3, 2, 1, HAPPY NEW YEAR’S! Now its time to get back on track, clean things up, get organized, lose weight, gain muscle, and whatever else is on your list of 2011 new year’s resolutions. New to the list of resolutions are those of new parenting wish lists and goals. Perhaps this year you want to get that potty training to stick, reduce tantrums and fits, or just increase the quality of the time spent with your child as another of your new year’s resolutions. Commendable as they all are, they too will take just as much effort, research, and dedication as most other typical resolutions that are successfully navigated each year. What can be done to create these changes and how can you help ensure your desired changes happen and stay? From some simple changes to strong perseverance and the addition of some new parenting tools anything is able to be done. No matter what your exact goal is with your child this month, let alone this year, there are a few changes and additions that any parent can make to help aid in the process.
First, start adding in time for child directed play when you can, at least once to twice a week and working up to several times a week if possible. Spending time at your child’s level and allowing them to direct the play and change the games you play gives them opportunity to explore many dimensions of play like leading, cooperating, and imaginative thinking in a safe environment with you. The bonus that you gain from this is that it is time your child will really enjoy and connect with you giving you a little more leverage with your child. This is because when you take time for play and your child gets the undivided attention they naturally require they are less likely to find more destructive and stressful ways of attempting to gain your negative attention.
Second, reading is not just important to do with your children it’s important to read about your child’s age, stage, or problem to expand your parenting tool box. Everyone has heard the emphasis on reading with your children to promote literacy, so I won’t jump that bandwagon into the dust. However, I will emphasize the importance of taking the time to read up on your child’s age or stage and the challenges you are facing. Many baby product manufactures have automatic emails for the milestones your child is going through that can give you insight into managing the normal difficulties encountered.
Third, great value can come from connecting with other parents. By taking the time to vent, problem solve, swap stories, and build accountability for the changes you want to see happen for your child or in your parenting can help reduce the stress involved in change. This can also grow into valuable support relationships for you and great playmates your child. Lastly, because not every tactic works the same for each child or at each attempt, keep trying! There’s a hundred saying associated with the value of perseverance and keep in mind this is a change for your child too. Even in adults habits can take up to a month plus before the breaking of the habit become easier. So, whether it is changing habits, improving your discipline techniques, or managing behaviors differently this year anything is able to be accomplished as effort is made to keep moving forward in the process.