Resolutions for better and more mindful parenting in 2018

January 9, 2018

Since we’re on the resolutions/planning/good intentions for 2018 bandwagon, I thought I’d share some tips I read on CNN on ways to be a better parent this year.

While I prefer having goals/ambitions all-year round (read my blog post on my personal blog, Dear Max and Rebecca), I still think it’s great to have things to strive for at the beginning of the year, especially when it comes to parenting. I guess the goal is to try and keep up the great intentions.

Here are some of the resolutions that CNN featured, plus some of my own too.

Be there

When you’re with your kids, give them full, curious and happy attention.
Listen to them, respond, don’t let yourself be distracted by your phone, or future-thinking or your own agenda. Be fully there for them, giving what they need the most: your attention, combined with an openness that encourages them to share whatever is on their mind or what’s happening with them at that moment.

Don’t drive under the influence of your phone

There isn’t much that needs to be said here. Texting while driving or checking your phone takes your eyes off the road, and puts you and your child in danger. Also, by not using your phone while driving, you are also modelling the behaviour you would want your children to follow when they start driving.

Shout less, breathe more

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan found that tweens and teens whose parents yelled for discipline had increased behavioural issues including being violent. Another study linked yelling to lowering a child’s self-esteem and increasing the likelihood of depression.
It’s a hard one, especially when you’re angry/under stress, but rather take a break before you respond. (Obviously, if your child is in danger, then this guideline doesn’t apply).

Slow down

Life is fast-paced and demanding, but where you can, try to slow down and not schedule anything (much like we did in the old days!)

Decrease screen time

How much time is your child on their phones and tablets, and watching TV? Does it feel like too much? Could this time be replaced by other things, such as playing boardgames, building LEGO, reading, talking, cooking/baking together?

Look after yourself

You’ve heard the expression, happy parent = happy child, right? Kids benefit from happy parents, and there is nothing wrong with looking after yourself when it comes to social, creativity and health issues, and giving yourself some “me time”.
It’s okay to have fun
Sometimes we’re so busy parenting and ensuring our kids’ wellbeing and safety that we forget to have fun while doing it. Jump on the bed, splash in the puddles, get on the jumping castle (if it’s suitable for adults), camp out in the garden, dive bomb into the pool… these are the times that will be enjoyed, and treasured.

Ask yourself: is this really important?

Your toddler wants to go to nursery school in pyjamas, your son wants to eat ice cream for breakfast, your child wants to stay up until 9pm watching a movie with you… are these things really worth fighting about? If they are, then that’s okay, but my point is to try and find good reason why these things are “bad” before you say no or put up a fight.
The other day at a restaurant, my toddler walked around eating a small container of jam. I couldn’t find a good-enough reason to make her stop, so she continued, and enjoyed her jam. I didn’t even mind the cleanup afterwards!
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