I have banned New Year resolutions in my home, at least for myself. I’m sure that sounds odd; After all, the new year is when you’re meant to make all these grand resolutions about changing our lives, but really, how many of us actually keep them?
Personally, I realized I rarely stick to my resolutions beyond the third week and it wasn’t because my goals weren’t worthwhile. So this year, I decided to change my approach to see if I could carry my goals further. Instead of resolutions, I opted to define what my priorities are in my daily life and long-term, especially as a parent.
This year, I want to connect more with my family, to be more present and involved in my kids’ lives and to be a better father and husband. After deep reflection, here’s how I plan to commit to my priorities this year.
Spend more time with my kids.
I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to get lost in work or the business of providing in general and have long stretches where I don’t spend much quality time with my kids aside from family dinner.
That changes this year as I plan to spend as much time with my kids as possible. This focused priority means taking them out on father-child dates, participating more in their hobbies and cutting down on how often I say “Just a minute, I have to wrap this project up.”
Have more conversations with my children.
I want to have those in-depth conversations and lively debates that will improve our communication and give me more insight into who they really are. I am hoping that whether we end up chatting about their favorite superheroes, the state of the country or their hobbies, we’ll come to appreciate each other’s different viewpoints and I can increase my family’s connection to each other.
Be smarter about my kids’ screen time.
I’ve graciously accepted that screens and gadgets are a part of my children’s lives. While I can’t get rid of them, nor would I want to completely, I can help my kids make smart choices when it comes to apps, games and TV shows.
I have decided to devote more time to researching age-appropriate educational yet fun apps and TV shows that my kids and I can enjoy together.
Take better care of myself.
Any parent will agree that it’s hard to carve time out for yourself when kids are always underfoot. But I can’t be a good partner and parent if I don’t take time out for myself once in a while. Going out with friends, exercising more or just waking up half an hour earlier to meditate and center myself will all help me be a better father.
Be more loving towards my wife.
Whenever we venture outside, my wife and I do our best to model polite, appreciative behavior by being courteous to others. However, if I want my kids to grow up happy and emotionally healthy, it’s equally important that they see me being loving, affectionate and caring towards their mom.
Build up my kids every day.
With social media use on the rise, my kids are under pressure to measure up to all kinds of standards. So I’ll use our time together to build them up. I’ll be their cheerleader and sidekick and I’ll continually affirm how wonderful they truly are.
My family means everything to me and this year and I’m hoping my parenting priorities will bring us even closer together.