I’m not a fan of “new year resolutions” I believe people should do what they want to do / change what they want to change immediately and not hold it off until the new year.
So instead I will call these mom-esolutions, meaning some of your short-term but long-lasting goals as a mom starting NOW.
1. Igniting creativity in your kids by doing more creative things with them i.e painting, baking, crafts or letting them help out with some DIY stuff for the house or for them.
2. Let them make a mess and let them get messy! Not constantly and not by doing things like throwing food around. But make a set time for making a mess and give them activities where they can make a mess such as jumping in puddles, playing with sand or mud, rolling around on the grass, painting and baking will also work for this.
3. Sensory play! This is another big one. Different objects and different textures evoke higher sensory development, let them feel different things; grass, wood, mud, flour, water, sand, leaves, clay, play dough. But don’t stick to just touch. Inspire all their senses. Let them smell different things, go to your kitchen and make a game out of it, let them smell the vinegar and the pepper, vanilla essence, fresh bread, etc. Let them tell you which smells they like and which they don’t. Let them pour different things into each other (baking is good for this again) and see how colours and textures change. Go back outside again, let them feel the bark of the tree, let them touch your pet, whistle and howl at the moon, whatever you can think of. Besides brain development, this type of sensory stimulation has a very calming effect on a child. Your child won’t get bored with these activities and what could be better than mommy/or daddy actively doing these things with them and teaching them about the world.
4. Less TV, more outside. There are endless things to do outside even if your garden is tiny. Look for a 4-leaf clover, count the stars, try figure out which way the wind is blowing, blow up a small pool. And yes sometimes life is a bit busy and we can’t get around to doing all these things everyday but try do it at least once a week, it will be therapeutic for you both. And you won’t have to watch another episode of Peppa Pig ;).
5. Free play. Let them roam around on their own. This I recommend doing everyday. Even if it’s only for a little bit. Find a spot that’s safe and they can’t really hurt themselves, if you have a spot like this outside even better. And just let them be. Let them roam free. Monitor but don’t interfere. I know helicopter moms are very trendy these days, but it’s not my style. Obviously certain places or certain situations require your constant attention and require you to literally follow them everywhere because they are unsafe, but they need some time to explore the world on their own. Without mommy hovering over them and without being told “don’t do this” and “don’t touch that”. Even at a young age they crave a certain amount of independence, they need to feel in control. Free play, again, is very good for cognitive development.
6. Outings. Outings are always very exciting for kids. Try to do something different though than the usual Papachinos, take them to the botanical garden, take them to a park, a dam, a nature reserve... let them do something other than hang around a plastic jungle gym.
7. DIY. Make things for your home or for your children. Put pictures in your house of your families. Make an album rather than buying one from the store. Make cute toys or decorations. They will love them and they will be so much more special to you and them. Teach them to use their hands, lead by example. Not everything has to be bought.
8. That brings me to this one. Experiences NOT things. Every now and then on the occasional birthday take them on an adventure, let them do something cool you know they’d love instead of buying them a toy. Do something out of the ordinary. Take them to go horse riding, or canoeing, find places to go to that offer something different.
9. Read. Read. Read. As often as you can as often as they’ll listen to stories or poems. The greatest gift you can give your child is teaching them to love books. And you will have to read books yourself in order to instill that in them. Kids follow by example. Practice what you preach.
10. And last but not least, sometimes a tough one to master because of every day stressors and planning and being busy, but BE PRESENT. Even if you’re quite good at that one, you can still be more present. Put your phone down and sing a song with your child, dance with them, chase them around the garden or play hide and seek. It will do the both of you the world of good.
That’s all folks! And don’t worry I will do my best to stick to these mom-esolutions just as much as you.
Enjoy beautiful mamas! Have a wonderful year ahead with your little monsters.
As a side note I haven’t sucked these out of my thumb and am not dishing out what I think is best. My degree in psychology in which I have covered quite a few subjects on children and child development have come in handy and what you can’t get out of a textbook I have learned from experience with my own kids and what works best with them and when both they and I are happiest.