I am not one to jump on the "new year, new you" bandwagon. I don't have any new diet and exercise regimes or major life changes planned for the coming year.
However, I do think that the start of a new year is a nice time to reflect on what is working in your life . . . . and what maybe isn't working all that well.
In that spirit, here are ten New Year's Eve resolutions for parents looking to be the best that they can be in 2010 (I am going to be keeping several of these in mind myself).
(1) Play with your children. Turn off your cell phone, stop thinking about the work piled on your desk and engage with them. Be present.
(2) Focus on your child's strengths. Make sure that your child knows that you are his biggest cheerleader.
(3) Encourage creativity in its many forms -- even when it is messy and not on your timetable.
(4) Spend more time reading with your children -- even if you already do this on a daily basis. You aren't going to look back and wish that you read to them less.
(5) Don't waste time worrying about what friends and family members think about your parenting decisions. Do what is best for your children and your family.
(6) Remember that each new day is another opportunity to do better, be more patient, etc.
(7) Teach your children to be grateful, loving, kind human beings by setting the best example that you can.
(8) Have realistic expectations of your children -- they are just kids after all. Don't sweat the small stuff.
(9) Ask your child lots of open-ended questions about her day. And then really listen to the answers.
(10) Hug them. Kiss them. Love them. Take a moment every day to be grateful for the totally amazing little people in your life. Life wouldn't be nearly as interesting or magical without them.
Happy New Year to you, Chicago parents.