It’s the end of the year, which means it’s the perfect time to reflect on who we’ve been, how we’ve grown, and what we want to do next. For kids aged 4-8 in particular, small changes can have a big impact. New years bring growth, change, and the unknown – and we want to help you and your young learner meet your next challenges and triumphs with a positive mindset. We’ve put together a list of parenting resolutions and parenting tips to help you start the year off right, and set your sights on what matters most.
Resolution #1: Hang out… on purpose
As parents and caregivers, we know there’s a big difference between intentional family time, and just being in the same room together. When we participate in family bonding activities and give kiddos our undivided attention, we build connections that are deeper and more meaningful. Make your first resolution to spend time together intentionally, either once a week, once a month, or on a cadence that makes sense for you. If you need ideas, reading together always makes for a fun hang!
Resolution #2: Save the screens for when it counts
There’s nothing wrong with putting on a movie or a TV show for your kids when you need to. Too much of a good thing, however, can make that good thing turn sour. Psychologists are still learning about the effects of too much screen time on child development, so this year, why not try a little screen time management? That doesn’t mean you have to cut out screens altogether, though! Save your screens for intentional activities, like virtually visiting the Smithsonian Zoo to watch the cheetah cub cam or starting a digital journal.
Resolution #3: Mindfulness for every moment
Teaching gratitude, empathy, and curiosity to your kiddo all starts with you – which means keeping your own cup full. Adding mindfulness to your daily routine is a great way to reduce your own stress and anxiety. Mindfulness can look like anything: stretching for 5 minutes, taking a few deep breaths, writing down 3 things you’re grateful for on a post-it note on the fridge, or even taking a page out of your child’s book and coloring in a coloring book!
Resolution #4: Help your child learn independence
The right age-appropriate tasks can help foster independence in children, and show them the power of responsibility. Introduce your child to household duties, not as drudgery that has to be done, but as a way to take pride in the home you all build, together.
Resolution #5: Whatever you do, do it with gratitude
When things get tough, reminding yourself of what you’re grateful for in life can help. But, like anything worth doing, gratitude takes a lot of practice. Why not make that practice a habit with your child? Together, come up with a way to express gratitude as part of your daily routines, whether that’s at meal times, right before bed, or just because.
Resolution #6: Try 1 new healthy habit
Maybe you’ve been wanting to learn how to lift weights at your local YMCA. Maybe you’ve always wanted to cook a special family recipe. Maybe you’ve been meaning to cut back a little on the caffeine. One of the best things we can model for our kids is that it’s never too late to try something new. Make a resolution this year to try adding one new healthy, attainable habit to your daily routine. Who knows where it’ll take you!
Resolution #7: Get an A+ for parental engagement
Studies have shown that students whose parents stay involved in their schooling tend to have better attendance and behavior, get better grades, develop stronger social skills, and adapt better to environments outside the home. When you stay involved in both their learning and their school life, you help your young learner get a leg up on their development.
Resolution #8: Learn beyond the classroom
Learning doesn’t just happen in schools! Make a commitment to promote learning beyond the classroom each month. Does your child have an interest in animals? Learn how to identify a local species of bird together, and then go on a walk to find it. Do they love to draw? Visit your local art museum on their free admission day.
Resolution #9: Celebrate and connect as a family
When we spend time together as a family, we strengthen our bonds and connections. Make a resolution this year to celebrate the culture, heritage, and traditions that make your family unique. Need a few ideas? Family game night, weekly dinners, and even gathering round for storytime are all great ways to get started!
Resolution #10: Celebrate yourself
Whether you manage to do all your New Year’s Resolutions this year, or only a few, take a moment each day to remind yourself that being a parent is inspiring, tough work. You’re doing an incredible job, and at the end of the day, if you make sure your child knows how much you love them, that’s all that matters.