Six Parenting New Years Resolutions

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I used to hate New Years resolutions. They struck me as a repetitive exercise in futility and inevitably, disappointment. Every year as the end of December rolled around, I’d promise that next year I’d lose those couple of pesky extra kilos, that I’d religiously go to my Muay Thai classes every week, that I’d send all of those personalized, handwritten Christmas thank you notes.

You can guess how all of those ended up.

Parenting Resolutions

Here’s the thing about myself and every other mother I know: we’re hard on ourselves. We were raised in a world that demanded we be practically perfect practically all the time. We were told as little girls that we should be driven, successful career-women, while at the same time being super-mommies ready to spend six hours helping our nine-year-olds on their school science fair project. We were told that we could have it all and that we could do it all.

And whenever we’re anything less than perfect, we feel like we’re somehow underachieving. Over the years, I’ve slowly but surely learned to cut myself (and, as a result, the people around me) a little more slack. It’s made me a far kinder person, and as I’ve focused less on unreachable goals, I’ve slowly gotten better at obtaining my smaller ones.

So this year, I’m applying the same philosophy to my New Years resolutions. I am resolving to be a better parent, but I’m giving myself more reasonable goals. Here are some little things I hope to achieve for myself, my husband and my children.

  1. I will read to my children at least three nights a week. This is such a simple, concrete thing you can do that will help your child in so many ways. It’s way better bonding time than vegetating around the TV, it helps your child learn to read, and it will teach them that books can be a fun part of their daily lives.
  2. I will teach my children to be kind to others and lead by example. Kids are brilliant mimics, and if they see you behaving one way, they’re liable to follow it, even if you tell them otherwise. So stop and think before you gossip about your annoying neighbor or yell at a waiter. Your children are watching you and learning how to treat others for the rest of their lives.
  3. I will count to three before I lose my temper. I remember my mom telling me to do this when I was little, and the technique is just as good for adults as it is for kids. On days when your children are driving you up the wall, take a deep breath and try to keep your cool. They’ll learn a lot by how you deal with anger.
  4. I will make time every week to listen to my family members. Between work and school projects and meetings, it just isn’t possible to have the whole family home at once. When we are though, I like to give a set time for everyone to voice their thoughts or concerns. Every so often, we sit around in a circle and say one thing that we’re happy about/grateful for, and one thing that we’re sad/angry/concerned about. It sounds cheesy, but it works, and the structure makes it easy for kids to share.
  5. I will try to give my family healthy food and exercise without being militant. Every parent wants their child to be healthy and happy. The important thing is to do it with the right attitude. For example, I try to keep healthy snacks around the house, but if my kids want to have a soda every now and then, I don’t make a big deal of it. Similarly, I encourage my kids to have fun playing sports and be physically active whenever I can, but I never mention things like calories or body weight around them. Society will put plenty of pressure on them as they get older. My goal for now is to subtly help them develop the right habits without being overly strict.
  6. I will set aside one weekday as a family activity night. Every Thursday night, my family does something together. This can be a card came, a movie (with popcorn, of course), or just about anything. The important thing is that we have a weekly routine that we stick to and that we carve out time in our schedules for each other.

I hope you and your family have a bright and prosperous New Year. What are your resolutions or hopes for the next year? We always love to hear from you. Just leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: daspader via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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