Thinking of setting your New Year resolutions? Whether you’re a parent or not, it’s important to reflect on the year that’s passed and take note of what you wish you could have done differently. This is doubly important when it comes to your kids.
Wish you could’ve listened more instead of shouting at your child right away? Wish you could’ve played with them more instead of locking yourself up in the office?
For the year that’s gone by, what’s done is done. But thank goodness you have another year to make things right.
Here are some New Year resolution ideas you may want to take into consideration:
New Year Resolution 1: Resolve to empathise with your child more
As your child gets older, they will discover several new tasks that they must learn to master. Whether it’s something as seemingly simple as tying their shoelaces or completing their math homework, the world is full of “firsts” that your child must bravely conquer. However, there will be days wherein they will struggle so hard trying to get things done that they may end up feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.
While all of this is going on, you may be feeling frustrated too. On one hand, you want your child to learn on his own, but it’s also taking every ounce of your strength to not jump in to help them out. You may feel yourself getting frustrated at your child’s inability to accomplish a task that you either sit back in exasperation or you jump in and “help” while admonishing them.
By resolving to empathise with your child more, you must remember to put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you were just learning to tie your shoes but couldn’t get it no matter how hard you tried? Would a parent breathing down your neck help? Or would you rather have a parent who was patient and who’d encourage you until you get the task done?
Be the parent that the 5-year-old you would want, it’s most likely the same thing that your child would want from you.
New Year Resolution 2: Resolve to shout less, and to talk more
As a parent, it is important to remember that we model acceptable behavior for our children. Therefore, if they see us shouting time and time again, they may come to consider it as a norm.
To avoid this, avoid shouting whenever possible and find opportunities for open communication instead. If you feel like your child is misbehaving, try to avoid shouting at them from across the room. Walk up to them, get down to their level, make sure you establish eye contact and give suggestions on how they can better manage their emotions.
New Year Resolution 3: Resolve to ‘catch’ your kids being good
As a mum, I find myself always on the look out to see if my kids are up to no good. Now that I look back at the year, I wonder how many incidents of good behaviour I overlooked just because I was so busy waiting for my kids to mess up?
This time around, I’d like for all parents to resolve that we look at the good things that our children are doing and to immediately praise them for it. For example, if you see your children playing peacefully together, say, “Wow! I love how nicely you’re all playing together. Good job!”
Your child will revel in the positive attention and will most likely repeat the good behavior, thus giving you a well- behaved child and you a more positive attitude when dealing with them.
New Year Resolution 4: Resolve to follow through
It’s important that you stick to your word. If you show your child that your word cannot be trusted, it may hurt them in the long run.
How so? If you have promised your child a treat after they showed good behaviour but don’t deliver, it shows your child that you may not be trusted and this could negatively affect your relationship, as well as their motivation to behave well.
On the other hand, if you aren’t strict with what you say you’d do when it comes to punishment and you constantly let your child off the hook, then they may repeat the improper behavior again and again.
So to avoid this, it is important to practice consistency and to follow through with praise and with discipline.
New Year Resolution 5: Resolve to have more one-on-one time
This is especially true for families with two or more children. One-on-one time allows parent and child to spend time together doing something that both parties enjoy; thus, building special rapport a parent will need for effective parenting.
One-on-one time is meaningful time spent together, doing activities like arts and crafts, playing together in the park or simply chatting with one another over ice cream. This personal interaction allows you to develop an emotional bond, so be sure to keep your focus on your child. Put away your gadgets and switch off your phone. Your child will thank you for the time you spent solely focused on them.
New Year Resolution 6: Resolve to introducing your child to new food each week
Whether or not you have a picky eater, exposing your child to a variety of foods is ultimately something that will be beneficial to their health. So be it a new vegetable or protein, try to incorporate a new ingredient to their meal once a week.
The goal is to slowly introduce the new foods to their diet, not to force feed them.
New Year Resolution 7: Resolve to read to your kids more
As parents, we are told time and time again to read to our tots because reading contributes to the development of their intelligence and to their communication and thinking skills. But did you know that it also fosters a strong parent-child relationship too?
As your child grows, they’ll soon be busy with schoolwork, running around, or going off on “grand adventures” with their playmates. You may also be busy with work and household chores.
Reading time may be one of the best times the both of you can sit back, relax, and cuddle with each other.
New Year Resolution 8: Resolve to enjoy the great outdoors with your kids
Aside from being able to enjoy not being cooped up at home or in the office, playing with your kids outside allows them to master emerging physical skills such as running, jumping, throwing, and catching. Being outside gives them time to learn through their senses — there’s an abundance of nature that they can feast their eyes on, to train their ears on, to smell, to touch and even to taste (with caution, of course).
Additionally, spending time outdoors can help to encourage an active lifestyle which will set them up with good healthy habits for their future.
New Year Resolution 9: Resolve to take better care of yourself
You’ve most likely been told this before, but really, how many times a week do you take time out of your schedule to do nothing but relax? To kick back with your gadgets switched off and your children with a babysitter? Mums should be able to take a break every now and then, especially since you wear so many hats! Mom, wife, doctor, cook, and more.
Taking a break is important to help you with your mental, physical and emotional health. It can be challenging to keep running forward without any rest, and sometimes, you need to put yourself first.
So do yourself a favor and book that massage right now! You’ll see in the long run that by taking care of yourself, you find yourself more revitalised and energised to tackle whatever comes your way.
New Year Resolution 10: Resolve to spend more time with your partner
Now that we’ve finished reminding you how important it is to take care of yourself, equally as important is you taking care of your spouse. When you become a parent, “me-time” along with “couple time” dwindles drastically.
Make time to bond with your spouse as much as you can as this will help to strengthen your communication and your marriage, and facilitates open conversation in the family. This also provides a good example to your children for their own future relationships.
This article was first published on theAsianparent Philippines.