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Parenting Resolutions for the New Year

When the last noisemaker has rung in the New Year and the holidays have passed, it's common for parents to become tired, frustrated and bewildered as a result of their child's behavior. Many families get off schedule and out of sorts during the holidays and find themselves in need of some New Year's resolutions in January.

If your kids seem out of control, commit yourself to these simple parenting strategies over the coming months. They will help guide your children and your home back into order.

Tips for Tots and Toddlers (infants to 5-year-olds)
Use these tips to get your little ones back into their normal sleeping and eating routines and their behavior back on track: 

  • Continue naptime or start it again if your kids got out of the habit during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
  • Have your toddler get up in the morning and go to bed at night at a consistent time each day. 
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time as your toddler so you're fresh and effective for the next day. 
  • Have your toddler eat at the same times each day.
  • Put your child (and yourself) on a healthy diet.
  • Praise your child often for good behavior.
  • Keep calm and in control when disciplining your child for bad behavior.

Training Younger Kids and Tweens (6-year-olds to 12-year-olds)
Help your younger children and tweens regain peace and harmony in the New Year with these strategies:

  • Set a consistent bedtime schedule and routine.
  • Encourage healthy eating; allow some snacks, but use moderation as your guide. 
  • Remind your children about and enforce established rules for behavior. When your younger child or tween breaks a rule, discipline consistently and fairly. Use time-outs for younger children. For tweens, limiting access to video games and TV are effective tools for discouraging negative behavior.

Teaching Teens (13-year-olds to 18-year-olds)
Just like adults, teenagers need routines and moderation to re-establish a healthy lifestyle after the holidays. Get your teenager back into the swing of things with these tips:

  • Encourage your teen to get adequate rest each night; medical experts recommend at least six to eight hours of sleep.
  • Gently remind your teen to enjoy food, activities and parties in moderation; provide guidance on what moderation is. 
  • Set curfews for your teens when they go out and ask the usual "who, what, where, when and why" questions about their activities and behavior when they get home. 
  • Expect some resistance to your rules. Practice patience and be flexible with your teen.

It's a lot harder to keep a New Year's resolution than it is to make one. But being patient and flexible, with yourself and your children, will help you effectively re-establish healthy routines in your home. Stick to these strategies and enjoy the blessings that await you in this New Year.