There is something hopeful and "shiny" about a new year. Whatever blunders were made in the past have been washed away and we begin with a clean slate. We decided this year that we were not going to guilt ourselves into thinking that we were bad parents. We all try and be the best parents that we can, but there will always be room for improvement. This year we decided to find realistic resolutions that were more like good habits. Research shows that 80% of people have given up on their new years resolutions by Valentines, but by changing habits you are more likely to stick to them.
Realistic Resolutions to actually keep
Our promise is to be more patient, present and imaginative parents. By making changes that are realistic, we hope to be able to keep them up all year. The key is to not be too ambitious and set resolutions that are not practical or unrealistic so that you don't feel like you have failed.
We looked at other realistic resolutions from moms all over the world. Comment below with yours, we would love to include them on our list.
Don’t say ‘no’ as much, or don't say "don't"
By changing the way that you phrase things, you remove the negative connotations and make alternatives not feel like a punishment. Instead of saying, "No, you can't have ice-cream" say "we have your favourite yoghurt". By reducing the amount of times you say "don't" it will have a positive effect. Saying "please be nice to your brother" instead of "don't talk to him like that" makes the decision feel like a choice for your child instead of an order.
Cap your work day
Leave the office at the office, or cap your work day at 6pm. This may not always be possible, but try and do this as often as you can. You kids may not act out as much if they feel that you are spending quality time with them instead of giving them half of your attention. Get your partner involved and schedule in some family fun time. Be realistic about what your work load needs and don't feel guilty about having to compromise. Perhaps you can cap work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while your partner works and vice versa. Make a realistic resolution to be present where you can.
Make one dinner for the whole family
Our realistic resolution is to give our family a healthier diet and not creating special meals for every member of the family. Often even when we make their favourite chicken nuggets - they still won't eat it anyway. Sometimes we use the justification that we want them to eat without arguments and catering to their needs helps this. This year we are going to try and expand their palettes and encourage adventurous eating. Add more fruits and veg to ever meal, cut back on sugary drinks and limit junk food. Serve meals in bite size, kid friendly portions. Experts say that when you have a meal together as a family and kids see parents eating and enjoying their meal they are more likely to eat too. We want to raise healthy children, so that means them eating veggies too. Find recipes that you all enjoy as a family and try to do more meal planning. For us this includes not eating the kids leftovers, but creating homemade meals that we enjoy instead of bribing with McDonalds and other takeaways.
In fact this extends to all forms of bribery, not just bribing at meal times. This year we want to not use food as a reward or punishment for any behaviour. Rewards for good behaviour will be focused on fun activities and not around sweets or toys. Our realistic resolution is to give rewards of a day out to the beach or park instead. It can be a lot easier to bribe our kids but long term we are fuelling the tantrum fires. We also resolve to buy less, this leads to less clutter in the long term.
Focus on physical
This year we plan on sneaking in some exercise in fun and non-competitive ways. The goal is one hour of physical activity a day - and this includes parents too. Less Xbox and more fresh air. It can be easy to let electronics entertain your kids, but this year we plan on being more present and enjoying activities with them. Encouraging a healthy attitude to exercise will have long-term positive effects on your kids. More bike rides, beach walks, dance contests and relay races - anything outside that gets the blood pumping.
This is going to be the challenge for us to always stay on top of clutter and cleaning. We don't mean ensuring that every task is completed; laundry, dusting, cleaning and maintenance is a never ending cycle and will never be completed. Instead of binge watching TV series, this year our realistic resolution is to do more creating and domestic tasks. Baking cookies with the kids, doing arts and crafts to recycle and folding laundry while singing songs. We plan on finding ways to make chores fun and get the whole family involved. This is where our creativity will be tested. By making cards and gifts for family instead of buying, we plan on being able to spend time with the kids and encourage their creative side.
Stress less about the mess, the kids and life in general. Dishes can wait another day, so we plan on finding the balance between cleaning and family time. Schedule in some "me-time" for everyone. Even the little ones need some time and space to encourage independent play. Don't be too focused on scheduling activities for every moment of the day. Children need to use their imagination to play and by making all the decisions for them they often don't develop this skill. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and what milestones their kid has reached. Be supportive of other moms and learn to admire and forgive yourself. Land the helicopter and stop hovering over every aspect of our child's life.
"Nothing is miserable unless you think it so; and on the other hand, nothing brings happiness unless you are content with it."
Be more thoughtful about screen time and media
We plan on spending a bit more time being conscious of what our little ones are exposed to and how much time they spend. Teach your kids to make good choices when it comes to media and monitor their use. Even fast-paced cartoons can have negative effects when it comes to learning and behavioural development.
Mother and wife
We need to remember that we are both mother and partner. Sometimes we get too fixated with all the other things that we forget what our partner even looks like. This year we want to not give all our time to being a good mom and dad - but to being a good partner too. Giving our kids a good example of a healthy relationship is also important. By seeing a loving relationship they will feel more secure, confident and blessed. We plan on setting realistic goals involving date night and some "us" time. Don't be a martyr and sacrifice everything to lose yourself. Take responsibility for the choices that you make and learn to strike the balance. By going to the gym and putting yourself first some of the time, you are teaching your kids that you are also important.
Patience is a virtue
Every mommy probably makes this promise - to be more patient with my kids. At the end of a long work day our nerves are frazzled and we snap at our kids, only to regret it. Our realistic resolution is to try and take a deep breath, (at least half of the time). When the little monster is throwing a temper tantrum we resolve to try and remain calm. Just because one of us is throwing a tantrum - it shouldn't mean that we both are! This involves ensuring that both parents get enough sleep and sharing the load. Bed by 11pm latest and no more late night TV sessions.
Work through tantrums
We plan on helping our children work through their tantrums and teach them to express themselves in a constructive manner. This realistic resolution will take all of the patience and creativity for the year, but we plan on trying!
Lastly, we plan on giving ourselves a break! We are all doing this parenting thing the best way we can.
What realistic resolutions do you have? Comment below and let us know.