Parenting, as all other parents would agree, is no cakewalk. It takes a lot of patience, and at times, we find ourselves hanging only by a thread. However, it is also an area where we all want to get better, for the sake of our children.
As we bid adieu to a challenging year, I thought of making a list of parenting resolutions for 2021. These resolutions are aimed at fostering a better relationship between the parent and the child. At the same time, they will also make parenting easier and simpler for you. You can go through the list and choose the ones that seem more relatable to your situation.
- Avoid saying no, don’t and stop
I have observed several parents who say no when they don’t agree with something. The toddler puts a toy into her mouth, and pat comes a loud “No.” The child spits out food, and they scream “Don’t”. Did you know that, when you use these words without any filter, you hardwire your child’s brain to think negatively?
Of course, it doesn’t mean you let your children do what they want to do. All you need is to be empathetic and explain why your child should not be doing something. As you do this, you will notice a change in their behaviour. They will listen more and will also be more responsive to what you have to say.
- Focus more on life skills
In all probability, your children’s school is doing a brilliant job at imparting education. While they are learning their ABCs and counting, nobody is teaching them life skills.
In today’s dynamic environment, when nothing is constant, many young people crumble under pressure. When you teach life skills to your children, you ensure that they are independent and can manage all the curve balls that life throws at them.
Some examples of life skills are self-defence, first-aid, decision making, problem-solving, budgeting, household chores, cooking and interpersonal skills. You can choose the activities per your child’s age to nudge them in the right direction. You will be surprised at how fast they learn. It can also become your way to spend meaningful time with them.
- Teach them to be environmentally conscious
This year has been an eye-opener for all of us. 2020 saw untamable forest fires, locust attacks, cyclone and floods. All of this has been attributed to climate change by the experts.
Unless we start caring for our environment today, our children could have a very bleak future. It is crucial not only for us to reduce our wastage and be more environmentally responsible, but we also need to teach our children the same.
You can start with tiny steps such as asking them to reduce their power and water wastage, reducing plastic and sharing toys and books with their friends. You can also grow your own little vegetable garden patch with the help of those tiny hands.
- Have meaningful conversations
You could be spending hours with your children, but do you engage them in meaningful conversations? Several parents are constantly involved in their cellphones as they try to spend time with their children. Not only does it send a wrong message, but they also end up setting a wrong example.
Children are, by nature, curious. They have a lot to learn and take a genuine interest in what you have to say. Even if it is for half an hour a day, give them your undivided attention. Tell them what’s going on in your life. Instead of demonstrating a rosy picture, tell them if you are going through any challenges.
You will be surprised at how sensitive and sensible they can be. As you do this, you strengthen your bond with them. It will be one of those few things that both of you will fondly remember after a few years.
- Get back to routine
Because of the ongoing COVID pandemic, children are not going to schools, and their routines have gone for a toss. There are no fixed times to study, play or for that matter, take a shower.
The start of a new year may be your cue to get everything back on track. Having a routine is essential for the physical and mental wellbeing of your children. When they sleep and wake up at the same time every day, their bodies and internal systems also align accordingly. They will look forward to their playtime and will be more attentive to their lessons.
- Cut back on screen time
Understandably, several parents had no choice but to increase the screen time of their children this year. However, the vaccine is almost here, and there are good chances that things will go back to normal soon. At least, that’s the hope.
It may be hard to cut back on the screen time of your children in one go. You will have to follow a gradual process, and the new year may be the right time to start. You can try to engage your child in other activities such as storytelling, art and craft or even asking them to help out with housework. Be creative and try to think of activities in advance to engage your child.
- Eat healthily
Eating healthy is not the same as reducing weight. It means to eat clean, in the right portions and giving the right nutrition to your body.
To enable your child to make the right food decisions, you need to start early. Explain the reasons why they should limit their junk intake and eat clean. Tell them how processed and packaged food can compromise their immunity and cause health problems.
When you have such dialogues with them, you also form a positive association between them and food. As they become capable of making the right food choices, they will build a positive body image and stay away from fad diets.
Parenting is a journey. Nobody is perfect and everyone has a tough time. At such times, all you can do is to reflect and think of how you can make things easier for yourself and your children. With these resolutions, you can empower your children and make them see the world a little better.