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Come December and we are ready with a host of resolutions for the New Year, ranging from plans of exercising more to quitting smoking, to ensuring better management of finances. How about adding a few resolutions that can help make you a more effective parent?
Here are some parenting resolutions you may consider making to help your child lead a healthy and happy life.
Set an example
Most of us do not realise the degree of influence we have over our children. This is why we should walk the talk when it comes to them. Have a healthy diet, don't jump traffic signals, don't smoke, don't eat in front of the television... If you do, you will most likely pass on these bad habits to your children.
Some of the other things you might want to add to the list include learning to control your temper, not making any racist/ sexist remarks, showing sensitivity towards people working for you and teaching kids how to share.
Resolve to teach them compassion and gratitude, which are as important as good marks, if not more, by practising it yourself.
There should be no compromise in effectively disciplining your child. However, don't forget discipline and punishment are not the same thing. It's most likely that, if you hit your child, your child will hit someone else.
Most importantly, when your child gets in trouble, stay calm. Avoid physical punishment. Use the 'Time Out' technique and talk to her about her behaviour. Teach your child what is 'done' and what is 'not done', from an early age.
Bring nutrition to the table
Remove/ reduce junk food in the house and concentrate on healthy meals for the entire family. Bring nutrition to the table and involve your child in your resolutions by talking about them.
Says Meenaxi Dasgupta (33), homemaker and mother to Aniket (10) and Saurabh (5), "Though we concentrate on healthy diet, junk food has slowly started creeping in to our meals. Hence, we have resolved to limit junk food to Sundays, provided the boys finish all their veggies during the week."
Provide healthy choices, including fruits, vegetables. Add variations and innovations in dishes like adding sprouts to pav bhaji, replacing pav with brown bread or using wheat pizza base instead of the regular pizza base.
Regular physical activity
Make fitness a family affair. The increasing rate of obesity among children is scary. Start regular physical activity early. Encourage older children to have at least one hour of outdoor physical activity everyday.
Limit television time and video and computer games. Instead, join your child in some evening activity like cycling, walking, jogging, swimming or simply playing ball.
Communicate and be fair
Start when your child is a baby and talk to her. Your child must be sure you are willing to listen to her and that you will be fair. Whenever your child throws a tantrum, is happy, sad or angry, encourage her to talk about it.
How many times have we yelled at our child and then realised we are just passing on our frustration?. Resolve that you will be fair to your little one. If you've had a bad day in office or don't approve of your in-laws' or spouse's behaviour, don't let it affect your attitude towards your child.
Teach your child something new
Resolve to teach your child a new skill this year. It could include making paper designs, a sport, dance, singing, etc -- anything she loves.
The best way to start any activity is to give your child a choice at the outset. Once she has made her choice, encourage her to stick with it. It is most likely that she may want to drop out after a few sessions. Encourage her to continue. Teach her to be responsible for the decisions she makes.
Read to her
Make it a point to read at least one story to your child. Apart from adding to the child's vocabulary and language skills, it is also a great bonding exercise. You will spend some real quality time with your child before she retires for the day. Reading to your child is relaxing for her and for you -- try it!
Make her independent
Give her small tasks and ask her to help you around the house. This will not only keep her involved but also teach her to be independent.
Asking your child to help you does not mean you love her less. A parent who does not teach his child to perform small tasks, like keeping the shoes in the shoe rack, or the toys and books, in place is overpampering her. Such a child is likely to grow up and be dependent on others for every small activity.
Get the father involved
Says Rashmi Vallabhajosyula (31), founder, Metrics Media, and a marketing consultant, "Whenever my kids need anything, the first word out of their mouth is 'mummy'; my resolution is that it should change to 'daddy'."
"I see to it that my husband gets equally involved with parenting, so he also enjoys watching his kids grow. Besides, by involving him, I can get some free time as well. He is a good parent. I don't have to drive him to do things for the kids, but I would like them to grow up and relate to both parents equally well. I don't want a typical Indian father-child relation where the mom is always in the middle," adds Rashmi, mother of Pradyumna (3) and Samyukta (2).
Spend time together as a family
Family time is on the decline. Make it a point to have meals together. Once a week, go for small outings. Switch off your mobile phone and make these bonding time. Encourage your children to spend time with their grandparents.
Finally, in 2007, let's not...
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