(By Press Association / Published on breakingnews.ie)
If you’re making a New Year’s resolution, you’re most likely to make a personal one like getting fit or stopping smoking. But why not make one for your family as well?
Here are some resolution suggestions from family organisations and experts.
1. Try not to lose your temper with the kids
Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts says: “Recently we asked Mumsnet users which bad parenting habit they’d most like to ditch, and the most popular answer was losing their rag with their children. Rather than fruitlessly promising yourself the issue will never happen again (it will), try using some of the parenting habits our users rate the most highly: putting down your phone, getting everyone else to clear up after themselves, and ring-fencing regular family time. If you can pull off some of those, our users say, you may find an unexpectedly deep reserve of patience the next time a small (or large) child decides to throw a spanner in the works.”
2. Be more careful with hair straighteners
If a curling wand or new hair straighteners were on the top of your Christmas list, beware – straighteners and wands can get as hot as your iron and stay hot even after they’re switched off. Your baby or toddler can suffer serious burns if they grab your wand or straighteners, sit on them or put them in their mouths. The Child Accident Prevention Trustteam offer a simple New Year’s resolution – make it habit to keep hot hair things out of reach. When you’ve finished, switch them off, put them in a heatproof pouch and store them out of reach.
3. Support the whole family’s oral health
The new year is the perfect time for families to make healthier oral health choices together, says the Oral Health Foundation. Support each other in making sure everyone brushes their teeth for two minutes twice a day and by checking every family member has a dental appointment booked for 2020. You can also improve your family’s oral health by cutting down on sugary food and drinks. By sticking to these three simple steps your family can benefit from a healthy mouth all year round.
4. Relish what’s important
Spending a lot of time with family over Christmas (or too little, as the case may be) can prompt a bit of stock-taking. Gransnet say this year their users have resolved to slow down and relish the important things in life: time spent with children and grandchildren, good friendships, travelling. They also say this will be the year they’ll bite their tongues and not give unwanted advice to their adult children and in-laws.
5. Connection not perfection
Parent coach Lorraine Thomas of the Parent Coaching Academy says: “Parents shouldn’t try to be the perfect mum or dad. Perfect parents don’t exist and real parents are much more fun. You can’t be 100% all the time. But you can be 100% some of the time. Those times are priceless. Connecting with your child – cuddling, sharing a story, jumping in puddles, playing tickle monsters and having fun together – will all create memories that last forever.”
6. Be screen-free before bedtime
A great resolution from The Sleep Charity is for families to have dedicated screen-free time for one hour before bedtime. This will help you wind down and spend some quality time together, and the light from screens has been shown to suppress melatonin production which is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.
7. Cook all meals from scratch
Let 2020 be the year you unleash your inner Nigella, so every meal will be cooked from scratch, suggest Netmums. Trouble is, despite slaving away in the kitchen, your kids announce they aren’t eating it, and ask for fish fingers instead. And then there are nights when you hurtle around ferrying children to different classes and all you have the time and energy for is beans on toast. Sound familiar?
8. Make a family plastic promise
In 2019, Girlguiding launched #PlasticPromise to tackle plastic pollution and girls from all over the UK made a promise to reduce single-use plastic and tackle plastic pollution. It’s the perfect family resolution – a small and simple lifestyle change to help protect our planet and the animals we share it with. There are five plastic promises to choose from.
9. Take 20 for 2020
Resolve to spend 20 minutes a day to slow down and focus on what’s really important for your family, suggest ChannelMum. It can be anything free and simple from looking for ‘minibeasts’ in the park with your toddler, or 20 minutes to really listen to (not talk at) your teen, to taking 20 minutes out for yourself so you can be a calmer and happier parent.
10. Read with your children daily
Research shows just 10 minutes of reading with your child a day can give children a flying start in life and help them become lifelong readers, say BookTrust and National Literacy Trust. Children who read in their early years are happier, healthier, more empathetic and more creative. Their early language development is supported and they also do better at school. Sharing a book with a child is fun, it’s a time for closeness, laughing and talking together.