Tuesday, January 3, 2012
New Year's Resolutions for Parents
1. Let go of past mistakes.
Before your baby was born, you probably imagined the type of parent you would be. You pictured yourself perpetually even-tempered, loving, strong, wise, and vigilant. Your child would have the best of everything, every moment of every day. Uh.. oops. That’s not how it works, is it? Sometimes, we find ourselves losing our tempers, needing some space, giving in at the wrong time, or getting distracted just long enough for little exploring fingers to knock something over and make a mess. Trying to be perfect is stressful and not realistic. Every parent makes mistakes. You need to learn from each of yours and move on.
2. Be the best example you can be for your child.
Always remember that your baby is watching you. He is using your behavior to learn about the world and his role in it. You are literally creating his perspective on what is good, what is bad, and how to treat other people. This does not mean that you have to be perfect (see #1) but it means that you have to be aware of what your baby sees and hears. Don’t forget to show him how you deal with your imperfect moments. For example, if he sees you lose your temper, he can also watch you apologize.
3. Take time to play.
Children play to learn. If you are part of your child’s play, you are part of her learning. Playing with your child creates opportunities for magical memories that your child will always look back on. Playtime does not have to be restricted to getting down on the floor at home with toys. Playtime can be in line at the grocery store, taking a walk around the backyard, creating a snow creature on the car, or dancing to school. Finding time for play can be tough when there are so many other pressures in your life but you really need to try. You’ll find that those magical memories won’t be cherished only by your child; they will the ones most cherished by you too.
4. Be grateful for every moment.
If you can’t manage the other resolutions, this is the one you want to keep. I know when you’re sleep deprived or you’ve just accidentally smeared some poop on your cheek, you’re not going to be feeling very grateful. You probably won’t be looking back on your toddler’s very public tantrums as the best moments of your life either. Yes, sometimes the squeals and shrieks at preschool can make you want to scream. But you can’t let the unavoidable annoyances and irritations make you forget the joy, pride, and love that parenting brings. Despite all the challenges, childhood is fleeting, and there is so much to be grateful for.
Our thanks to all of our readers. We’re looking forward to sharing 2012 with you.