The beginning of the new year is a great time to make parenting goals that you will strive towards and work for during 2018. Parenting is one of those things that requires so much physical and emotional effort that we often forget about our long-term goals in raising our children. Of course, we want our kids to speak nicely and be more or less organized and many of us emphasize those things on a daily basis, however raising a child requires much more than these daily niceties. What values will your child conduct himself with throughout his life? How will s/he conduct himself in difficult situations? How will s/he respond to adversity?
We cannot control what our children will experience in their lives or the difficulties that they will face. However, we can arm them with the tools that they need by the way we respond to them daily. As with any goal that we set, we need to take a look at how we will achieve the goal and break the goal down into achievable parts. Everyone has their own specific goals that they want to work on, but here are some ideas that can help with almost any child raising goal that you may have.
1) Become Educated to Achieve your Goals
We all approach parenthood from different backgrounds. Some of us feel that our parents were good role models for us and gave us the tools that we need to approach our lives (and parenting) and some of us do not. Many fall somewhere in between. Wherever you feel you are along the spectrum, you can always learn more and equip yourself further to fulfill the challenge of parenthood.
Here are some highly recommended books to educate yourself about raising children and helping you to reach your parenting goals. Although no one book can teach everything there is to know about parenting, I do believe that by reading other people’s experiences and thinking about our own parenting patterns we can become better parents. Here are some ideas:
There are many classes available locally in your community to take advantage of and educate yourself about parenting. There are also classes that help with specific challenges in raising children. These classes will not only educate about parenting but you will allow you to meet other parents in similar situations. Parenting requires patience, thought and proactive approaches and almost everyone needs support for such an awesome task.
For online parenting education, you can join my online support community that meets each week. To get more information and a list of topics that we cover click here:
2) Think about the person that you want your child to become
We all have some degree of clarity when it comes to visualizing who are children will become in the future. However, unless we have a clear vision and plan, we are unlikely to reach our goals. Most parents have the best of intentions, but because they have no clear goals, they often miss the mark. With a little planning and monthly check-ins, these goals are within reach. Think about the character that you would like your child to project in challenging situations. Provide opportunities for your child to see you handle situations in the way that you would like him/her to respond. How do you react when your child experiences disappointment? Taking some time to think about these ideas can really give a boost to your parenting.
3) Make sure that your values are clear to your children and central in your child’s life
We imagine that our values are clear to our children but this is not necessarily the case. Our children do learn from our examples and will copy us. but children need to see values in action. What are our children seeing us do on a daily and weekly basis? What do they see us participate in? If we want our children to internalize our values, they need to know what is important to us. They need to be involved in the things that we want them to remember. Take some time to plan experiences for your children throughout the year that will emphasize values.
4) Think about how secure your child feels in your home
We live very busy lives today. Many parents both work outside of the home and little time is spent together, especially during the week, That coupled with after-school activities and homework means that our children are often on the run. Security means that our children feel supported and know we will help them with the challenges they face. It doesn’t mean that we prevent our children from experiencing the consequences of their actions. However, it does mean that they know that we will help them process and discuss the events in their lives. If children are rushed and unable to process these events, it may lead to anxiety and insecurity.
Perhaps 2018 is the year when we need to simplify our lives and the lives of our children so that we can spend more quality time with them and help them feel more secure
5) Reorganize so that there is less house to deal with (and more time to devote to your kids)
Our busy lives can lead to a lack of organization and a feeling of overwhelm especially as we tend to accumulate too much stuff. The more things that we have, the more time we need to spend keeping them under control. Simplifying what we own and only allowing essentials into our homes, brings composure and calm in our lives. The how to’s of reorganizing our homes are too complex to address in this article. However, here are some great books that do an excellent job in helping us simplify our lives.
Here is a helpful practical book to get your home under control:
Here is a practical book for implementing the minamalist philosophy into your life:
6) Make your child’s education a priority
As has been mentioned, the more that we put into our child’s ability to succeed in school the more benefits he/she will reap. Simple changes in your daily routine can make the difference between an engaged and thriving school experience and the opposite. A positive school experience will lead to success in many areas of your child’s life. To learn how you can help your child succeed in school check out my free video course, Seven Surefire Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School
7) Make electronic free times when you are with your kids
Our families have so little time together in today’s busy world. What was once a given, family time has almost become a luxury. Make times that are electronics free, so that the family can truly spend real time together. Obviously, electronics are here to stay and they are a major part of our lives. If we don’t designate times when all electronics are off, then they are sure to take control. Whether it’s an electronics-free dinnertime and specific times on weekends, make these time sacred and don’t allow the electronics to creep back in. It’s a discipline that is well worth cultivating and we as parents have to stick to these times as well. It will do wonders for the family.
8) If you see negative behaviors, speak to your child about them and continue until you see improvement
We have much more ability to change our children’s behavior than we believe. If you see behavior that you do not feel is appropriate, immediately speak to your child about it. You may have to initially put an immediate stop to the behavior but if you want to make sure that it does not happen in the future or when you are not around, you will have to make a time investment. Speak to your child later when your child is calm and explain why the behavior was not appropriate.
Explain the consequences of such behavior in an age-appropriate way and explain alternatives that could be employed in different scenarios. It may take several discussions and some thought beforehand, but eventually your efforts will pay off. Your child may need an incentive or some special time with you (and sometimes consequences if the behavior continues). However, the time that you invest now will pay off in the long run. As your child sees that you are willing to invest in him and that you have his/her best interests at heart, you will eventually see the fruits of your labor and less negative behaviors.
9) Have fun and make memories!
Make sure to include in your goals – having fun together as a family. This does not necessarily require large investments in expensive vacations. A simple camping trip, a walk on the beach as a family, visiting some memorable sites in your state or city, is family-time that will not be forgotten. Take family preferences into account and try to make the event memorable with a special picnic or some other way that helps the kids to enjoy. Make an album of your trip and review it together from time to time. Highlight funny things that happened or record a special story that happened on the trip. Make sure that you take the time to break the routines every once in a while and make family time and time together a priority.
The above goals may seem overwhelming if you try to accomplish them all at once. Choose a goal and work on it for six weeks or so until it has become easy and natural. Once you have worked on a goal for a reasonable amount of time, move on to the next one as you continue to implement the previous one. Perhaps your goal can be to work on three of these goals in 2018. We are all stronger in some areas than others and we all need to work on different types of goals.
The point is to make 2018 a year that you can meet your most essential goals. Good luck as you move towards the unique parenting goals that you wish to accomplish!
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