10 powerful parenting resolutions to make and keep in the New Year

Surely making a promise to be a more positive, present and fit parent isn’t that hard. Why wait? Start today!

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It’s that time of the year again when we take stock of what’s happened in the last 12 months and figure out what we want to accomplish in the coming year.

Most of the time we set ourselves fitness, career and personal relationship goals. But what about throwing in some parenting resolutions as well? After all, if there’s one thing we’ve learnt about being a parent is that there’s always room for improvement.

And that’s also the best thing about being a mum or dad ― knowing that you’ll learn from your mistakes, tomorrow or in the coming year.

Starting today, make a promise to include these very doable resolutions to your parenting New Year to-do list. Because at the end of the day, what could be more important than being a good parent, right?

Resolution #1 Leave work at work

Parenting is a 24/7 gig, but your day job isn’t. Keep that in mind the next time you’re still sitting at your desk at 7pm on a workday, instead of being home with your little ones. After her kids arrived, Rohana Naidu did everything to make sure she didn’t have to stay in the office past the normal hours. “I make a list of what I have to get done every morning, so as to stay focused. I even bring food from home and have a quick lunch, so I wouldn’t waste time heading out,” says the mum of two. “If there’s something I can’t get done by 6pm, I will log on from home after the kids go to bed and finish it up.” As much as you love your career, don’t forget that being a parent should always be your most important job. You owe it to your kids to be around as much as possible if you want to establish a strong relationship with them.

Resolve to prepare a nutritious meal at home at least once a week – or maybe on the weekends, when you are less busy. Your kiddos will acquire better eating habits.

Resolution #2 Eat at home more often

One of the best childhood memories for many of us is sitting down as a family to tuck into mum or dad’s famous homemade curries, soups or stir-fries. These days, thanks to our busy schedules, family dinners and homecooked meals are not as common as they used to be. A quick dinner at your neighbourhood coffee shop or a fast food joint is not only quick and cheap, but also convenient on hectic weekdays. While cooking at home is challenging if you don’t have help, resolve to prepare a nutritious meal at home at least once a week – or maybe on the weekends when you are less busy. Your kiddos will acquire better eating habits and you will also save some money along the way.

Resolution #3 Exercise together as a family

While we’re on the topic of instilling healthy habits in your kids, don’t forget the benefits of keeping fit as well. Don’t make it a chore though, such as organising a super-early morning jog or picking an activity someone in the family doesn’t like. It also doesn’t have to be as hard-core as a trek up Bukit Timah Hill, unless it’s something the brood enjoy. Staying active can be as simple as Saturday morning swims in your condo, or a long walk through the Botanic Gardens followed by a scrumptious brunch at a café nearby. Or maybe even visiting one of the many farms, parks and water-play areas around the island. It’s all about being out and about, enjoying some fresh air as well as each other’s company.

Resolution #4 Be less of a slave to your devices

We know the multitude of benefits that come with technology. For one, we can keep track of junior when they’re out via WhatsApp messages. There are even apps these days that help us with being more organised and ease our parenting challenges. As they become part and parcel of our life, it’s hard to completely switch off from technology. So, we’re all guilty of reaching out to our devices to check it just “one more time”. However, this often eats into family time. While it’s hard to go on a full digital detox (and kudos to you if you have!), a more practical approach is to allocate certain times during the day to get off your devices. “My husband came up with a rule in our house that on weekdays, after dinner, we are both off our phones and only focus on our son until we put him to bed,” says Grace Chua. “It was hard at first, but we kept each other in check and soon, it was no longer an issue. I also enjoyed the break from staring at my phone so much.”