New Year brings hope and positivity in all of our lives. With events happening throughout the year, we all feel tired and exhausted. New Year means renewed energy and a fresh perspective to everyday things. Around this time of the year, I see a lot of Social Media activity with people’s resolutions such as fitness goals, career goals, personal goals – marriage, etc. As individuals, working professionals, we are determined to make our “New Year Resolutions” and attempt to succeed in achieving those. But I feel it is my moral obligation to set Parenting goals. Being a parent, I feel it is important for me to have “Parent-Resolutions”. This is my personal philosophy and I think it works.
Parenting is a responsibility, but also one of the most wonderful journey anyone can embark upon. Being “mommy” to my son is the most cherished thing in life. My job, home, cooking, etc. are everyday things but parenting to me is special. It is one that comes without a “Guidebook” or “Manual”. With 2020 being such a special year, I had opportunities to look at myself as a mother. It also posed a similar opportunity to both my husband and me as parents. There are things beyond everyday activities that I feel can make parenting more fun and a learning process. Here are some New Year Resolutions from my personal experience that Parents can consider going into the New Year:
- Dedicate Time to your Child(ren): This is one of the most important and the most challenging resolution. With our busy lives, working, taking care of the family needs, between school and day cares, etc. we forget to spend dedicated time with our child. I use the term “dedicated” intentionally to emphasize the time where there is relatively nothing between you and your child. You are 100% devoted to your child. This will allow you to understand your child better, know more about them and other things that are important to your child.
- Get Off the Devices/Gadgets: I think all of you will 100% agree with me that our lives have been consumed by devices/gadgets such as mobile phones, smart watches, tablets, laptops, etc. I think we know most of our kids are more active on social media rather than talking to you/living beings who are around them in the same space. Gadgets have become our lifelines without which we cannot function. This resolution is not to take away all the devices/gadgets and live in the primitive age, but to get off those for some time through the day. This ties back with #1; this could be your dedicated time with your child(ren). Everyone follows the rules & enjoy being together.
- Plan Family Activities: In my entire life, I never had undertaken/organized so many family activities as I did in 2020. The pandemic not only affected our everyday lives, it certainly impacted/changed the way we planned family time. Most vacation/holidays throughout the year in my life were travelling or vacationing. But this year, all those holidays were spent at home, not to mention, in the most memorable way. You can plan activities where all of the family members in the household can come together. Some fun activities you can plan according to your child’s age could be a craft/art project, a puzzle building contest, make your own Lego creations, play games such as Bingo/Housie, Pictionary, Uno, Monopoly, etc., or have a theatre-style movie night with popcorn. The purpose is to spend time with your child and planning activities they like can make it more fun!
- Learn to Say “Yes”: Being a parent myself, I find being one of the “No-No” parents at times. It is hard to always expect our child to do certain things at a certain time in a certain way. Constant refusals can be hard on them and also might impact their ability to explore. Sometimes letting them play in the mud or snow and saying “Yes” to a mid-night ice cream craving could be encouraging to them!
- Learn to Say “No” to Yourself: There are times when as a parent you lose your cool. Be it the mess your child makes by leaving the toys all over the house, or scribble their play desk with permanent markers. In times that test your patience, say “No” to getting mad, or yelling in that moment. May be you need to speak to your child and explain but at that moment neither of you are in the state of conversation – you are angry and your child is fearful. Take a deep breathe and get to work.
- Be a Good Listener: All your child sometimes needs is someone to listen to them. Whether it be something that happened at school or child care centre or their feelings, it is important for them to be listened. It allows them to express what they feel helping them become better listeners themselves and feel the comfort they need at the moment.
- Praise Your Child(ren): One thing we all expect from our child is to do good in their endeavours. Remember to always appreciate irrespective of their success or progress. Sometimes scribbling on sheets of paper is what gives your child the happiness of being “Picasso” of his own creation. It is hard but extremely important for your child to feel praised and supported.
- Indulge into a Conversation rather than an Argument: I found myself frustrated at times when my son was on a constant “Why?” mission. Most times I would smile and respond to him, but other times I left it to him to explain me. Sometimes we would argue over putting his toys in the bin versus leaving them out on display the whole month. But I realized once I explained to him the purpose of putting it away so he wouldn’t lose them, he reconciled well. Our arguments faded away with healthy conversations where he threw examples of my work supplies that I tucked away post work each day. Conversations are much better and can contribute to raising a more understanding human being.
- Assign Responsibility: I have noticed in my four-year-old son, the sense of pride he feels when he is assigned a task which is his responsibility to ensure it is completed. Be it a simple task of putting his clothes in the laundry bin every time he changes or setting the dinner table. He feels his own boss. This is an important quality you as a parent can induce in your child since the early age. It also requires you to be involved and ensure you are doing your part!
- Be Flexible: Most of us are all victims of the clock and our routines are very much pre-set. Sometimes it is hard to accept the lateness. It is necessary you remain flexible and open to throwing away that schedule out of the window for a day or two or more if needed. My son is allowed in my bed to co-sleep only on Friday nights. But there are some random nights he needs me more than anything else. I am open to pulling him from his crib and holding him tight in my arms while he rests his head on my shoulder. As much I want him to be on the routine, accepting the fact that he is still a little being trying to understand this world makes life easier for me.
With 2020 being such a different year, here is a bonus resolution which I think each of us needs as Parents and also as children to our parents (no matter how old we get, we are still their prince or princess). It is Bring and Share Positivity. I think we all need this more than ever. Remain positive and share optimism about the situation you or your child face with courage, it can certainly make it easy to fall with the fall and flow with the flow!!!
May the New Year bestow upon your courage and power to hold it together for your family, especially your child. Wishing you and yours a very Happy, Positive & Family-oriented New Year!!!