Self-reflection is the key to all good relationships, including those with your kids. And the beginning of a new year is a great time to introspect and make any necessary changes.
Following are a ways we can make a huge difference in our kids’ behavior and our family dynamics. These are more likely to show immediate positive results, and thus will be easier to maintain throughout the year and beyond.
Commit to spending one-on-one time each day with each child
If you make just one resolution this year, this is the most important one! Spending just 10 minutes per day of uninterrupted, one-on-one time with each of your children builds emotional connections, reduces negative behaviours, and makes children more cooperative throughout the day.
Be sure you’re fully present during that time – silence your phones and try to ignore the to-do list in your head, so your kids know they’re your top priority.
Revisit your morning, after-school, and bedtime routines. Are your kids refusing to brush their teeth, or constantly forgetting their lunchboxes or backpacks? It may be time to work as a family to implement some improved methods.
The most effective type of routine which I read about recently, is a “When-Then” routine, which places a desirable activity (play time, screen time) at the tail end of a list of undesirable, but necessary, activities. And it’s always phrased the same way. For instance, you can inform your kids that “When the yucky stuff is out of the way (wash face, brush teeth, get dressed,) then breakfast is served.” Or, when your homework is done, and backpack ready and by the door for the next day, then you can go out and play with your friends. Post the new routines in strategic places so your kids won’t forget, and you won’t have to remind them.
Get everyone helping around the house
Resolve that this year will be the year you stop doing all the heavy lifting with the housework! Your children should be required to shoulder some age-appropriate, meaningful responsibility that contributes to the family’s daily life. Start by holding a family meeting to make a list of all the jobs that must be done weekly and decide how to divide the workload.
Not only will you get some much-needed help, you’ll also teach a valuable lesson: the family is a “team” and without everyone’s participation, the team can’t function. successfully.
Model a better digital life
Show your kids you can survive without constantly being on your phone, tablet, or computer. This will help them to be less dependent on technology.
Introduce your kids to new foods
Start slowly by adding something new to one meal a week, and then introduce more variety once your kids get the hang of it. Ethnic fruits and vegetables you already love are a great place to start.
Make time to recharge yourself
Parents are the first to neglect themselves, but “me-time” will make you happier and more energized when caring for your kids.
Get outside more with your kids
Catch your kids being good
Make it a priority to let your kids know when you see them doing something good, and not just when you see them doing something bad.
Read more with kids
Reading together promotes the love of reading, while creating a lovely one on one time.