Smother them in love and don’t let them forget for one second that they are your world.
- Always apologize. If you make a mistake or lose your patience, say you are sorry. And then, expect the same from them.
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- Put a positive spin on bad situations. Any time something happens that disappoints or upsets your child, encourage him or her to think of something good that came of it. No matter how silly it is, there is always a good thing that comes out of every bad scenario.
Learn Something New Together
Even if you’re in the process of teaching your kid how to tie their shoelaces right now, they have a lot more to teach you about this world we live in than you might think. Some of it is profound, and some of it is just plain practical (we could all use an elementary school brush-up…).
- Answer questions. Did you know that the average four-year-old asks 390 questions a day? That’s a lot. And chances are, most of them are getting pushed under the rug. If you don’t know an answer to a question, research it together. Encourage their thirst for knowledge. Bask in it yourself.
- Get a tech tutorial. Have your child teach you something new about tech. Do they use Minecraft? Ask for a tour. Are they learning to code? Ask them to show you the ropes. Your child’s spongy mind is growing up in a different time, and you probably have a lot more to learn about tech from them than you think.
- Read every day. This one is a favorite of ours. The benefits of reading daily with your child are limitless. Depending on your child’s age, either end the day with a short book, or start a bigger one that you read a bit of every night.
- Learn a new skill together. Whether it’s finger-knitting or how to start a garden, find a cool new hobby that you can learn more about with your child, and explore a new world together.
Being the best version of yourself is the best way to ensure that you are raising happy, healthy and balanced children. There is always room for improvement, so get started onthe new year with your best foot forward!
One of the best ways you can make a change that will impact your children positively is to consciously decide to become more involved in your kids mobile device habits. OurPact is a free application that allows parents to remotely manage children’s access to Internet and apps through automated schedules and at-a-touch blocking. That means no more arguments, and more quality family time! Download Now.
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