Top 2 New Year’s Resolutions For Parents
A few too many cookies and glasses of wine over the past month have left me feeling less than optimal! On top of that, with all the extra holiday magic making, I haven’t been working out as much or meeting my sleep needs. Yes, a child sleep consultant just admitted that I haven’t been prioritizing my own sleep! (gasp!) So if you are like me and the rest of the world, you are likely thinking about what changes you can make in the New Year to feel GOOD again. That’s why I’m sharing my top 2 New Year’s resolutions for myself and encouraging other parents to join me so you can feel good and love parenting with me!
Top New Year’s Resolutions For Parents #1: Prioritize Sleep
When you become a parent, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is quickly replaced by “I’ll die if I don’t sleep!”
In all seriousness, not getting adequate sleep will make it really difficult to feel good and in the long run, it can have serious detrimental effects on your health and relationships, including:
- Mental Health – increased risk of depression and anxiety; decreased emotional regulation
- Brain Health – declined mental acuity, including reasoning and problem solving, and comprehension of conversations and written materials
- Physical Health – higher blood pressure; increased risk of stroke and diabetes; increased weight and obesity; increased pain; decreased immune system; less energy for physical activity and sex
- Parenting Health – “a parent’s emotional regulation and ability to cope is impaired when sleep is scarce, which means tired moms and dads are more likely to be irritable and easily frustrated (which, let’s be real, isn’t a good combo when young kids are involved).” – Today’s Parent
- Relationship Health – being short tempered from sleep deprivation can create more arguing in a relationship, which decreases relationship satisfaction. No energy for sex and connection can really take its toll on the relationship as well.
All of this, plus a desire to just feel good, is why I am focusing on meeting my sleep needs this year! Here are the tips I’ll be using for myself and could help you too…
Tips To Help Parents Sleep Better
Optimize your sleep environment
- Your bedroom should be solely for sleep and sex
- Create a sleep haven – cool, dark, white noise, soft sheets
- Take out the TV and any electronics.
- Remove any blue or white light sources
Develop a consistent bedtime routine
- Just like our kiddos, we need a consistent bedtime routine that helps to relax us and tells our body that we are getting ready for sleep
- A bath or a shower can be relaxing
- Opt to read a book instead of Netflix and Instagram
- If your mind is busy, keep a journal by the side of the bed to jot your thoughts down
Establish a consistent bedtime & wake time
- A consistent bedtime and awake time is important for adults as it helps with our circadian rhythm, our internal sleep wake clock.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. Even on the weekends! If you have little kids, the waking at the same time every day shouldn’t be a problem!
Help Your Children to be Healthy Sleepers
- It should go without saying that if your children aren’t getting enough sleep, you are definitely *NOT* getting enough sleep! Schedule a discovery call to find out how we can help with this!
- Prioritizing how to help your child to be a better sleeper will in turn help you get the sleep you need and undoubtedly, you’ll show up more as the parent you want to be.
- Our child’s disposition will be happier and therefore there will be less stress in your household.
- If they aren’t waking at ungodly hours in the morning or fighting bedtime, you’ll have time and energy to fit in your workouts and to prepare healthier food choices.
Top New Year’s Resolutions For Parents #2: Practice Intentional Parenting
I’ve yelled at my kids this holiday season. I’ve been overtired, overstimulated and not taking care of myself like I normally do.
My kids’ behavior has been off the wall with the parties, the sugar, the red dye and all the excitement.
In our house, this is a recipe for behavior disaster – for them and for my husband and me.
I got down on myself about this, but then I remembered, I’m not perfect and it isn’t a requirement to be perfect to be a good parent. I apologized to my kids and every day I try to be an intentional parent. If I fall off, I get back on. One bad day, doesn’t cloud all the good that happens regularly.
This year, I am going to continue my quest of intentional parenting and I think you should join me!
