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10 New Year Resolution Ideas for Parents

Are you looking for some inspiration to set meaningful New Year Resolutions as a parent?

This year, set New Year Resolutions that will help you become a better version of yourself, and will bring you closer to your kids and your family. After all, what better New Year Resolutions can you set this year than improving yourself as a person and a parent? This year, resolve to invest your time and goals on becoming the best version of yourself possible - for you, your kids, and your family. Below are 10 New Year Resolutions to give you some inspiration for setting goals for your family this year.

1. Block off time to invest in your kids and your family, every day.

Even if it's just 30 minutes a day, set a time to dedicate to your kids and your family, and stick to it. Block the time off on your calendar, and make your scheduled family time a priority. What we focus on, what we invest in, improves incrementally over time. If you want to improve your relationship with your children and your family, resolve to invest this time every day, and by this time next year, you'll see incredible improvements in your relationships and communication with your kids and family.

2. Put away the distractions.

iPhones, iPads, computers, email, social media, television, phone calls, texting... These are all incredible ways to stay connected, but they can also take away from connecting with those who are right there in front of us. This year, make a commitment to put away all distractions and electronics and just get back to basics with your kids and family. Focus on the present, and be with your kids and family together, doing whatever it is people did together before electronics.

3. Eat meals together at the table.

With one kid headed to hockey, the other to dance, the other to a birthday party, and all of the adult things we as parents have to get done in a day, finding the time to sit down to a meal together can be a challenge. Make it a resolution to eat at least one meal a day together, every day. Eating together is a time for us to reconnect, talk, and just simply enjoy each other's company. Bond with your kids and family over a meal. And if you want to take it one step further, let your kids help with the prep! They will feel great pride over helping to make the meal a success, and you'll be teaching them some important life skills as well!

4. Play together with your kids.

Play is the language of children. Your kids connect through play. They learn through play. They build pride and self-confidence through play. And they simply enjoy play! Make it a goal to play together every day. Even for 5 minutes! You'll be amazed at how playing together with your child every day can enhance your relationship and even reduce behaviour problems. Play can be something as simple as building a tower, drawing or colouring, doing a craft, or playing a board game or card game together as a family. Whatever it is, let your kids lead and be creative. Follow their lead, play along, be enthusiastic, and just have fun!

5. Get outside more.

We all spend way too much time indoors. This year, resolve to get outside more. Going outside can help you reconnect with nature, get more vitamin D, and refresh yourself. Getting out of the house (or the rink or the workplace) can help decrease anxiety and depression, and leads to happier, healthier kids, adults, and families. Get out of the daily rut, take the dog for a walk, build a snowman, go to the park, sit in the sunshine, or run around the backyard. Whatever you do, just get outside and enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine.

6. Let your kids help with the chores.

It may sound counterintuitive, but allowing kids to help with the chores around the house, actually has a positive impact on their sense of pride, self-confidence, and self-worth within themselves and the family. And - bonus! - it helps alleviate at least a couple of the things you have to do every day! Be realistic about what your kids can do, and allow them some input into what they would prefer to do. Make sure you set aside time to teach them how to do the chore, and coach them as they learn this new skill. At first, it will probably take more time to teach them than it would for you to just do it yourself. But over time, your kids will be able to do these tasks independently, and will be building their confidence, self-esteem, pride, and sense of accomplishment and purpose.

7. Slow down, and cherish the little moments.

Before you know it, these years will be gone, and you'll be longing to turn back time. Slow down and cherish the little moments every day. No matter how difficult your day is, there's always something to be grateful for, and a tiny memory you can grab onto to cherish forever. You never know when it will be your last snuggle, your last kiss, your last play time together, the last time you read one more bedtime story or wrap your baby up in a tight swaddle. You never know when it will be the last time you cut up your child's food, or clean up the spilled milk. We never know when it's the last "I love you" or the last "Goodbye". Don't forget to soak it all in while you can. Life's about the journey... not the destination. So this year, resolve to slow down and enjoy the journey more.

8. Just breathe.

When your little one is screaming how much they hate you through the grocery store, or having a meltdown in the play room, or fighting nonstop with his sister, just breathe. Take a moment to remember how innocent your child is when they're sound asleep. Empathize with what they're going through. And take the opportunity to use this a teaching opportunity. Keep your cool, and respond with love, empathy, and confidence. Instead of getting frustrated and angry, yelling and punishing, remember - your child is learning how to deal with their big feelings, and how to accept limits and get along with others. It's your job to teach your kids - and the teaching happens in these little moments. They watch what you do in times of stress and anxiety and uncertainty and pressure... make sure you are modelling how to respond during these times, in the ways you want them to respond during those times.

9. Do something for yourself as a person, not a parent.

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our kids and our family, is to do something for ourselves. As parents, we focus so much on our kids, that sometimes we forget who we are outside of our role as spouse or parent. This year, resolve to do something just for you on a regular basis. It might be something small like taking time for yourself to read or relax or get out with friends, or it could be something big like going back to school, learning a new skill, or taking up a new activity. Whatever it is, the more you can reconnect with yourself as a person, the better parent you will become.

10. Focus on your own parenting, and stop comparing yourself to others.

Quit comparing yourself to other parents. You are the only you out there, and you don't have to live up to what everyone's posting on social media, or the snippets of perfection you see from other parents out there. Comparing yourself to other parents just puts unnecessary and added pressure on you to be something you are not. While it's important to reflect on what you're doing well and what you can do differently, do this by thinking about what's important to you, what's a priority for you, and what you can do to make those things happen, instead of by looking at what others are doing and trying to be more like them. Even if they don't tell you, your kids love you for all the things you do - mistakes and all. And remember - there isn't a parent out there who doesn't make mistakes, or who doesn't feel guilty, or like they're doing this parenting thing all wrong at least some of the time.