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New year – new parenting goals

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New year – new parenting goals

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In the new year, many people are either making resolutions to “do better” in some parts of their lives or are setting goals for the coming year. The people I talk to are nearly all parents and aside from the obvious “eating less and exercising more” pledges, their wishes for the future and regrets about the past are related to how well they think they are parenting. Many people feel that they are doing a terrible job and there are a few really important things to consider:

Firstly, you aren’t doing a terrible job!

I promise you!

If you are here reading this blog then I already know that you are doing better than you may think you are. The genuinely bad parents out there don’t care about how good their parenting is. They aren’t fussed about reading blogs about parenting. They don’t notice that anything is wrong. So no matter what you are listing in your head right this minute to convince yourself that I am wrong and you are in fact a terrible parent, you’re not.

Could you do better? Maybe. To be honest, we could all do better. No matter how well we are doing, we can all strive for the best we can manage each day, or to understand a little more. It’s worth trying, right?

2. It’s a new year, not a parallel universe! Set realistic goals!

I personally have never loved “new year’s resolutions.” They are usually unreasonable, unrealistic and within a few weeks, lead to a feeling of failure. I hear lots of parents vowing

  • “I’ll never use my phone in the presence of my children”
  • “I’ll never shout”
  • “my child is not watching the TV again”

That lasts a few days, or, in my case, hours.

It’s all very well recognising that there’s things you’d like to change; in fact it’s great. We should all strive to do and be better for ourselves and for our children. BUT, we will still be living in the same stressful messy world. We cannot change our personality, abolish the patriarchy, and lose 3 stone. We certainly can’t do it all at once in January this year.

So, whatever your specific concern is (screen-time, shouting, activities…) start slowly. Gather some information. Remember that taking first steps towards a goal is better than no steps.

3. Set goals, be smart and take positive action

When taking your steps, setting yourself goals will help you, especially if you are SMART about it:

Specific – make your goal clear and unambiguous
Measurable – write down how you will know if you’ve been successful
Achievable – make sure you don’t over-reach, smaller goals are better
Realistic – don’t expect lots of change too soon and don’t expect other people to change
Time-based – always have a time-frame for achieving your goal

Once you have done this, you will have a direction in which to take your steps forward. Then it’s knowing how to get there.

4. Know better, do better

At CalmFamily, we value information. We think that parents are the experts in their own children, not us. We help parents make their own decisions by providing evidence-based information. When parents have better information they can choose to do the best they can for their family.

As such, we have an acronym to help parents with their children ’s behaviour (CRUCIAL). We suggest that if you would like to improve your parenting style this year, you could focus on one of the first four areas of this to get started:


Children’s lives are often controlled by adults. Giving your child more control when it’s possible will mean they don’t try to take control when it’s inappropriate. Be careful not to give them too much choice; kids need boundaries to feel safe too.


Make sure there is a rhythm to your child’s life and they have a sense of predictability.


At BabyCalm and ToddlerCalm we provide information on psychology, neurology, biology of sleep, eating and the importance of play in development. This helps parents to understand what’s happening for their children. This makes it easier to empathise with them and understand their behaviour.


Effective communication with children can be tricky as they communicate differently to adults. Make sure you keep communication at their level.

5. Be kind to yourself

It is very normal to make resolutions to improve your parenting and then to resort to old habits. I do it all the time. Remember that you are only human and you will make mistakes. The moments when your parenting response isn’t exactly as you’d have liked are a fantastic opportunity to model apologising to your children. This is an actually effective way of them learning to be and say sorry. So, it is actually an important part of parenting.​

Want to know more?

​If you want to know more about CRUCIAL, including working examples, or you want to learn about toddler psychology and brain development to help your understanding, find your local ToddlerCalm consultant and book a workshop or the amazing ToddlerCalm parenting course where you will cover everything from behaviour, sleep, eating and play.

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