Scene: The day is Christmas. 5:00pm. Mom & Dad sit down at the table to enjoy a family meal together. Dinner has been prepared (Like... a real dinner, one that took a couple of hours to make), the table has been set (with real dishes tonight- not paper plates), the laptop has been logged into the extended family zoom-call. Cue toddler meltdown: “I don’t want to eat this!” “I want to playyyyy!” “I want to watch Daniel Tiger!” “I don’t want the blue cup!” “No! Not Grandma!” OOOF. Let’s wrap up this year and get your family stepping into the new year on the right foot. We have 3 ideas to help you hit the reset button. Read on, and stay strong! 2021 is coming in HOT and we are ready for it.
1. Create family rules.
Sit down and ask yourself- what are our family rules? Got a few in mind? Great! Now ask yourself- can my child tell me what our family rules are? Hmmm. Maybe?!
Family rules are incredibly important for learning appropriate, acceptable behaviors and differentiating those from the ones that, well, aren’t. Family rules get everyone on the same page- and when there is more clarity, there is less room for boundary pushing, power struggles, marital disputes. Yeehaw.
How to establish family rules: please note: if you don’t like the term “rule”, then feel free to call them “guidelines”, or “agreements”.
Not sure where to start? We often suggest these: 1) Be Safe 2) Be Kind 3) Be Clean.
Want more info on rules? We are always here to help. Schedule a FREE 15-min consultation call here.
2. Hold family meetings.
Try not to let the term “meeting” scare you away. The point of family meetings is to gather everyone at a regular time (usually 1x per week) to set intentions, or clean up something that may not be going well in the household. Starting family meetings with a toddler looks mostly like parents scheduling it in, and holding themselves accountable to sit down as a family for 5-10 minutes 1x per week, and complete an activity together. It could be reading a book about kindness, it could be drawing a picture for Grandma, it could be role-playing what gentle hands look like with Baby or at the playground, it could be revisiting the family rules and singing them out loud together. It shouldn’t feel heavy. Starting when you have a little kiddo, will help your family establish a rhythm so when they grow into a bigger kiddo, they know they have that time to count on.
How to start family meetings:
3. Commit to Golden Time.
Ready for the #1 tip that parenting experts continually emphasize? It is something that helps prevent meltdowns, creates deeper bonds, and fills your child’s heart with love. Golden Time. Perhaps you’ve heard it called something different but the idea remains- quality, regular 1/1 time with you. Sounds simple, but our Golden Time has a few specific details to keep in mind to maximize effectiveness.
Golden Time tips:
Remember, there is no such thing as the perfect parent. Whether you jump into all these ideas this week or dabble in only one for the next 6 months- it’s all good. And if you read this list and think “I can’t possibly…”, then stick these ideas in your Parenting Toolkit until you’re ready! There is no time-sensitive rush here. You can start any of these when your children are age 2, 5, or 10, anytime you think it’s time to try something fresh.