Five Manageable New Year’s Resolution Suggestions for Parents this 2020

Flatlays 2020. Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.
Flatlays 2020. Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.

It’s New Year for the Chinese, so it’s never too late to release the complete list of New Year’s Resolution this 2020. Moreover, we’re still in January!

If you have had any habits that were unhealthy, or worse, destructive to yourself, your relationship with your kids or your spouse, now is the perfect time to throw damaging habits away and turn to your list of New Year’s resolutions that will help improve yourself and your relationship with your family—being a parent, a partner and an individual as a whole.

#1 Beat Procrastination

“My mother always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, ‘Just wait’,” says American comedian Judy Tenuta.

Yes, wait! First, we love to deal with things that are fun, easy, entertaining and stress-free. However, in life, not everything is stress-free. We will sometimes have to face situations where our immediate attention is needed. Oh, procrastination!

In 2019, a few weeks before we hit January 1, 2020, I should’ve started writing my suggested list of 2020 New Year’s resolutions. A few days before January 1st was on us, I should’ve released my list. However, I procrastinated. I started writing in the first week of January when it was already 2020—when the New Year celebration was almost over. But hey, it shouldn’t be late releasing the list when we’re still in January.

So you see how awesomely valid my reasons are. If there’s a will to make excuses, there’s always a way!

These are one of the things I procrastinated about, and yes, I still have a few or more on my list which I haven’t started yet. If we teach our kids the value of urgency, how can we preach to them what we do not practice?

For some, procrastination may be a continuous habit. For others, it may be a situational thing. This 2020, let’s identify our priorities and do not delay tasks that should be accomplished soon. Yes, there are so many household chores that are needed to be done, emails to be answered, conference calls to be made, and if parents have these reasons (or excuses), then it should be valid, right? Wrong!

When you’re a parent and you want to do something so badly, do not do it someday! Like what American author Janet Dailey said, “Someday is not a day of the week”. Gerry Roberts in his 3-day boot camp urged everyone to “Do it now!”

Should you send your kid to a swimming lesson? Do it now. Should your kids join a competition? Encourage them now. Should you start a project you so much wanted? Do it now. Should you start exercising to lose those ugly flab? Do it now, for “someday” is not a day of the week.

#2 Prepare a household chores list/schedule for your kids and follow this schedule

Have you considered preparing a schedule for the entire week? Or a school year calendar when you are homeschooling? Have you thought of assigning a day on which certain food should be served for the week to come? Oh, planning! Sometimes you just want to go with the flow and witness how things come and go. Benjamin Franklin countered this. He said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

If you haven’t been preparing a schedule for your kids and yourself, strengthen your vision this 2020 and start laying out a plan. Schedule. Give tasks to your kids. Delegate. Instill self-reliance in them. Teach responsibility and show initiative. Do this while they’re young so that they will develop good habits, which they will also benefit later on in life.

#3 Read a Book Regularly.

When was the last time you curled up with a book?

I was talking to a friend several weeks ago when both of us shared what we were doing prior to our video call. “Reading a book,” I told her. Then she confessed that she couldn’t find time to read anymore due to a myriad of tasks looming in front of her. I felt what she was saying. There is a basket of household chores that seems to be filling up the brim every day non-stop! Our responsibility to attend to the needs of our little ones also demands our time, and the list goes on and on. However, these are not valid reasons to prevent an activity for self-growth. It’s either you do not make an effort to find time to read, or you do not find reading important at all.

Reading has a number of benefits. It can expand one’s vocabulary, reduce stress, improve memory, stimulate mental alertness, relax our body and increase our knowledge.

It may be done at the comfort of your home whenever there’s less distraction—like when kids are asleep. You may also plan to go to your favorite library together with your kids where everyone can be found immersed in the story and topics that interest him.

Woman curled up on a book
A coffee and a book

Love for reading is contagious! If you happen to be in a place where all you can find are books standing on shelves and passionate people who are serious about reading, you would find yourself, more often than not, picking up a book and reading, too. Just be sure to take those smartphones in silent mode to avoid unnecessary distractions.

If our seemingly overflowing to-do list is our excuse for not picking up a book, then we are missing out on something.

Grab a book while kids are sleeping. Cuddle up on the sofa and just enjoy that precious few minutes of your time reading. Then, you will experience all the benefits reading can bring to your life when done regularly.

#4 Read Bible stories with your kids and have them narrate it.

Reading should be all-encompassing. It ought to start in you then overflow toward your kids. If gadgets have become their primary pastime, think again. Many articles and studies have been published that expose the negative effects of over-exposure to smartphones. If you leave a young child capable of reading at a place where there is nothing else he could find but a book, believe me, he will read!

It is only recently that I have started using this foundational method used in many Charlotte Mason’s style lessons.

Children's Bible Stories I bought for my kids.
A boy reading a book

Charlotte Mason (1842–1923) encourages parents to provide living books to kids and have them narrate it. If you are new to this approach you do not have to read the entire story or chapter all at once then require your child to narrate everything. That would be too much for our little ones who are just starting out. You may start reading with 1-2 paragraphs then have your child narrate.

I only read once. This is to encourage active listening to my children. My kids know that I’m not gonna read it again. Also, if you give life to the story by changing your voice and showing facial expressions, then your child won’t ask you to repeat because you’ve already sparked interest through your intonation, volume of voice, facial expressions and actions. When someone gets deceived in the story—like Rebekah who tricked Isaac, her husband, to give what’s supposedly Esau’s blessings onto her favorite son, Jacob; or when somebody scoffs another—like Noah’s neighbors who mocked him while building the ark, I can immediately see my kids reactions.

The real test of their comprehension is not when I ask them a question or quiz them. The real test happens during their own narration.

Narration is having the children retell in their own words what they have read or heard. It’s a process that allows them to absorb the story, “mix it with ideas from other books that they have read, put it into correct sequence, form it into coherent sentences, and then give it back” to us (Sonia Shafer, 2018). It is also called oral composition, as Mason puts it.

Can you imagine how this will improve the oral communication skills of your child if done regularly?

Reading a Bible story with your kids, having them narrate it, then following it up with a discussion on your next session is like planting a seed of faith in the hearts of your children while they are young. Eventually, these seeds will grow in the hearts of our children, which we will all, including them, harvest later on in their lives.

Reading a children’s Bible story and having them narrate have many benefits:

  • A children’s Bible story in itself is a living book. Therefore, it engages your kids into learning more about a subject and entices them to finish reading or listen till the end.
  • Both reading and narration can improve your children’s communication skills.
  • It shapes the character of our children as they hear and read Bible stories regularly.
  • It develops the bond between parent and child.

Be there for your children while they are young. After all, they are only kids once. You will read with them for only a few years of their lives, then they will all be wanting to read by themselves soon before you know it.

#5 Nighttime Spent with the Family

Imagine a father—tired but excited—striding his way from his office. Another list of seemingly perpetual tasks in his desk were completed and finally, it’s time to meet his reward at home. In a lilting house, children are busking, setting themselves to carefree after accomplishing their schoolwork and activities. The mother sets the table cautiously in order to find her family consuming the final meal for the day.

Family Feet

Nighttime is family time.

Nighttime may be the best time to watch Netflix or a Youtube video together. Be sure not to stretch your time on the screen because the exchange of thoughts, sharing of stories–without screen distraction–matters the most.

Nighttime is a perfect time to read a story to your children. Let them remember these younger nights in their childhood when you eagerly spent it with them–through bedtime stories or Bible stories, listening and not just hearing their stories—by prioritizing them more than anything else!

May your vision be perfectly 20/20 this 2020. Have a great year everyone.