New Year's Resolutions For Parents

Lose half a stone, exercise more, drink less, read more... If your perennial new year's resolutions are starting to sound a bit jaded and over-familiar, becoming a parent is the perfect opportunity to shake things up a bit. Now you can make resolutions to improve the quality of someone else's life, too.

Be honest, how many times did you vow to become a better parent last year? Now is the perfect time to put those promises into action. But if you think better parenting means fast-tracking your child's development or competing with the 'perfect' mums at stay and play you are so 2014.

Good parenting in 2015 is about making changes for your whole family - and that means your baby, your partner and last, but not least, you.

Resolution 1: "I will stop comparing myself to other parents."

The trouble with using the parents around you as a yardstick for your own behaviour is that you never really know what goes on behind closed doors. And if you could take a sneak peek, it would probably look all too familiar.

So forget trying to live up to a non-existent ideal and focus on what really matters - your own family (not anyone else's).

Resolution 2: "I will put aside time for 'me'."

When was the last time you lay on the sofa reading a book or indulged in a long, hot soak in the bath? Okay, now when was the last time you felt like screaming in frustration at your 'challenging' child(ren)?

Making time to escape your parental duties on a regular basis will supercharge your powers of patience.

Resolution 3: "I will stop obsessing about my baby's milestones."

While it's important to keep an eye on your baby's development - and of course, a joy to celebrate those all-important 'firsts' - it's equally important to remember that every baby is different and will develop at their own unique rate.

Their happiness is far more important than their position in the milestones league table so spend less time stressing and more time playing.

So what if you bribe your child with rice cakes to get him to sit in the pram, or your two-year-old still has a dummy?

You know those parents you think are judging you? Forget it - they're probably far too busy worrying about you judging them to care.

Resolution 5: "I will only say NO when I mean it."

Fed up of saying 'no' all day long? It could be the command has simply become a habit.

Try making a judgement call first. If what your child is doing is more annoying than harmful and you have no intention of physically intervening if they ignore your command, why not let it go? Choose your battles and all that...

Resolution 6: "I will make more time for my partner."

They may be small and vulnerable but those little people can gain control of your household if you're not careful. Remember that you are not just parents - you're a couple, too. Be kind to each other and get a babysitter once in a while!

Resolution 7: "I will shake up my meal repertoire."

When it comes to keeping the kids happy at mealtimes, it's easy to be complacent and rely on those trusty favourites. But experimenting with new flavours and recipes will awaken your child's palate and interest in food and make tea-time fun, not purely functional. And an appetite for food is an appetite for life.

Resolution 8: "I will find new coping techniques."

Anger is the nemesis of good parenting so next time you're on the verge of having a toddler-style meltdown of your own, find an alternative coping strategy.

Whether it's practicing a yoga breathing technique or playing your favourite track very loudly on the stereo (that should shut them up), find a way of distracting yourself in the same way you distract a child on the verge of a tantrum.

Resolution 9: "I will stop feeling guilty about everything."

Show us a parent that has never made mistakes and we'll show you a very good liar.

It's how you handle the mistakes - and what you learn from them - that counts so give yourself a break. This is the happiest (as well as the hardest) time of your life so don't forget to enjoy it.

Resolution 10: "I will stop over analysing."

Googling your child's every behavioural quirk and medical symptom can be reassuring. There's nothing like 50 women on a forum discussing the same problem to confirm it isn't "just you". But there's a lot to be said for parental instinct - don't forget to trust what your heart tells you.

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