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Resolutions and Parenting Encouraging Good Habits for the Whole Family
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I think it’s safe to say most of us spend the last few weeks of the year overindulging in all the good stuff. We get too much food and too little exercise during the chaos of the holidays. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the holiday season, and I think the indulgence is part of the reason why we make New Year’s resolutions. They give us the opportunity to mentally prepare for getting back into the habit of being active, eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and living healthier in general. I’ll admit that most of these resolutions don’t last more than a few months, but I think it’s still good to try. There are many ways we can improve as people, and the fresh slate of a new year is an ideal time to look for those possible avenues for betterment. This is especially important because, as a parent, the resolutions I make aren’t just for myself; I’m striving to set a good example for my kids, too. Parents face the constant challenge of teaching their kids good habits, and I think the new year is a great time to prioritize positive practices. Kids watch everything we do, so if we make it a point to eat healthier and talk to them about why we need exercise, they can develop these habits, too. But it’s not as easy as “monkey see, monkey do.” Has anyone else found their kids happily picking up on their unconscious bad habits and completely resisting the good habits we actually want them to learn? My boys are still so little, and it can be hard to tell if they are picking up on any positive habits my husband and I try to teach. Parenting can feel like an uphill battle, which is why we celebrate the little victories. I remember the first time I got my oldest son, Duncan, to eat green beans. It was a huge struggle, but when he finally took a bite, he looked up and declared, “I love green beans!”
Homework is another challenge we face. Getting Duncan to sit down and work has been a real battle, but I can see this starting to pay off as he tries to read everything on his own. We’ll be driving down the road and he’ll read the signs. When we stop at a restaurant, he reads the menus. He’s so excited about this new world opening up to him. It makes the effort worth it. Celebrating the little victories is as important in parenting as it is in keeping resolutions. We’re all human, bound to make mistakes. If we only focus on our mistakes, we can end up asking, “Why bother?” We need to acknowledge what we do right. If you set out to change 10 things in your life, and you only keep two changes in the long run, then that is still two important improvements made. It’s certainly worth celebrating. As a family, we’re not huge on resolutions, but I think finding ways to improve yourself and to encourage healthier living for your family is vastly important. It’s a habit we can practice all year long.
–Dr. Valerie Sperry
Sabal General Dentistry • 361-729-1333 • 1
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