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6 Parenting Resolutions to Make This Year

posted: 01/05/16
by: Courtney Reimer
woman with kid doing homework
iStock

It's the time of year when you've probably made all kinds of resolutions to eat better, exercise better, or budget better. But it's also a good time to take stock of how you're parenting. No parent will ever be perfect, but here's how we're going to strive to be just a little bit better this year.

1. Put away your phone. We all sneak a peek at the phone from time to time when we're supposed to be giving our kids undivided attention, but if you can ban yourself from looking at it for a good 30 minutes at the end of the day, when you can catch up with what you both have been up to for the past 8 or so hours, you'll be surprised at how much more connected you feel. (We'd love to see a reverse-engineered version of this app that disables kids' phones until they respond to their parents' texts.)

2. Be more patient. Kids move at their own pace. They haven't quite learned what "school starts in 15 minutes and you haven't eaten your breakfast yet" really means, and they certainly don't have a deep appreciation for "mommy's going to be late if you don't zip up your coat and get out the door already." But perhaps rather than getting them to speed up, the answer is to slow down to their pace a bit. If you know they're going to need an extra 10 minutes to get out the door, plan to be ready yourself 10 minutes earlier so you can help them along instead of fuming.

3.Don't do their work for them. With all of the standardized testing and huge homework requirements, it can be tempted to help your kids more than might be considered helpful. Step back and give them a chance to really learn it and make their learning their own.

4. Tell them why you love them. Every day. Better yet, show them you love them by accepting them for who they are. So you were a gymnastics star who stuck the landing every time and your kid would prefer to read a new book every month. Show you appreciate who they are and support their differences.

5. Break the rules. Yes, we know kids thrive on routine. It gives them a sense of security and limits. But if one night you choose to skip bath and instead have dance party in the kitchen, we're sure that'll make a memory that sticks with them (and one night of extra grime won't kill them).

6. Make time for yourself. What, you thought this list was going to be all about the kids? Well, you know how in the emergency instructions on a plane they say to secure your own air mask before helping others? The same philosophy applies to non-emergency scenarios. If you're not feeling yourself -- if you haven't had a haircut in months, can't remember the last time you felt that post-workout high, or are in dire need of a girls' night -- then you won't be any good to your kids.

Feel free to print this out and keep it with you all year. These ideas don't expire after January.