I’ve made a lot of mistakes as a parent (who doesn’t), so this year I want to focus on my parenting skills. Hopefully (unlike my exercise goals last year), these goals will stick. My girls are getting older, and I want them to have a peaceful, loving, mindful, present parent—especially when they enter their teen years. The time to start is now. These are my top four parenting goals for 2018.
1. Yell less.
I’m a yeller and I hate it. The parent-child relationship is so uneven that a parent yelling at a child is 10 times worse than when the roles are reversed. It’s unfair when I use my size and power to intimidate my child, and that’s what yelling does. We hurt our children when we scream at them. I’m officially making myself a “no-yell” parent, and I have years of conditioning to undo. To start, I’m marking in a tally on the calendar each time I raise my voice each day, aiming for zero. If I go a week without yelling, I’m taking us all out to dinner to celebrate a peaceful household.
2. Reduce screen time for ALL of us.
Screen addiction is real. I know—I’m just as addicted as my kids. I’ve reduced screen time for them, but it really needs to start with me. When they see me staring at a box after I come home from work, it sends a message that the device is more important than they are. No more. I’m going to turn off my phone when I come home every day until they’re in bed. And I mean powering OFF. They deserve a mom who is present.
3. Sleep more and better
Sleep deprivation is a real thing. If I want to do less yelling, I definitely need to do more sleeping in the bed that I got to fit two extra kids and a dog (which I kind of regret because there is room for them now). And it needs to be quality sleep. I have bedtime routines for my kids—I need to be just as consistent with my own bedtime routine. And one of the things I need to stop doing is looking at social media right before I try to fall asleep. (The key word here is “try.”) I found out that the blue light emanating from my phone actually will keep me awake—no wonder I’ve had a hard time! I want seven to nine hours a night. I need it in order to be the best mom I can be.
4. Put an end to “I’m bored”
If I decrease screen time, the odds of my kids saying “I’m bored” will automatically go up. In the new year, I’d like to create a “boredom jar” full of fun activities they can do. I’ll write simple, mainly free ideas that don’t require them to even leave the house on papers in a jar in my kitchen. Things like “build a fort” and “play with play dough” will ease their boredom and give them fun things to do. And save my sanity.
I’m always looking for ways to improve my parenting. I think this is a really good start. Happy New Year’s!