At the start of each new year, many of us make resolutions; promises or intentions to do something better or to stop something that we feel holds us back. Being a parent adds a new slant to our annual resolutions and for many of us our resolutions are intentions for the year ahead to be a better parent.
1. Establish a routine for my baby.Routines are something many of us long for, to create a little order and predictability in our days. You can start a sleep routine based on Awake Times that are age appropriate for your baby from the first week of life.
Don’t be rigid but follow the guidelines in Baby Sense for when to settle your little one to sleep each day.
2. Listen to my intuition.In an age of too much information, it becomes hard to listen to your intuition. The best way to do so is to choose only two voices and one book or website to consider. Make sure your source of advice has similar values and ideals as you do so that when you hear advice it makes sense to you.
3. To have more patience and stay calm. Every parent has those days when they just loose their cool and shout or yell. While there is nothing wrong with feeling stressed, if you don’t stay calm things usually get worse – when you are stressed, your baby will become more winey or clingy or demanding which does no one any good at all. If you are feeling at the end of your tether: put your little one in a safe space with a safe toy, go outside and take a deep breath or three. If you don’t feel better, call a neighbor or someone who can support you and go for a jog or at least have some time alone. And whatever you do don’t feel guilty. We’ve all been there.
4. Spend more time outdoors.As soon as you see you have a sunny day coming up, plan an outdoor activity. A great idea is to get a large plastic sandpit and fill it will different things every few weeks – in summer, water play is great and in cooler weather, a sandpit or ball pond makes great outdoor activity. Just be sure to put up an umbrella over the play area to prevent sunburn.
5. To create firmer boundaries, especially around bedtime. There is a simple three step approach to creating boundaries:
A – Acknowledge what your little one wants “I know you want to …”
B – Boundaries need to be firm and consistent “…but we can’t….”
C – Choices are presented that are on your terms: “…. instead you can have X or we can rather do Y.”
Once this is laid out, be consistent and always follow through.
6. To remember I am a woman and have some ‘me time’ and get my body into shape. Almost every mum forgets herself in the process of becoming a mother. If you have a nanny or some help, go to gym or for a run twice a week. If like most mums you have to do this with your baby, schedule a walking group (or partner) three times a week. Pop your baby in a pram (stroller) or sling and go for a power walk. Not only will you feel better with a little ‘me time’ but you will get fit too!
7. To read to my baby every night and only allow 30 minutes of TV a day. Use TV as an emergency baby-sitter – for instance if you have a toddler and a new baby and need to feed and settle the new baby, there is nothing wrong with putting your toddler in front of the TV for a short time. Try not to sit your toddler in front of TV for hours on end. Rather create a sensory basket – a container with household objects each with a different sensory texture that your baby can explore. This will keep him occupied and grow his brain!
8. Not to stress about things that are out of my control.If you find yourself stressing about small things, ask these three questions:
a. Will my baby be injured by this decision or this action?
b. Can I change this situation?
c. Can I just accept this situation for the next 15 minutes
These questions will give you time to measure the situation and will diffuse the feelings of stress.
9. To forgive myself for my shortcomings.Every day, forgive your self for the things your did or didn’t you. You are not perfect and being an imperfect but ‘good-enough’ mum is way better for your baby than a perfect parent (which really doesn’t exist). Research has shown that small failings help babies to adjust well to life and to become more secure in their interactions and relationships.
10. To tell my baby I love her everyday. Simply say the words – its really not that hard: I love you!
By Meg Faure