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With the arrival of the New Year comes the arrival of the dreaded New Year's resolution—you know, the one that you're all gung ho about at first? It's the same one that gets ditched when your enthusiasm for weight loss wanes. Luckily, some resolutions aren't just beneficial—they're actually doable. Okay, this might not be the year that you finally achieve your old bikini body, but it could be the year you become a better parent. Make your kids and family the beneficiaries of this year's easy resolutions and you might be more apt to stick to your guns.
Put the Smartphone Down
Parenting can be a little isolating at time, so it's understandable that you're a little glued to your smartphone during naps, lunch and at the park. Texting, emailing and social networking helps you stay connected and feeling human. But beware of parenting with a phone clamped in your hand—a 2009 study from Stanford University, published in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" found that chronic multitaskers actually performed worse when it came to cognitive tasks than someone just focusing on one thing at a time. Give your child the quality time she deserves by making an effort to put the phone down and focus on just being a parent.
Invest in Healthier Eats
Okay, so healthier eating isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff when it comes to New Year's resolutions. But while you might nosh on an apple instead of chocolate, what’s your family snacking on? Making healthier eating a house-wide goal means you all benefit from a restocking of the fridge. While you're at it, a resolution to make just one dinner—no special requests for pancakes when you've made a veggie lasagna—can help simplify your life and get your child accustomed to more nutritious foods.
See that door attached to the front of your house? It's not just for collecting mail or letting your dog out—it's the portal to a world of discovery, exercise and quality time. It might seem too simple, but getting outside—sans your tablet and smartphone, of course—gives you a distraction-free space for face-to-face fun with your little one. Whether you kick a ball around, build a snowman or head to the park, your child gets one-on-one time, fresh air and exercise. Awesome mom moment!
If you nearly have a panic attack every time you look at your calendar, you might have a problem with simplifying things. Sure, you might want your tiny superstar to be a world-class gymnast, dancer, soccer player, violinist and everything else, but what's the cost for all of that overscheduling? Instead of spending the next year in complete survival mode, see what extracurricular activities you can cut for a cleaner calendar. Choose one or two must-haves and free up some time to spend together—outside of shuttling from activity to activity in the car.
Make a Family Bucket List
Go to the beach? See a play? Carve pumpkins at Halloween? Every family should have a yearlong bucket list. Not only will you get to map out your current traditions, but you can also think up some new ones as boredom busters. Pick a bucket list item for each month and put the list somewhere you can see it often. That way, when you have a free weekend, you can choose an adventure and make some memories.
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