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Realistic Parenting New Year's Resolutions

Every new year brings an opportunity to look back and think about the good and the not-so-good moments. When it comes to parenting, there are always times we regret and those we cherish. Making resolutions is an opportunity to move past the ones that weren't your best parenting moments and focus on how to create more positive parenting experiences. Making parenting New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be about trying to be the perfect parent, or molding your child into the perfect kid. Instead, focus on what’s actually in your control and give yourself attainable, realistic goals.

Create more fun.

Most kids will tell you it’s the experiences of childhood they remember the most, not the stuff. Think of ways to incorporate more play and family time into your monthly routines. Put on some music and have impromptu dance parties with your little ones, designate a regular family movie night where everyone cuddles up in their pajamas, or if your kids are old enough, including them in the preparation and cooking of family meals, are simple ways to bring everyone together with fun activities.

Be patient, even with yourself. 

It’s easy to lose your cool when you’re juggling a million different chores, kids, responsibilities and expectations. Something has to give, and it's often your last nerve. Resolving to be more patient can take many forms. Practice taking a step back and breathing deeply when you feel the irritation building, delegate more often, and if your kids are older institute a chore chart so the load is shared.

Keep your eye on the big picture.

You are raising future adults who will hopefully be responsible, kind, smart and hard working. But, they will never be perfect. Most kids go through various phases of behavior and different habits – and not all will be wonderful. However, in the end, they will grow up, and most likely not be carrying their blankie off to college or still crawling into your bed at 12 years old. Try to treasure the great moments and put the not-so-great ones in perspective.

Make “me” time.

It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of parenthood, but the best example you can set for your kids is to show that you value yourself. Whether it’s a monthly book club with your friends and a girls’ night out, or a long bath that is your weekly “do not disturb” ritual, or date night with your spouse, make sure you schedule time that is truly just for you.

Setting small achievable goals, the kind that you can check off on a mental (or physical) to-do list, will be more effective than an all caps RESOLUTION. Think about the advice you give your kids when they want to give up on a new task or hobby. If you practice a little every day, keep trying even when you're frustrated, and reward yourself for incremental successful steps, you will find yourself attaining some genuinely blissful parenting moments.  Or at the very least, joyfully making pancakes together on lazy Sunday mornings.

Image: Getty

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