By Peter Minkoff Contributing Author, a passionate writer, professional fashion, lifestyle, and health, expert
Very few (if any) people are natural-born parents. Most of us learn as we go and hope that our efforts are good enough to raise healthy, happy and successful kids. Parenting isn’t easy, but it can get easier. Just find a few things you want to improve, set some goals for you and your kid and you’ll have a successful parenting 2020. Here’s what you can put on your to-achieve list.
How well do you really know your kids? You might be familiar with their moods, habits and schedules, but do you know what their true aspirations, wishes and motivators are? In order to really connect with your children, you need to spend more quality time together. Have regular family dinners, friendly debates and tech-free outings where you can talk, share opinions and discuss your dreams.
Reward empathy and respect
Every parent wants to have kids who are full of understanding, tolerance and respect, but how do you teach your kids these values? In 2020, you can start using more politically-correct language around your little ones and praise their good behavior. If you notice your kid cares about their family and friends and shows their love, it’s something to be celebrated.
Focus on your family
Oftentimes, chores and little setbacks take most of our energy and attention, so we end up drained when it’s time to pay attention to our family. Well, make your New Year better by concentrating on your loved ones more. Encourage kids to manage their time better so that they can have a relaxing dinner with the family, set time aside for picnics or family trips and just be more mindful when communicating with people they love.
Be more consistent
Kids who don’t follow rules are parents’ biggest nightmare. So, make sure to be more consistent when it comes to reinforcing your rules in 2020. When you have clear rules, your kids will not try to test your limits and everyone will be happier and safer.
Nurture their love of learning
Are your kids often reading on the couch, watching Nat Geo animal programs or drawing interesting contraptions? This is their natural drive to lean in action! Kids have so much to learn wherever they turn and look and learning comes easily for them, especially at a young age. So what you can do to keep their love of learning alive and well is encouraging their interests and providing help. If you know your kid is trying to communicate in English (or any other non-mother tongue), provide them with classes. Once they pass their trinity exam, they will a huge boost of motivation to continue getting better and better. You might also concentrate on their achievements instead of failures. No matter how quirky their interests are, if they are good at them, they deserves praise!
Teach them one new skill
Sure, we help our kids more than they need, sometimes to cut time, sometimes just to make their lives easier. However, as much as it’s tempting, it’s a great idea to give kids some more responsibility. What you can do in 2020 is have tasks that your kids will be managing. From tying shoelaces to doing homework alone and making their bed, these skills will pave the way for successful adulthood. Start with one new skill every month and they will be much better for it. It can be really anything, as long as it’s safe and age-appropriate. Think baking cookies, fishing, handling tools, checking car fluids…Even if they make mistakes (and they will at first) have patience and your kids will be much better for it.
Work on social skills
Life and academic skills are valuable, but your kid will also benefit from social skills. Make sure to teach them how to respect others, get on with them and make new friends. Maybe hit your local park more often and socialize with kids and parents there. Or encourage your kid to share their interests with other kids at school.
Limit screen time
This is a great NYE resolution for all parents. While screens are fun, convenient and useful, too much time spent in front of them can lead to health issues, reduced socializing and even addiction. So, be firm in your decision to limit screen time and spend more time outside.
Parenting can be frustrating, so adults often snap and end up yelling at kids. But, make it your goal to reduce yelling and opt for quieter communication with kids and your partner. This will benefit everyone involved.
Recharge your batteries
No parent can take care of their loved ones unless they are physically and mentally healthy and strong. So, don’t hesitate to do something good for yourself—that’s a huge part of parenting as well. Have an occasional spa day, travel with your partner and relax with a book.
These 2020 parenting goals will not only turn you into a better parent but also improve the relationship between you and your family and ensure everyone involved is happier, healthier, encouraged and free of stress!
Peter is a health writer at HighStyleLife magazine, living between Europe and New Zealand. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.