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Parenting Resolutions

If you still haven't chosen a New Year's resolution, listen up; Tricia O'Brien, Features Editor of American Baby, has some ideas that will help your family function better.

One of the most important routines to start in the new year is planning a family meal time. "It's really important for kids nutrition and communication with the family," says O'Brien. Many parents have trouble planning family meals because they live in a two-income household. But don't give up hope; even if you have to enjoy family meals at breakfast or on the weekends, you can still find time to eat with your kids.

Kids thrive on routines, so another great habit to start is setting a regular bed time for your child. "The first thing... is really commit to it," says O'Brien.

It's also important for kids to pitch in when it comes to cleaning up. Assign kids age-appropriate cleaning tasks. A young child can put away their toys while an older child could help clean the bathroom. "This teaches kids a sense of responsibility, it teaches them that they're part of the family and they can contribute," says O'Brien. Even if the kids don't clean as fast or as well as you could, consider that they're still learning. Do silly things - like singing, putting on music or racing to finish the tasks first - so that the kids enjoy helping you.

Finally, schedule quality time. With today's hectic lifestyles, stress from work and pressure at home, making time to sit and relax with your kids can be challenging. O'Brien suggests taking something ordinary, such as running errands, and turning it into quality time. Turn off the radio in the car and talk to your kids while you drive. Every little bit helps.

For more information on parenting New Year's resolutions, as well as additional parenting advice, click here.

By Erin Petrun

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