The New Year is the perfect time to make changes in your life. It’s a new beginning, a fresh start and so if you’ve been reflecting that your parenting style is in need of an update, then seize the opportunity to do something about it. Here are the top five most common parenting resolutions for the New Year.

1.       Take a deep breath before you react!

It can be hard to maintain a cool, calm and collected parenting approach all of the time, especially when you’re faced with a surly teenager or a busy toddler who just loves doodling on the living room wall! But before you lash out and let your frustrations get the better of you, make a conscious effort to take a deep breath and reflect for a moment or two before you react to the situation. A calmer, more thoughtful approach will do wonders for your own mental health as well as the well-being of your family.

2.       Institute a set bedtime routine

Chaotic bedtime routines involving over-tired youngsters and over-wrought parents are commonplace throughout the country. And so it’s not surprising that setting up and sticking with a bedtime routine is a popular New Year resolution. An ordered bedtime not only means that you’ll be less frazzled, research suggests it also has a positive impact on the behaviour of children and their ability to focus. What’s more, you’ll have more quality time to enjoy with your partner and so it’s a win-win.

3.       Start a regular reading ritual

We all know that reading to our children not only benefits their own ability to read, it’s also an enjoyable, bonding time. Ask any parent with teenagers and they’ll probably tell you that the thing they miss most about their children growing up is that special time spent snuggling up over a picture book. Finding the time to do so in our busy home lives can be a challenge, but it’s all about developing a habit. And so whether it’s part of the daily bedtime routine, a feature of lazy Sunday mornings or an after-school activity, make a reading ritual a regular part of your schedule.

4.       Exercise as a family

Keeping fit should be a priority for all of us; however, finding the time, especially with young children, can be difficult. One solution is to make exercise a family activity. Try walking, cycling or swimming and not only will you be having fun together, you’ll also be setting a great example to your kids about the importance of exercise.

5.       Place more emphasis on good manners

The thank you letter may be a dying art, but it’s important that we teach our kids good manners. And so thank you letters or phone calls to Nanna or Aunty Jean after birthdays and Christmas should be a priority. And while you’re at it, make sure you practice good manners every day at home with please, thank you and excuse me being the order of the day. In that way our children will grow up to be considerate and polite citizens.