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This is the most important New Year’s resolution parents need to make

This is the only one to stick to

New Year's resolutions written on a notebook.
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Every year we try to make New Year resolutions we’ll actually (for real this time) stick to. We might start out with an ambitious top five, and then whittle it down to at least one we hope will last all year. As parents, New Year’s resolutions look a little different.

You may think things like “don’t yell as much” or “make healthier meals” top your list. But there is one important resolution parents might be overlooking. Here is the most crucial New Year’s resolution parents should make this year — and really follow through with keeping.

Toddlers having fun in a playgroup with parents.
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Parents are burned out, and one resolution will help

If have been parenting over these last few years, you have seen some things. Between COVID, figuring out remote learning then sending the kids back, and working remotely and the possibly having to go back into the office, the shift in the amount of responsibility and pressure on parents — whether you work or stay-at-home — was huge. That’s not even to mention everything the whole world has been going through. And burnout is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

So, what does that mean for the kids? Well, Ohio State University released a report describing “parental burnout” is at a rate of 66% of working parents. It’s probably higher already. What’s scary about that information is how it transfers to the children. Parents who don’t have support and feel burned out are more likely to be depressed, turn to drinking as an escape, and have more anxiety than normal.

This tends to make those parents go one of two ways. Either they lash out at their children harsher than they normally would, or they start to detach and withdraw from their children. Neither of those outcomes makes for a healthy parent-child relationship.

Parents teaching their daughter how to ride a bike with training wheels.
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What resolution parents need to make

Thanks to some help from expert Ruth Freemon, the founder and president of Peace at Home Parenting Solutions, we have the only resolution parents need to tackle burnout and be the most present parent they can be.

Learn how to remain calm

The resolution parents need to make is to remain calm. Remain calm? During these times and conditions? In this economy? Yes, that is what’s needed, and it is possible. It won’t happen overnight or right away, but you’ll be able to reset your brain to stop being so triggered by your children when you are already overloaded with stress.

You only need 5 minutes to do it

If you think you won’t be able to cram calming techniques or learn how to meditate into your already-packed day, don’t worry. All you need to train your brain to settle down is five minutes a day. Pick from a list of techniques to find one that best fits your life and then set a timer.

Once you find that one trick that is the most calming to your brain, make sure you practice it every day. It’ll be easier on the days the kids don’t press your buttons and much needed on those days you are over-touched and over-stimulated.

A child sitting on their parent's shoulders.
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How to make sure you stick to that New Year’s resolution

While forming a calming circle isn’t always an option when you start to feel yourself lose control, there is something to do to ensure that whichever technique you pick gets done. It’s called sleeping. We know, once again, in this economy? But if you are not getting proper sleep, will you remember to settle your brain down? Will you set that timer for five minutes? Brain fog will take over and you will get too busy and be right back to either reacting too harshly or pulling away from your child.

All work and no sleep makes a parent a mess

When a parent’s sleep is impaired, you get frustrated more quickly and the littlest thing makes you irritated. It happens to all of us, not just parents. But it’s not your mini human’s fault if they trigger you. For your own mental, emotional, and physical health, you need to get proper sleep. Children thrive with an established routine, and parents will, too, if a set sleep schedule is followed for everyone. The TV show will still be there tomorrow, and you can scroll through Instagram another time. Get your rest so you will stick to your commitment.

Just because this is the New Year’s resolution parents need the most doesn’t mean non-parents couldn’t steal it for themselves. But parents, more than any others, have more ways stress and anxiety will pop up on a daily basis. For the new year, the only resolution that should be on every parent’s list is picking and perfecting their five-minute calming technique. Make the commitment to yourself and your children that you’ll start the new year off in a positive direction. Here’s to a calmer (and hopefully less sleep deprived) future you.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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