At the start of each new year many of us make a set of resolutions which should have a positive impact on our lives. Who hasn’t signed up to a gym to fulfil that ‘be more healthy’ resolution? Or frantically tidied the house in an attempt to be more organised? Or bought those now long-forgotten walking boots with the intention of getting out of the house more? Very few life-changing or enhancing resolutions are still being stuck to by the end of January, let alone long enough to truly make a difference.
At Parental Choice we have collated the advice of parenting experts and bloggers to establish what are the key resolutions busy working parents could make to enhance family life and help with that all important work:life balance.
Commit to spending one-to-one time with each of your children every day. Put down that phone and be completely present.
Improve your routines by adding a nice to have at the end – ‘yes you can watch the TV once you have got ready for school, cleaned your teeth and made your bed’ etc.
Make your family a team by getting everyone to help around the house. Work out what needs to be done and how frequently, then allocated tasks in a realistic way. Start small with keeping bedrooms tidy and making beds. Older children can vacuum and load dishwashers. For a busy working family everyone chipping-in will help relieve the stress for mum and dad.
‘Say Yes Day’ is one we love from parents.com. Put six ‘have a nice day’ and one ‘say yes’ notes into a pot. Let your child choose one per day (or as often as you choose), if they pick ‘say yes’, both you and they have to say yes (within reason) to all and any requests for the whole day. Their research proves that the children don’t take advantage as they see it as a real treat which can be repeated.
Not surprisingly, eating together is heavily recommended. Trying to get together as a family for regular meals see children not only eating more healthily, but research states the children perform better at school, have wider vocabulary, are more resilient and less like to fall into unhealthy habits. We know as busy working families every day is unachievable but try for once a week and give yourself a high five for every extra one you do achieve.
Our friends over at familiesonline have some great ideas, none of which are massively onerous, but could make a big difference to your family now and in the future.
Keep a family journal and regularly record activities you do together. Add pictures and keepsakes – imagine how delighted your children will be when you share these memories with them in years to come.
Up your positives! For every negative comment say to your child think and deliver three positives – maybe we’ll stop with the ‘no’s’!
Listen more and not while you are doing something else. Stop, put down your phone, look at your child and properly listen to what they are saying to you. Respond with respect and relevance.
Read more with your children, this should be them reading to you, you reading to them and try reading together – take it in turn to read a page – it will teach them intonation, expression and grammar. Plus, you both get to make up the voices – it’s a win-win.
Enjoy the free. Dust off those long-forgotten boots and take the kids out and about in the great and very free outdoors. They may protest at the outset, but what child can resist a session jumping in muddy puddles or reaching the top of a mountain?
Get more sleep as a family. We all know that in the lead-up to Christmas and over the holidays routines slip, bedtimes get later for adults and children alike. We all need a good night sleep to aid learning, moods and health. Set realistic bedtimes and stick to them.
Another one suggested by nearly all the experts is drop the tech. And it’s not just the kids. Put your phone down, switch off the television or tablet and play a game, listen to each other, read or do some exercise. In today’s on-demand world, it will all still be there when you go back to it. Can you do this for a whole day a month? We think probably not…
Finally, and one which is most relevant to us here, betterparents.com suggest making use of your guilt. It is said that being a parent involves dealing with daily guilt and as a working parent this increases as you cannot always be where your child wants you to be. Take your guilt and work out what is driving it and make a change. Employ a nanny so your child has consistent daily care, take on a tutor because your job means you don’t have time for all the extra learning, get a better understanding of the real options you have for your childcare.
Parental Choice can help you with this last resolution. We are here to help you with your relocation issues, school searches and childcare queries: parentalchoice.asia