Have you ever stopped to wonder why we make New Year’s resolutions? It turns out that the tradition dates back all the way to the Babylonians, some 4,000 years ago. Of course, they weren’t making resolutions to eat healthier, hit the gym more or spend less on frivolous coffee drinks. Instead, they were making promises to the Gods in hopes of receiving good fortune in the coming year.
Whether your resolutions include eating fewer carbs or building your rainy day fund, as parents, the New Year presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on your parenting.
What was our parenting resolution in 2023? We had just one — survive. And though it’s nice to know we followed through on last year’s short list, we’ve decided to raise the bar this year and expand our list of parenting resolutions a tad. Here are 10 good ones we’ll be trying in 2024:
Be more patient.
Parenting is one long, hard lesson in patience. This year, pay attention to your own needs and feelings more. Think before acting, practice deep breathing and always try to find the humor in each situation.
When you become a parent, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is quickly replaced by “I think I’ll die if I don’t sleep …” Try your best to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day.
Put down the phone for a few hours each day. Get involved with the kids by chatting, cleaning up, cooking, setting the table, going through the mail, playing games, etc.
Light up more.
Maya Angelou once asked, “Does your face light up when your child walks into the room?” When you first see your little one, make sure they know how happy you are to see them every day.
Listen more, talk less.
Ask your kids (and spouse), “What do you think? What are you feeling? Tell me about it. What would you do?”
Back away from the vacuum.
I am going to spend less time cleaning and more time playing! The kids won’t remember if the house was perfectly clean all the time but they will remember having fun with me.
Practice intentional parenting.
Being an intentional parent means that you aren’t constantly in reactionary mode to your kid’s behavior. Basically, have a plan, be involved and have realistic expectations.
Eat meals at the table, together.
If your mornings are hurried, try to eat dinner together as a family. This simple practice will lead to better nutrition, better school performance and better behavior.
Build your parenting support network.
Having friends to talk with, play with, cry and laugh with is an essential part of self-care. Meet potential new friends when you bring your kids to the park, preschool or library storytimes.
Don’t skimp on bedtime.
We all know how easy it is to rush through the routine, often out of sheer exhaustion, but let’s resolve to snuggle in or pull up a chair and really give it our all.