Being an intentional parent means that you aren’t in constant reactionary mode to your child’s behavior. The key components of intentional parenting according to me are:
- Being well-rested and practicing self-care
- Giving yourself and your child tons of grace
- Understanding child development and having realistic expectations
- Having the right parenting tools in your toolbox
Well-Rested & Self-Care
This is one area where it is easy for me to put myself last, which means it has to be a primary focus always!
We talked all about sleep above, but self-care is also important. Now this isn’t just bubble baths and pedicures, although those are good too!
When I talk about self-care, I mean:
- Taking care of our mental health – talking to a friend or a therapist, doing personal development work
- Eating healthy
- Drinking water
- Getting sunshine and movement
- Doing things we love
- Connecting with our friends and partner
As cliche as it is, we can’t pour from an empty cup. When I meet with parents this is one of the things that we talk about!
Tip: Spend some time figuring out what you need to feel your best and encourage your partner to do that too. Then sit down together to figure out how you can support each other in filling your cups with things that matter to you and will give you more joy in life and parenting.
Grace for Your Child and YOU
Our kiddos are figuring it all out and so aren’t we! This is our first time being parents and we are learning on the job. Which means we are going to mess up…A LOT! And that’s ok.
Being a good parent doesn’t mean getting it right all the time. It doesn’t mean that you never yell. It means that you apologize when you mess up – kids are so forgiving!
Being a good parent means that you care and you are always doing the best you can with what you are working with. You show love and try to be understanding.
It also means that you give yourself and your child a lot of grace. When we beat ourselves up and have the “I’m such a sh*tty Mom/Dad” mantra running through our heads all the time, we aren’t going to show up as our best selves.
Tip: Let’s replace the negative mantra with “I’m a good parent having a tough moment.” or “My child is having a hard time and I am too. We’ll figure it out.” When you start to downward spiral, figure out what you need to spiral up!
Understanding Child Development
If you understand your child’s development and capabilities based on their age and stage of life that they are in, it will make it much easier to have realistic expectations and respond in a healthy, intentional way vs. reacting in the moment. (ha! a lot of the time – no one is perfect and gets it right all the time!)
Here’s a quick example:
I had a wonderful couple that I had helped with their twins’ sleep when they were infants, come back to me for help with their twins’ behavior.
During our child behavior consultation, they shared with me that their primary goal was to have their twins’ respect them. Such an important goal – we all want our children to be respectful!
Here’s the thing…the twins were 18 months old and they aren’t capable of understanding the concept of respect at this age. The fact that their twins weren’t being respectful was making them feel like they were failing at parenting. But they weren’t AT ALL.
Being respectful is something that is learned by parents being respectful of their children as well as development of mental and emotional maturity that comes in time. Having realistic expectations makes parenting SO MUCH EASIER!
The Parenting Toolbox
I was the most amazing parent ever BEFORE I had children. All of those “my child will never..”
But then my twins turned three.
And I was like “what sort of fresh hell is this?”
I had no tools to handle these new behaviors and I found myself defaulting to the way I was raised. My parents did a good job, but I knew that there were things that I wanted to do differently.
Given that I already helped families, it was a natural next step for me to become a certified child behavior consultant and help parents with their children’s behavior.
During the training, I learned ALL THE TOOLS to help me to enjoy parenting more and I saw the dramatic changes in my children’s behavior. It worked in my house and I was so excited to help families achieve the same results!
During our child behavior consultation sessions, I help parents to understand where their children are at developmentally so they have realistic expectations. Then I give them the tools that they need to address their child’s most challenging behaviors. These are quick things that can make a dramatic difference!
Tip: If you are struggling with any of these common behaviors or any others, consider scheduling a Child Behavior session with me so we can get you the insight and tools you need to enjoy parenting more:
- Not listening
- Sibling rivalry
- Picky eating
- Potty training challenges
- Frantic mornings
- Bedtime battles
I hope that these top New Year’s resolutions for parents are helpful as you plan out the changes you want to make in the coming year! We are happy to help you with your child’s sleep or behavior if you need a guide on the journey! Schedule a discovery call today to talk about how we can work together to make 2023 your best parenting year yet!
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