The new year is a big milestone. It gives us a chance to reflect on the past and reset for the future. It comes at a time when we finally are able to take a breath after a busy holiday season and set goals for a successful year to come.
Many New Year’s resolution lists look similar—exercise more, eat healthy, lose weight, etc. And don’t get me wrong, these are fully encouraged, as they are on my list every year, too. But, this year, I challenge you to try something new.
What would happen if you prioritize the resolution of being the best parent that you can be in the new year; one that is present, active, and intentional with your little one? Imagine what amazing things would happen if all parents everywhere set the goal to be more mindful of and spend more time with their children.
The simple act of being present with your child goes a long way in supporting their healthy development. Parent-child bonding during everyday interactions has long-term, positive impacts on cognitive growth, language development, and the overall well-being of your child.
1. Be fully present with your little one. It’s easy to get wrapped up in buying gifts, holiday events, or year-end work projects. It can be hard to devote your full attention to your family. You can make the most of your moments together by making those moments truly intentional. Whether it’s singing during a diaper change or creating a purposeful bedtime routine, you can turn everyday activities into a meaningful moment that supports your child’s next developmental leap while continuing to reinforce your parent-child bond.
2. Talk about everything. Talking to your little one is perhaps the most valuable gift you can give to them. Language helps develop the brain to its optimum potential. Even if you think they don’t understand you, the benefits of having these “conversations” are immense. Moral of the story, talking to your baby improves their language skills and increases the number of words they can understand and use in the future.
Check out our blog post on ParentPal’s Modeled Moments. Several of these videos help demonstrate having meaningful “conversations” with your little one. They are intentional bonding experiences that expand brain development.
3. Take care of yourself. We all can agree that parenting isn’t easy. As beautiful as parenthood is, the pressures and responsibilities can be hard to juggle. Being overly stressed can lead to feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. This cycle of emotions can negatively affect your parenting. It’s ok to take time for yourself when you need it. Go for a walk, read a book, listen to music, or do whatever it is that soothes you. Being a good parent starts with being good to yourself. So this year, make sure to create the space you need to be your best self.
4. Be a good model. Though it might not seem like it, your little one has been watching you from day one. They know when you’re present and they know when you’re distracted. They also take after your habits. Your actions and reactions are an important learning experience for your baby. Learn to be mindful of how you react during stressful situations, with the understanding that your reaction is perceived by baby. This goes for pleasant situations as well; when you are happy, they are happy, and they will resonate with your feelings of warmth and joy.
5. Remember the joy. As overwhelming as parenting can be, don’t forget to cherish every moment. It’s easy to forget in the more difficult times, but remember how sacred this time is. Appreciate every “new,” every giggle, every hug, every moment where you think “that’s my kid.” You and your little one are on this journey together—make it incredible.
I hope this gets the ball rolling for you to be thinking of other parenting resolutions for the upcoming year. Turn these ideas into your own with our downloadable resolutions sheet. Share what you come up with to us, friends, and family!