The New Year is a great time to take stock, to reflect and to decide to change, or to stay the same.
New Years resolutions and goals are all about making a decision to do something in your life differently for your betterment. Parenting is no different. Everything is a choice, we can choose as parents to repeat old behaviours, to parent as our parents parented, to continue to parent in the same way we have always done or we can add something in, take something out or try a new path.
Why not take some time to think about your parenting, is this an opportunity to start a new chapter in your parenting manual?
- What is going well in your family?
- What were the high points of being a parent in 2018?
- What was an unexpected aspect of your parenting that surprised you? Disappointed you? How did this make you feel?
- What would you like to change about your parenting in 2019?
Here are three ideas, you may wish to add into your parenting tool kit in 2019.
1. Family Meetings
Family meetings are a great way to ensure that everyone has a voice in your home. You can celebrate wins, teach abstract concepts such as turn taking, listening to understand rather than to respond and you can talk about ‘issues’ that may have arisen during the week or month, such as; how can we all get out of the house in the morning without mummy loosing her mind.
It is an opportunity to touch base with all members of your family, to plan the week ahead, talk about meals and do something fun together. Set up a regular time in your week or month where you can come together.
The idea of a family meeting is similar to that of a staff meeting, set an agenda, have a chair (it could be one of the kids!), touch base with each other, work out what it means to be a member of your family by perhaps creating a family manifesto.
2. Special Time
Our kids don’t need hours of our time each day, contrary to popular opinion, 10 minutes will do it. The 10 minutes though does need to be quality, focused and uninterrupted time. How can you ensure your toddler or your teen gets your time? Can you turn the radio off in the car as you run them to their after school activities so you have an opportunity to chat? Are you able to make bed time one on one time with each child, for stories and chats? Can you join your child in play or snuggle on the sofa together?
Enjoy connecting with your kids before you have to correct them.
Children want our attention, good or bad. Our children will feed whatever gets them heard. So if they get noticed for doing the ‘wrong’ thing, they will feed this, as they want us to notice them.
So my challenge to you is to catch them being good and say so, through praise.
Praise the process rather than the end point, e.g. ‘you showed lots of determination to clean your room’. Acknowledge values in your kids; kindness, helpfulness, perseverance. Praise and mean it.
You can change behaviour through the use of praise, try it.
Here is to a positive year of parenting for us all, I have everything crossed that we will all achieve what we set out to do.
What is your parenting goal for 2019?
What are you going to add to your parenting tool kit?
How can you up skill yourself when it comes to parenting?
Need some additional help, then book into my diary and we can talk through how to bring about change in 2019.
This blog was originally written as an article for Small Talk Magazine.