New Year’s resolutions by design are made to encourage us to pick up new habits or kick old ones. And that can be a good thing (hello, treadmill!). But instead of resolutions to do better in 2019, let’s focus on making parenting less stressful and more joyful in the coming year.
Here are my four easy ways to make parenting easier, plus three practical tips on helping your kids grow.
How to Make Parenting Easier
Because we all could do with less stress and more fun with our kids, the items in this list focus on simple changes you as a parent can do. If you incorporate even one of these into your life as a mom or dad, I think you’ll be pleased with the positive return on your investment.
- Focus on connections. This year, let’s make our number-one parenting goal to stay connected with our kids. While we will need to discipline them when misbehaviors crop up, don’t let negative interactions be the only way we communicate with our kids. We should listen more than we talk, and we should make an effort to meet our kids where they are…not where we think they should be. We should pay attention to what their interests are, and listen when they want to talk about K-pop boy bands or the life cycle of birds.
- Stop the repeats. By this I mean, stop repeating yourself to your kids. Say it once and seal your lips. When we habitually say an instruction over and over and over again before we expect our child to obey, we’re essentially training that child that we don’t want them to listen the first time. So we fall into an exasperating pattern that escalates quickly into yelling (on our part) and probably tears (on the child’s part). Break the cycle by stopping the repeats.
- Keep it simple. Kids don’t always need the grand gestures to be happy and content, so this year, scale back more than you scale up. Find small ways to make family memories that will, indeed, last a lifetime. Think back to your own childhood. Sure, you remember the trip to see Yellowstone National Park but you also have dozens (if not hundreds) of memories of the small things, like your dad teaching you how to sand a piece of wood or baking cookies alongside your mom. Your kids will cherish the same simple memories too.
- Family matters. When you keep in mind that your kids, spouse and you make up a family—a team—then your decisions about sports, after-school activities, events, work, church, etc., become easier. When your family matters, you’re not just deciding on whether Son should take hockey—you’re considering how hockey will impact everyone in the family. That helps to ensure one person isn’t dominating the family and that everyone’s working together to keep the work-school-home balanced.
Practical Ways to Help Kids Grow
Kids need a push in the right direction when it comes to growing up mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Incorporate these three tips into your family life and watch your kids expand their horizons.
- Start a robust chore routine. Chores do more than get your house cleaned—they teach vital life skills to your children. If your kids haven’t been doing chores, the first of the year is a great time to begin. If your kids do have chores, revise it to add more chores or to more evenly distribute the tasks. (My Chores for Kids ebook has been revised for 2019 and includes sample chore lists, plus tips on how to get your kids to do chores.)
- Give your kids an allowance. Tired of kids always asking you for money? An allowance will stem that tide. Children should have some “walking around money” that’s actually dollars and coins—not the “bank of Mom or Dad.” We started allowance at 50 cents a week when each child entered first grade, increasing that amount by a quarter through sixth grade, then $5 a week for middle school, and $10 a week for high school. Out of that allowance, my kids are expected to give something weekly to church, as well as fund their social lives and wants. That means they must save for most things, which teaches them patience, perseverance and delayed gratification.
- Make family devotions a priority. Spending time with God as a family will help you and your kids stay grounded amid the busyness of work, school, activities, sports and home. Start out reading through the Psalms, a few verses or chapters at a time, after the evening meal. Then each family member can take turns praying for each other. This will both build you up in your faith and strengthen your family bond.
Special Offer for My Patheos Readers!
If you want the tools to have an obedient child, then check out my online course, The Obedient Child. This course, which starts January 14, will give parents the tools to stop nagging, shouting, begging, cajoling and pleading with your child to listen. You will learn the secret to getting your child to obey your instructions immediately and without backtalking, arguing or ignoring you.
In the first three lessons under “Did You Say Something?,” attendees will receive ideas you can immediately put into practice and see results right away. Not only will your kids begin to obey the first time you give an instruction, your frustration about repeating commands will lessen considerably. You’ll learn how to be a leader your kids will want to follow, the magic of Alpha Speech and the simplicity of the Instruction Routine.
Then we’ll move on to four lessons under “But I’m NOT Gonna Do It!” Here, parents will get effective strategies that will not only change your child’s outward behavior, but do that essential work on changing your child’s inward behavior. You’ll learn the key components to successful consequences that go beyond physical compliance, plus gain valuable insight into how to train your child to really learn from his misbehavior. In addition, you’ll leave with the tools to teach your child an important adult skill—The Break—that will have lasting impact on her life.
So get off the merry-go-round of repeating, nagging and begging your child to obey. Stop giving consequences that don’t address your child’s heart.
The lessons will run weekly from January 14 through February 25, and include a bonus lesson based on my popular Chores for Kids ebook and a free copy of the updated 2019 ebook itself. You can watch the videos and ask questions within the private Facebook group whenever it’s convenient for you.
Special only to my Some Assembly Required readers! Sign up for The Obedient Child online course by January 7 for only $197—that’s a huge savings off the $427 regular rate. You must use this link to receive the special $197 rate.