Parenting is an important job that doesn’t always come easy. Handling tantrums, encouraging a smooth and pleasant mealtime, and instilling the right values in your little ones can sometimes be tough. While everyone’s approach to parenting is different, here are seven tips you can keep in mind as you cruise into 2023.
Tip #1: Create and Follow a Routine
Routines can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your little one on track. Set schedules help provide comfort and give confidence in knowing what the day looks like. Help yourself by laying out baby clothes ahead of time, making sure you’re well stocked on snacks, and setting meal plans in advance whenever possible.
Routines can help children of all ages build independence, experience a sense of safety, develop important life skills, and manage stress. For babies, routines can help them establish a sleeping and feeding schedule. Find a routine that works for your family, and try to stick to it. If your child struggles with following a schedule, try visual aids that signal what comes next in their day.
Tip #2: Make Work-life Balance a Priority
Many parents struggle to find the right balance between work and leisure. Jobs make demands on your energy and time, leaving you drained once you’re home or out of your home office for the rest of the evening. Some working parents may also work late or on weekends and holidays. One tip you can bring into 2023 is prioritizing a work-life balance.
- Set boundaries at your job for what hours you’re willing to work and how much time you’re going to take off.
- Plan your vacation days, and set up day trips or other events with your family.
- Keep close track of the time when you’re at work, and let your family know when you’re running behind or have a chance to leave early.
- Try to turn work off completely when you’re done for the day, allowing you to focus fully on your family.
Tip #3: Limit Screen Time
Studies have shown that too much screen time can negatively impact children. It impacts their attention span, sleep, cognitive skills, social skills, and much more. However, screen time is sometimes helpful for parents to keep their children occupied while they get tasks done or as a way for them to introduce their children to high-quality learning programs.
One way you can ditch the guilt about letting your child play on their tablet is by reducing screen time. Screen time applies to all devices, such as TVs, tablets, phones, and video games. Set limits for your child, and communicate them clearly. You might also consider using a visual timer or a timer with reminders, so they aren’t caught off guard when it’s time to put the screens away.
Tip #4: Be a Role Model
Another tip to keep in the forefront of your mind in 2023 is to be a role model for your child. Children are always watching us, even when we don’t think they are. Be conscious of how you act and speak in front of your child. They will see you handle stressful, challenging, festive, and scary situations. How you respond is likely to be a guide for them when they experience similar things.
As you role model good behavior for your children, know that it’s OK to make mistakes. No parent is perfect, and mistakes are also learning opportunities for your child. Acknowledge your mistake, and talk through what you feel comfortable sharing with your child. This can also help foster trust and communication between the two of you.
Tip #5: Encourage Independence
Independence is an important skill for children as they grow. There are many ways you can encourage independence, including setting a routine, allowing your child to help you with different activities, giving them their chores, and nurturing free play.
Growing independence can help children build their sense of self-worth, their social and cognitive skills, self-awareness, sensitivity to others, and much more. Set limits to your child’s independence and establish clear expectations around safety.
Tip #6: Connect With Other Parents
Talking with other parents is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself in the new year. Connect with parents from your child’s school, daycare, or sports teams. There are also social apps and online groups that allow you to connect with other moms and dads.
Talking to others with the same role can help you vent, discuss different challenges, brainstorm solutions, and just share your experiences as a parent. It can also help you feel less alone, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent or a single mom or dad.
Tip #7: Carve Out One-on-One Time
Something else to consider doing with your child in the new year is prioritizing wonderful times with them. These are some of the cozy and laid-back ways to do something fun and engaging:
- Put away your cell phone or tablet, turn off the TV, and just spend time together.
- Grab a pair of cozy pajamas and a cup of your favorite coffee or tea.
- Put your baby in some soft baby clothes, or grab some comfortable, cute toddler clothes for your little one.
- Pick out a game to play together, or think about making a craft.
You might consider scheduling one-on-one time in advance. For example, pick a couple of hours a week, plan a day off a month, or whatever works best for you and your little one. If you have a partner or spouse, carve out solo time for yourselves as well.
Here’s to a Healthy, Happy 2023
Following the parenting tips above can make a big difference in the quality of your family life this year. Remember also to schedule quality time with your partner and foster health and happiness all around.