6 Parenting Resolutions You Can Keep in 2019
You’ve purchased a new gym membership or meal planning service for the next month. You’ve decided THIS is going to be the year you finally get out of debt or you resolved to finish the degree you started several years ago.
And while I’m cheering you on for those resolutions and I want you to look back on 2019 as the year you finally followed through on your important intentions, might I suggest you add something different to your list this year?
A resolution that will impact your family for years to come. A resolution that will bring peace and joy into your home in ways you’ve never experienced. A resolution that will reconnect you with your children in a meaningful way.
This, sweet friends, is a resolution you can keep: Become the parent you’ve always wanted to be in 2019.
In order to make that resolution a reality, I want to share 6 practical things you can start doing today. This isn’t a resolution about doing MORE, but rather a resolution about doing BETTER – both better for you and better for your children.
You CAN become the parent you’ve always dreamed of being. Don’t let the gym memberships or new workout routines or financial goals be the only resolutions you make this year.
Resolve to be the best you can for the most important people in your life. Resolve to make these 6 changes today and I guarantee you’ll enter 2020 with undeniable confidence as a parent.
1. Rethink the Way You Spend Time With Your Kids
“Wait, what?” you might be asking. “I spend 10 HOURS with my kids every day! What is there to rethink?!
I hear you, friend, but consider your day-in-day-out time with the kids. How often are you multitasking with dinner or laundry or the bazillion other things on your list?
While we’re physically WITH our kids, we’re not always fully present in mind, body and soul. (Myself included.)
Because of that, we pay a price. If kids don’t get some “fully present and engaged” time with us during the day, they will have their attention baskets filled one way or another – whining, clinging, interrupting, fighting with siblings. Do any of those sound familiar?
All of these behaviors get your attention – albeit negative attention. I know that may seem silly to think a child would seek out negative attention if they didn’t get positive attention. But the truth is, kids simply want their baskets filled.
However, you can turn those behaviors around by making a small tweak to the time you already spend with your kids. I’m talking kid-centered, intentional, and directly labeled time.
I’m suggesting you spend 10 INTENTIONAL minutes each day one-on-one with each of your kids. Here at Positive Parenting Solutions, we call this Mind, Body and Soul time because it has incredible effects on the health of your child’s mind, body, and soul.
By kid-centered, I mean your child is in control of the 10 minutes—they call the shots. A tea party? Lego building? Dressing up daddy? A tickle fight? Listening to their favorite music with your teen? Whatever the kid chooses, you oblige. (As long as it’s an activity that can reasonably be accomplished in 10-15 minutes.) By giving your child the power during this time, you help fill their power buckets in incredible ways.
By intentional, I mean no distractions—put down your phone, don’t answer that email, turn off the show you’re watching. Your child is the center of your universe for these 10 minutes and it’s critical you are fully-present for your time with her.
Lastly, be sure to label Mind, Body and Soul Time at the outset (you can call it whatever you want) and when it’s finished, say, “I sure enjoyed our special time today! I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!” Your child will benefit from knowing you’re committed to your time, plus you’ll get credit in his mind for time well spent.
Note: For Positive Parenting Solutions Members, revisit Session 1 to learn more about Mind, Body and Soul Time and check out the advanced module “The Busy Parents Guide to Mind, Body & Soul Time” for extra help.
2. Ensure Your Child Gets Enough Sleep
Sleep matters…a lot. Kids would never admit it, but they need regular bedtimes and plenty of sleep to be at their best. These key components to a healthy, calm lifestyle, however, are sometimes the first things we abandon as we celebrate the holiday season—and they’re the most daunting piece to restore in January.
So how do we back up bedtime from the late hours we’ve grown used to keeping?
The most effective way to get your kids more sleep is to keep bedtimes early and consistent throughout the week, without much more than a 15-minute difference on the weekends. If you give in to a late bedtime once, kids will think the hour on the clock is always up for negotiation.
Note: For Positive Parenting Solutions Members, check out the advanced module “Curing the Bedtime Blues” if you need assistance streamlining your bedtime routine.
3. Retool Routines
Once you’ve reset bedtimes, refresh your evening routine so that the not-so-fun stuff (brushing teeth, picking out an outfit for the next day) comes before the good stuff (reading with Mom or Dad until lights out at 8:30).
