The beginning of every new year is a great time to reflect on the past year. To think about the things you might do differently if you could have a redo. Would you have changed anything? When we all sat down to give you our wise words of wisdom on parenting into the new year, we discovered we really all had the same general parenting resolutions in mind.
Everything really came back to TIME and how we want to spend it.
So today, we’re breaking down our top New Year’s parenting resolutions for you. Let’s get started!
This year, I promised myself I would disconnect from my phone and be more present in the moment with my family.
Reflecting on the last year, I realized I spent way too much time on my phone. I made the resolution to put my phone away and focus on spending quality time with my family, especially with my husband.
For many of us, our phone is a way to escape. As we mindlessly scroll through Instagram, read an article, or shop, we escape the stress of the day and start to power down. But as we escape, are we distancing ourselves from our families and our partners?
Isn’t this the time my we should be the most engaged?
The reality is that we only get a few hours as a family. And more importantly, we only get a few hours as a couple during the day. Although, I haven’t been perfect, I am getting better and finding that I can actually escape in great conversation and family time.
Here are some things I have been doing to stay connected and engaged at nighttime:
- All devices are off during dinner, and we talk about our highs and lows of the day.
- We have made a better effort to get the kids to sleep earlier so that my husband and I get more time together.
- I leave my phone charging in the other room.
First of all, as a parent, there will always be a long list of things you think you could have done better.
Getting to all of them is not realistic. I have realized that being the perfect mom or the mom everyone wants you to be is never going to happen.
It took me a long time to be confident in my parenting decisions and how I want to raise my kids in my own way.
But if I could choose one thing to work on over the next year in regards to my parenting skills, it would 100% be to decrease the amount of TV and YouTube my 4-year-old watches. I can always tell a massive difference in his behavior when he has too much screen time. It affects his attitude and the way he reacts to me. He can literally tune me out and not listen to a word I say when he’s immersed in the phone or TV.
Having both of my boys home at the same time, I find it very easy to just turn hand over the electronics to entertain my oldest son so I can focus on what my 2-year-old needs.
My goal this year is to not rely on those devices so much. I want to come up with projects or something more engaging and hands on to entertain my big boy while I tend to the baby.
After thinking back over the past year, my top parenting priority this year is to reduce screen time for myself AND the kids.
I know…is this not everyone’s New Year’s parenting resolution?
All the articles this topic, the opinions people have, and recent news regarding the negative effects too much screen time can have on the development of our children’s brains has just been flat out frightening. As parents, we have so much to worry about. So why should screen time be in any different?
Well, I have actually some different reasons why my New Year’s parenting resolutions center on decreasing screen time.
1. For Selfish Reasons
Looking back on the last year, I found myself not enjoying or being fully present with my children after work. My phone was constantly by my side so I could read and respond to every text, while halfheartedly trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together with my oldest son.
I was only half into the activities with my kids and distracted with the constant *bing* of my phone.
Then I set a rule for myself that my phone was off limits at home. I made an active choice to end my work day at work and finish the rest of the day with my children. I even bought a “no cell phone zone” sign and placed it in the center of their toy room at home to remind myself to leave the phone outside the “room of imagination and interactions.”
Since making this change, I feel truly engaged with my kids. I laugh at their silly reactions. And I am in constant awe watching them meet their developmental milestones. I see how they struggle to figure something out. Then their adorable reactions of pride when they scream. “I did it!” with explosive excitement.
I am more focused and present in their toys, games, arts, and activities. It really helps my brain take a break from the constant check lists of responsibilities and “adulting.” I even find myself reminiscing of my childhood and the things I used to love to do, as if it were yesterday.
One simple step of walking through my front door at the end of my work day and putting down the phone has changed my world.
2. So My Kids Can Be Kids
Let’s be honest, as much screen time as we cut back for our children, they are going to grow up and be glued to a computer and their phones just like the rest of the world. Their careers will most likely require it, and it’s just what our world is now.
So let’s try and give them this magical fleeting moment in their lives
They can still use their imaginations, play blocks, make forts, color, and paint LIKE KIDS.
3. To Set an Example
It started with a video about excessive cell phone use in our world, its impact on human interaction and development, and the long-term impact it may have on us as human beings.
By far, the most impactful point for me was the message I send by having my phone on the table or next to me while playing with my children.
By having your phone out to immediately respond to when interacting with others, you are saying they are not as important as the phone.
I thought about that idea for a bit, and perhaps it is a bit exaggerated. But in fact, it is sending a message. “You are not enough of a priority in my life that I can put my phone away and only focus on you.”
I never want my children to feel I and not 100% engaged with and focused on them. I never want my children to feel they must compete with a phone to keep my attention and focus. Most importantly, I want to be a role model for my children. I want them to do the same thing when they have their own phones. A simple message that says, “You are the most important in this moment, and I am 100% engaged with you.”
Final Thoughts on Our New Year’s Parenting Resolutions
No one has it all figured out, but knowing your priorities in life is a huge step in getting there! And while our parenting resolutions are what works best for us, find what works best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY!
We hope you all have a fantastic year!
~ Katie, Alison, & Carrie