I love the New Year – so many possibilities, and a clean slate to start on. I realise that most people’s New Year resolutions don’t last, bla bla bla. But still, the opportunity is there which I personally find inspiring. And I do believe that we need goals and plans in order to grow and develop. Even if they don’t always work out as planned, where are you going to land if you don’t aim for anything?
The one arena in my life which I came to realise probably has the biggest scope for improvement is my parenting skills. And this is OK. You can’t really understand the challenges parenting brings until you actually become a parent. I’ve moved from blaming myself for all my self-perceived failures, to rather looking for ways to overcome my challenges and to enjoy my kids.
So without further ado, let me share three New Year’s resolutions for families that everyone can benefit from.
New Year’s resolutions for families
- 10 minutes quality time
So many days pass where I am so busy with everything else that I don’t actually spend alone time with each of my children. And while it may be difficult to do in a full and busy day, with quality time a little goes a long way. Even just fitting in 10 minutes a day will have a positive effect on your relationship with your child.
Here are some tips:
- Link your time-slot to an already-established routine in the house, as this will make it so much easier to stick to. For example, 10 minutes after dinner or bath time.
- What you do in these 10 minutes should be completely in your child’s control. This will make her feel that she’s important to you and that she has a say in what happens in your relationship. If it’s something that you don’t feel like doing, suck it up – it’s only for 10 minutes!
- Set a timer. Your child will feel secure as she will know that this time is safe and set.
- Put your phone out of reach. Whoever is looking for you can wait 10 minutes.
- If you have more than one child you may need your partner to step in with the others, to ensure that each get their own slot.
- Make an effort to switch off your own wants and expectations, and simply get to know and accept your kid exactly as they are.
- Read more
Children love stories, and it’s actually such an easy way to keep them busy and to calm them down at the end of the day. It’s also good for their development on so many levels. Reading stimulates the brain and helps to develop speech and creativity. It also broadens children’s horizons and helps them to develop empathy and insight into other people’s viewpoints.
Make it happen:
- Right before bedtime is the ideal opportunity for reading a story. If it becomes part of their evening routine it will also help them to calm down and fall asleep more easily.
- Choose your reading material. There are so many lovely books out there. You don’t even need to buy them all. You can exchange books with friends, or visit a library.
- Keep it interesting. Discuss the pictures with them, or give your own comments on what’s happening in the book. Use different voice tones for the different characters and make sure they can see the each page.
- If the story is too long or if the dialogue irritates you nothing stops you from making it up as you go along. You don’t have to read every word.
- Boost your family’s health
As the people around me grow older, I’ve come to realise our bodies’ physical and mental well-being should be a top priority. Many people are simply reckless with their health. And it’s one of those things that you don’t miss until it’s gone.
It’s scary to think that you are lying down your children’s lifestyle habits. It can be difficult to boost healthy eating and exercise without creating issues around food and weight.
Instead of placing a focus on all that you should not be doing, in this year simply focus on introducing more foods and activities that boost your health.
- Add a few tasty and healthy snacks to your week’s grocery list and simply have it in the house instead of unhealthy alternatives. Be creative – there are loads of ideas on the internet for snacks that are both affordable and easy to prepare.
- There are many healthy foods that you are not eating simply because you are not really familiar with it. Explore options like plant proteins (beans and lentils), chia seeds or some less-common vegetables. Once again Google holds numerous ideas and recipes with something for everyone.
- Buy each family member a nice water bottle. Water intake is crucial and most people find it easier to drink enough water if they use a bottle instead of a glass. Plus keep it interesting by trying some fruit infusions.
- We can’t always remove sweet and salty treats from our kids’ diets, but you can easily reduce the amounts. Instead of buying each a full packet of sweets, give them a few sweeties in a small container. Most little ones are happy with this if they don’t see the source. Dilute fruit juice with water, and pour smaller glasses of cool drinks that you fill up with ice.
- Pick family outings and activities that involve physical exercise. Go hiking or swimming, take them to Bounce instead of a movie, arrange a play date at a restaurant with a nice outside play area, or go to the zoo.
I think all parents feel overwhelmed and too busy. Make time to make New Year’s resolutions for families and make 2020 a year to slow down a bit and focus more on simple things like these. In the long run you will reap the rewards.