We call this a When-Then Routine, and it can revolutionize all the tricky times of the day. For example, WHEN your child is done studying his French verbs, THEN he can have 30 minutes of technology time. Or WHEN your daughter gets dressed, packs her backpack, and makes her bed, THEN she can eat breakfast.
Be sure the very last item in the routine—enjoying media time, perhaps, or playing with friends—can only happen after the yucky stuff is done.
Start small by revamping one routine at a time. Once you have bedtimes streamlined, for instance, move on to mornings. Stick to the routine and soon your kids will take control of their own schedules with less pushback from them and no nagging from you.
Note: For Positive Parenting Solutions Members, see Lesson #24 in Session 3 to learn more about how to implement When-Then Routines
4. Demonstrate the Behavior You Want to See
Most parents don’t know it—or don’t like to admit it—but we do a lot of things that contribute to our kids’ poor behavior.
Have you ever heard a parent say, “Do as I say, not as I do?”
Was your next thought, “Hey, that’s not fair!?”
You’re not alone.
Kids see the world in black and white, and if our actions are not consistent with our words, they will push back and you’ll have a whopping power struggle on your hands!
Do you harp on your kids for leaving toys all over the floor, while your kitchen desk is covered in a mound of unopened mail and papers?
Do you yell at your kids to reprimand them for yelling at each other?
Are you munching on chips on the couch when you tell your kids to take their snack out of the living room?
Like it or not, kids pay much more attention to what we DO rather than what we say.
When we command one thing and do another, we send the message that our rules are optional. By deleting these double standards, we’ll get better behavior from our kids.
5. Task Every Kid With a Job (or Two)
Remember last year when your kids never wanted to help out around the house? That doesn’t mean your kids need to be exempt from taking on responsibilities at home in 2019.
In fact, kiddos of all ages thrive when they feel useful and needed, even if they simply empty trash cans and fold towels. What’s more, when you divvy up the work, you’ll feel less harried and better able to enjoy your family.
To get started, use this contributions by age list and pick a few jobs for each of your kids.
Then—and this part is critical—train each child thoroughly in any new skills. (Keep in mind they might prefer to scrub the shower in their swimsuit, or Swiffer floors instead of dusting baseboards.)
Once they’re able to handle the job on their own, make it official and required by adding it to a When-Then Routine, or setting up in advance a reasonable consequence if the task doesn’t get finished.
By remaining consistent in your expectations, your kids will see you’re not going to let them wiggle out of their new responsibility, and will complete their jobs without pitching a fit as well.
6. Prioritize Weekly Family Meetings
A new year often means a new hockey schedule, new gymnastics classes or a changed-up carpool—all these arrangements could take a team of professionals to manage. Even those of us facing the same old routines would probably appreciate a little assistance to ensure everyone is where they need to be at the right time.
That’s where a family meeting comes in.
Set aside a few minutes each week at a regular time, such as Sunday evenings, to meet as a family and get on the same page. Not only is this a time to tackle the logistics of scheduling, but this is a time to problem solve family issues as well. Whether the dog keeps getting into the trash can or your children are having trouble keeping their shared space clean, you can discuss all of these issues and more in a calm and thoughtful way at a family meeting.
To get buy-in from everyone, assign rotating jobs to each member of the family (Meeting Leader, Note Taker, Snack Server, etc.), provide refreshments and make it fun. Not only will you connect as a family, but your kids will start stepping up and take on more responsibility—and no one will be left behind at swimming practice again!
Note: For Positive Parenting Solutions Members, revisit Session 6 for in-depth details on how to effectively host and implement family meetings.
There has never been a better time to make a change in your parenting habits. Your family is too important to NOT be the center of your New Year’s resolutions.
But don’t worry, even if the New Year has left you feeling frazzled, there’s no need to hit the panic button. Restart 2019 with these tips and tools, and get ready for the most peaceful, and most enjoyable year yet.
If you’d like to learn more strategies to bring out the best in your kids, I’d love for you to JOIN ME FOR A FREE ONLINE PARENTING CLASS! I’ll teach you how to get your kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling. It’s a great way to jump-start your new parenting resolutions!