31 December 2016
The end of the year is upon us and one of the time-honored traditions of ringing in the new year is the New Year’s Resolution. It’s a good time for reflection and goal-setting for your next year as a parent as well as an individual. Here are some good New Year’s resolutions for parents to think about going into the new year.
1. Take time for yourself
The best way to be a present parent is to be a present person within yourself and your own life first. If you’re one of those parents who does Everything for your kids, it’s good to remind yourself how important it is that you take care of yourself as well. It’s not disengaging from your kids or family, it’s keeping yourself sharp for them. Take a night to yourself regularly to read a book, watch a show, take a bubble bath, meet a friend for coffee…whatever you can do to unwind and recalibrate. Resolving to take care of yourself in this way will set you up for a successful year for both yourself and your family.
2. Take time together with your partner
Similarly, you and your partner will be your most efficient and effective partnership and unit if you keep the bonds strong and alive between you, in constantly renewing and reaffirming ways. Date nights aren’t about taking a “break” from the kids or your parental duties, it’s part of your parental duty to stay fresh and connected and strong together. It’s worth building into your new year’s resolutions good quality time to stay close with your partner throughout the year.
3. Spend at least 10 minutes of 1:1 time with your child every day
It can be easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of life and not get a chance to spend actual one on one quality time with your child during the day, just doing something fun. Story time at bedtime is a good way to get this too, but resolve this year to make sure you spend at least 10 minutes a day with your child outside of such also-functional moments. Talk to them about their day or their thoughts, dance in the kitchen with them, do a craft together…whatever you want to do, but build in a chunk of time to do something fun every day.
4. Resolve to say Yes more often
Say Yes more often to opportunities that give you and your family time to bond, make memories, spend time together, and do things that actually matter together. Take that vacation. Go on that outing. Play hooky from work for a day if there’s something truly special going on, or if your child needs you. Life goes fast. Resolve to say Yes to it as often as you can.
5. Resolve to say No more often
Say No to life’s “busy work” or things that keep you busy but not necessarily moving forward in ways that are truly meaningful to you and your family. It’s great to be involved in your child’s school PTA or soccer team, but if you find it’s taking up more time than it’s actually worth for what you’re actually after – connection with your child and his or her life – then it may be time to reassess, and be vigilant to not take on new responsibilities that will have the same countering effect.