The start of a new year is the perfect time for a fresh start in many areas of your life, including parenting. Chances are if you’re like me, you had your fair share of parenting dilemmas this past year. Here’s my Top 10 List for positive parenting resolutions we can all work on together:
- Spend less. Spend less time nagging, pleading, and bribing your child. Instead, spend more time teaching them what you expect so you can spend more time together making memories.
- Eat right. Take time to eat together as a family. Meals eaten around the family dinner table help children learn important social and life skills.
- Get organized. My family can be extremely disorganized, which causes our days to be crazy! Work together to make fun and workable routines. My suggestion: Have each person create index cards with their activities and put them on the fridge.
- Get out of debt. De-stress your life and reduce greedy behavior by spending less on gadgets that kids don’t need to be successful. You get to save money and spend time as a family.
- Help others. Be a role model and help your children learn what’s really important in life. Have each person choose their favorite community charity and learn as a family the important lessons of giving to others.
- No bad language. Do not call your kids names like lazy, bratty, stupid, wimpy, or grumpy. Negative words can hinder a child’s potential to grow and learn. If they have a behavior that has you frustrated, let them know, but don’t let it become the description of your child.
- Kick bad habits. I have the bad habit of losing my temper with my teenager. This year, I’m going to try doing the opposite of what she does. In other words, whatever she does that pushes my buttons (rolling her eyes, arguing, or raising her voice), I will do the opposite (focus calmly on her eyes, talk less, speak calmly) to teach her the skill of being calm.
- Read more. There are many great television programs out there now for kids, but nothing can replace reading and learning together. Pick out Julia Cook’s latest book to help teach social skills to your young child.
- Reduce your screen time. Turn your smartphone off. I know you feel like you need to be connected all the time and always be available. When you’re home, though, that’s time reserved for your family. The only ones you should be available to are your kids.
- Keep your resolutions. If you need some help or additional parenting tips, check out one of our Common Sense Parenting classes in your neighborhood, visit Parenting.org, or order a DVD to watch in your home.
Bridget Barnes is the Boys Town Common Sense Parenting® Director