According to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions but only eight percent of those people are successful in achieving their resolution.
In 2012, parents watched their adorable, little baby start to grow and develop into a wonderful, unique, not-so-little person. Yes, it is true; you officially are the parent of very active, imaginative, beautiful toddler. Goodbye baby, hello toddler. The New Year is a great time to reflect on the past year and congratulate your amazing parenting abilities and to make new parenting resolutions that will help your toddler grow, develop, succeed and thrive through the next twelve action-packed months of fantastic firsts and constant discoveries.
Here is a list of possible New Year’s parenting resolutions for parents with toddlers. More information regarding the benefits of these resolutions and other toddler questions and concerns can be found in “What to expect the second year”, (Murkoff & Mazel 2011).
1. Keep your toddler active. Toddlers who stay active: sleep better, are happier, burn more energy in positive ways, are healthier, have better appetites, less likely to become overweight, and are more likely to become active adults.
2. Introduce healthy eating habits. Start with the following healthy feeding basics:
- Bites count (but don’t have to be counted)-It is smart to focus on quality, not quantity. Toddlers can stay active on few bites a day, and it is normal.
- You pick, toddler chooses- As the parent, you pick which foods are bought, and you get to pick when certain foods are appropriate. It’s okay for your toddler to choose from a selection of healthy foods.
- Snacks are essential- Snacks rock! They provide energy for their busy, active day and fill any nutritional gaps that were missed during the meal.
3. Establish good sleep habits-3 top tips
- Keep routines routine-A calm, soothing bedtime routine works great when putting your toddler to sleep every night. Be consistent.
- Stay on schedule- Pick consistent bedtimes and naptimes and stick to them.
- Wake by the clock-Keep wake-ups consistent. Crazy wake-up times can keep your toddler from developing important healthy sleep habits.
4. Learn and use the basic principles of effective discipline.
- Do it with love, lots of love-Unconditional love, is the love that gives your toddler the solid foundation on which to build great behavior.
- Stick to the middle ground-Aim for balance, be the teacher, not the dictator. Maintain control, do not be contolling. Don’t police your toddler, but be firm with rules, limits and values.
- Remember your child is an individual-Every child is unique and different in their own amazing way. You will need to factor in temperament of both you and your child, circumstances, and do what feels right for your family.
- Be consistently consistent-Your child will feel grounded, secure, safe and loved when they know what to expect and what is expected of them. Also, be consistent in enforcing them at all times.
- Be persistent and patient-Don’t give up, don’t give in. Be patient, calm, and keep in mind that it will take time and be prepared to repeat the same message several times.
5. Help to encourage your toddler to reach destination communication.
- Expand the world-Expand your toddler’s environment and experiences.
- Talk the talk-The more you speak to your toddler, they quicker they’ll talk back.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat-Repetition is important because this is how your toddler starts to make sense of the word and phrases.
- Be animated-Talking animated with your toddler will get and hold their interest longer than talking in a monotone.
- Don’t make it too easy-Communication is a very hard job for a lot of people. Don’t anticipate your toddler’s every need, there won’t be as much incentive to work on their verbal skills.
6. Cultivate your toddler’s curiousity.
- Be the answer parent-Your child’s one million questions deserve answers, and it’s the answers that keep the questions coming. Keep them short and simple.
- Encourage exploration-Toddlers make their wonderful discoveries through their fabulous explorations. Your toddler’s world is chucked-full of things that they need to experience firsthand.
- Mix it up-The best part about being a parent of a toddler is that every day is an opportunity for wonderful experiences. The possibilities are endless and everywhere.