What are your parenting goals for the new year? Maybe you are recognizing that things are just not working and you want to make some changes. It might be that you find yourselves yelling more often than you would like or bribing your child to get them to pitch in and help around the house. Maybe you have noticed that everyone is reaching for the cookies and chips more than the fruits and veggies. What’s it for you?
It’s not uncommon to think of our goals in the negative. “I want to stop…” Instead of focusing on what we want less of, it can be helpful to focus on what we want to experience more in our family. Here are 5 parenting goals for the new year that will set you up for success as a parent no matter what!
Parenting Goal 1 – Practice Presence over Perfection
Social media can be great for connecting us with friends and keeping up with our favorites. But if we are not careful, it can set us up for unrealistic expectations. A quick scroll through Facebook or Pinterest can lead to feelings of disappointment and discouragement. Suddenly my kids, house, and baking are not at the same level of perfection that everyone else seems to be attaining.
When I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, it’s often because I’m living in the future. My mind is racing with thoughts of what others will think, what tasks I need to do, or how something will work out. My anxiety usually leads to chaos in myself and in my family. The moments of “perfection” will not be remembered but rather the moments where we were present together, connecting over a shared experience or memory.
Take a moment to stop and pay attention to what is right in front of you. Can see the beauty, even in the mess?
Parenting Goal 2 – Practice Gratitude Throughout the Year
Did you know gratitude can help shift your attitude! It’s true. Research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude feel more hopeful emotions and enjoy more positive experiences. In addition, they overall experience better health, deal with adversity in positive ways, and build strong relationships. All of those sound like positive reasons to develop a regular gratitude practice as a family.
Here are some ideas to help get started:
- Set aside a regular time to share 1-2 things you are thankful for. Maybe during a family meal or as part of a bedtime routine.
- Gratitude Jar: collect things that happen during the year in a jar. Regularly take time to review what’s in the jar.
- Start writing thank you cards or intentionally verbally thanking people who have done something nice for you.
Parenting Goal 3 – Practice Playing Together as a Family
Doing something fun together builds connection and safety within the family. It is easy to get going with all the things on our “to do lists.” Often play can get forgotten. Making playing together strengthens the family. It is easier to regulate and navigate the ups and downs of life when we feel safe and secure in our relationships.
A great way to do this is to be intentional about finding some things to do together as a family. Maybe brainstorm some big things like a special trip/activity but don’t miss out on the small things like a dance party while making dinner or a quick 15 minute card game after school work is done for the day. These small moments of laughter and play can go a long way in our relationships with our kids.
Want more? Register for our online parenting class, “Big Emotions and What Parents Can Do.” The self-paced online parenting class is rich with research-based teaching on the brain and emotions as well as practical tips for meeting the emotional needs of all your family members.