Try the S.M.A.R.T. method of planning

Agassiz-Harrison Early Years co-ordinator shares tips for parents in the new year

It is the year 2015 already! The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection on our selves, our families, and our values. This special time brings an opportunity to start fresh and create the lives we want. New Year’s Resolutions can be very promising especially during the selfless years of raising a young family. There is so little time left in the day for us parents as we race through our days just to repeat it the very next day. We tend to live and parent on autopilot. Resolutions bring focus to what we view as important and provide intention to our actions where we are forced to become present. So with all the promise and exciting energy resolutions bring why do so many of us fail? Perhaps it is because there is no real plan to ensure success.

Try the S.M.A.R.T. method of planning. Specific: Many times our goals are just too general such as I want to be healthier. What does that mean? What does that look like? Does it mean I am going to go for a walk 3 days a week upon waking up or does it mean I am going to eat 10 servings of vegetables every day? Measurable: Once you have set your specific goal, how are you going to measure your progress? You want to be able to find concrete ways by asking how much, how many, how will I know I have reached my goal. This helps you stay on track and feel excited on your journey. Attainable: When your goals are attainable you find the skills, abilities, financial means and attitude to reach your goals. Realistic: Your goal must be something you are willing, able and wanting to work towards. Timely: Your goal must have a time frame for you to work within. There is a sense of urgency when you have a finish date. You have set your unconscious mind in motion to begin. A time frame also helps you break your large goal into smaller more manageable components. This will help you stay on track.

So why am I encouraging you as parents and caregivers to be successful in your New Year’s Resolutions? When we become better individuals by taking care of our selves we become energized and refuelled to meet the needs of others. When I am able to step away from my mom duties and work responsibilities I am able to come back to my family with more presence, patience and understanding. I have a gentler tone in my voice. I communicate with love and tenderness and I take in each moment as it comes. I don’t feel rushed and therefore I am not rushing my kids along with me, which usually brings stress, yelling and tears.

You could also make a resolution to improve your parenting skills. Such resolutions could be; I will give 10 hugs a day to each child, I will praise my kids every time I see them getting along or I will take a deep breath when I want to yell. A parenting resolution takes you off of autopilot and react mode and sends you into a proactive parenting mode. These positive and intentional interactions with your children will be noticed by your children and they may just respond in kind. This will positively change the dynamics of the household and improve the quality of your relationship.

As parents and caregivers to young children, we need to strike a balance between all the roles we have. Many times our own individual self gets lost. We need to do things for ourselves so we can be more present for our children. Our presence is the ultimate gift you can give them. All of the wonderful benefits that we receive for ourselves are carried forward into our daily lives with our children and therefore creating better relationships.

So here is a challenge for you Agassiz/Harrison parents and caregivers. Email your SMART goal at AGHS_ECD@yahoo.com. Email me your progress throughout the year and include your thoughts, experiences, pictures and how your resolution has impacted your relationship with your children. I will write an article in June as our halfway progress point and another article in December for the year end results. You will have the added support of accountability if you would like to participate. I look forward to your resolutions! As for me, although I have many things I would like to work on I will choose to do physical exercise every day for 10 minutes minimum. I will do this both by myself and with my kids. I will keep track of my progress by recording my activity and time on the calendar.

The Agassiz Harrison Early Years Committee sends you all the love, patience and joy in the New Year for you and your family.

Kim Verigin is the co-ordinator for Agassiz-Harrison Early Years.