New Year's resolutions for parents: Ideas for 2013

It may seem like you have plenty of time to do all the things you want to for your child, but time flies. Here are some ideas for making a difference for your children. Photo: Rochelle Hartman

Silver Spring, Md, January 1, 2013 – It seems like there are New Year’s resolutions for every aspect of your life, your money, your health, your dreams, but what about for your family?

 

Spend more time with your little one

Life can hurry past us, and before you know it there is another birthday or another milestone. While these are times of celebration, they can also be a little bittersweet if you realize you let another year pass without spending more time with your little one like you keep promising. Spending quality time with your child is important for their self confidence and their self-esteem. It is also important to be there to act as a good role model. So while you may not have the luxury of being there every minute, find meaningful moments to share with your little one. As the saying goes, “the days may be long, but the years are short,” so find time in those days to make sure the years do not slip by you.

 

Read to your child

While most people think about reading picture books to your child, this is not the only way you can share the joy of reading with your child. For infants, board books and touch and feel books tend to be popular. For toddlers, pre-schoolers, kindergarteners, and beginning readers, picture books favorites can become a nightly ritual that both you and your child cherish. For children learning to read, you can become a partner that helps them navigate the challenge of literacy. For middle grade you can choose a book to read together, alternating who reads which page aloud. This can help their reading skills and gives them a safe environment to ask what words mean or how to pronounce difficult ones. For older children, you can have you very own family book club.

The AAP advises that parents read to their children rather than turning on the TV. Photo by J. Aaron Farr. Click to enlarge.

 

Regardless of how you incorporate reading into your child’s life, research shows that it is important that you do. The National Institutes of Health has shown that the period between birth and 3 years of age is crucial for language development, and reading to your child is a big contributor to that development. Studies have also shown that setting the pattern for reading early helps create good reading habits later.

 

Start a college fund

It is never too late to start saving for college, that is until the bill comes. Every dollar you save now is one fewer you need to worry about later. Having that money set aside allows you child to have more confidence in pursuing his dreams. It also helps reduce the amount of debt he will have when he graduates. Even if you do not have enough to pay the tuition in full, any amount helps make the burden more bearable. Not to mention, the earlier in your child’s life you start saving, the longer your savings will have to accrue interest and grow your contribution.

Photo by Ana Botz

 

 

Cherish each day

As life has reminded us all too frequently this year, life can be cut short at any time, and you never know what is going to come tomorrow. There are times when it may be tempting to wish the time away. You cannot wait until your kids are old enough to dress themselves.  You cannot wait until your little one is through the terrible twos. Potty trained children are a wish of many a diaper-changing parent. But even if your children have a storybook life, eventually they will grow up and venture out on their own. Those baby days will have passed, and time is something you can never get back once it is gone. So, no matter how hurried life can get, no matter how angry or frustrated you may become, find something positive from each day to file away with your good memories and hold on to each day you have with your child.

 

Remember, it may seem like you have plenty of time to do all the things you want to for your child, but time flies. Today turns into tomorrow, and this year turns into next year. Take one of these suggestions, use all of them, or find some of your own, but do not let this year go by without trying to do something with your child that you keep letting slip past.


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Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer and first time mother.  She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.  Find her on Facebook @Brighid Moret

 

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