I mean it: you rock, already. The simple fact that you have tuned into this article lets me know so. Every day you rise and make the world shine for your child; you make sacrifices and love them in a way that is golden. You are their hero. And I salute you.
You opened this article, because you are always thinking of how you can do more, be better, for your little one. You see the sparkle in their eyes and you want to keep it there. You are always searching for ideas to make their early years a strong foundation for a bright future. Your love for them, fuels this. But life is also busy, and sometimes it feels like you aren’t doing enough. Parent, you are doing enough. Maybe you simply need to do something different in 2018.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
As a 20 year early childhood educator and proud parent of three children (two now in college), I understand that the daily grind of juggling parenting, family, friends, work and your own goals and dream, is difficult. Your New Year resolutions probably center around working on one or more of these areas. But I want you to look at that little one, over there. Your baby who is not so much a baby anymore. Your 2, 3 5 or 6 year old who is at the most important time in their lives in regards to development. We need to make some new moves for them. They key is consistency.
Children are like sponges and they soak up everything. And while some of the resolution ideas on this list may already be a part of your parenting routine, adding a couple that are new would make a world of difference. As we go into 2018, let’s make a promise to ourselves and our children that no matter how tired or busy, we will do the best we can to help their little minds and hearts grow. Here are my top ten #2018ParentGoals.
1. Start a Reading Challenge
In 2018, it is all about expanding vocabulary and showing your child the world through books. Set a goal to read at least 2 books a week with your child, and keep a written record of your reading. Books should be age appropriate and interesting. Build a mini library. Allow them to read to you as their skill grows. If you instill in your child a love for reading now, their journey through education will be so much easier.
2. Get Your Arts and Sciences On
Every child has a talent or gift, and exposure to the arts and sciences helps us to discover it. Make a goal to take advantage of free classes in the community or programs at school. Purchase art supplies, music equipment or science kits. What’s even better? Doing these kinds of activities with your children! An hour a week adds up to 52 hours of arts and science in a year. And if you do it together, that is 52 hours of quality time. You can’t beat that.
3. Practice Positive Affirmations
Words have power, and the earlier we teach our children to speak positively about themselves, the stronger and more resilient their self-image. Think about it, what words stick with you from your childhood? Pick a new positive affirmation a week to repeat with your child every day. The seed of confidence you plant at the early ages will be planted within them for the rest of their lives. Watch their awesomeness grow!
4. Less Selfies, More Usies
As we set goals for our children, we may find ourselves constantly looking for ways to teach or entertain them. First step parents, put the phone down. Phones are such a big distraction from paying attention to our children. Each week, set some time for just sitting and talking with your little one. Face your child, read a book, snap a cookie and chat with them. Ask them about their day, school or favorite moments of the week. This is a practice I still have with my children and they are grown! But checking in with them has opened the lines of communication, and allows me to be a more present parent. And to solidify your time together, only take an “usie” with your child after you have completed one of the goals on this list.
5. Aprende a New Language Together
In the early years, children are ready and able to learn anything. You don’t have to wait for school to teach them a new language. Purchase books in other languages from different cultures, and incorporate some of the words into your daily conversations. Along the way, you will aprende too. It is a win, win.
6. Less TV in 2018
This, I know, this is a hard one. But turning off the TV will make one through 5 possible! When the TV is off we are left with the burning question, what now? That is when you go to 1 through 5 and spend an hour or so with your child, working on these goals. Limiting TV holds you accountable.
7. Use Community Resources
Our communities are full of classes, opportunities, activities and outdoor events that are generally free for residents. Follow pages and join groups on social media that are designed to keep you “in the know” and GO. Your child will have a great time on a budget, and you will be able to show them the good that their city has to offer. There are also classes and meetings that will help you as parent to stay informed about the issues that impact your child. Attend from time to time and stay learning. Knowledge for a parent, is power.
8. Take some YOU time
Yes, you read it right. Our parenting can only be as strong as our self-care. Make a resolution to spend more time taking care of yourself. When you are happy and nurtured, you are a happier mom or dad for that child. Children can sense when we are stressed or tense or in need of some alone time. So, give it to yourself.
9. Enroll Your Child in School
Not just any school, but a great school. Preschool is very important to the development of social emotional skills. Make sure that you do your research and choose a school that has the same goal as you, to provide your child with the best start possible. Hopefully they too have practices in place like the ones I have outlined above.
10. Be A Kid, With Your Kid
Play in some dirt. Run in the park Build with Legos. Tell silly jokes. Enjoy your baby. The world is full of problems and worries, but our children are not. Take some time to do the things with them that they love most on their level. It will be these moments that they will remember forever. Remember parents, they won’t be this little, for long.
Every day when I look at the beautiful faces of the children I am responsible for at One Step Ahead Learning Center, I think of the parents that trust us with them, every day. I know we all have the same goals, to provide a better life for our children than our parents were able to provide for us. Knowing better means doing better. So, what are some of your #2018ParentingGoals? What goals from the list will you add to your own? What new goals would you like to suggest for parents?
Leave a comment and let’s continue to empower the village. I too, will be looking for new ideas for my preschoolers
We are all in this, together.
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