Categories
momsmartnothard.com

Parenting Resolutions You Can Actually Stick to in 2021

Every year, people around the globe make New Year’s resolutions. They promise themselves they will go to the gym, spend less money, and finally find the love of their life. But one area that many people don’t think about is making parenting resolutions.

What are parenting resolutions, and how can you use them to become an even better parent?

Read on to find all the answers!

What Are Parenting Resolutions?

Simply put, parenting resolutions are promises that you make to yourself that will enable you to be a better parent in the upcoming year.

Similar to making resolutions that will lead to weight loss, parenting resolutions will help you reach a goal.

And the good news? These resolutions will help you help your kids to be better, too.

Why Should You Make Parenting Resolutions?

The Child Development Institute compares proper parenting to building scaffolding.

It says that just like scaffolding is attached to a building as it’s being constructed, successful parenting operates in much the same way. Builders use scaffolding as a support, but it is taken down gradually as the structure is completed.

In other words, as a child grows and matures, parental scaffolding can be removed so the child can learn to stand on their own.

Here’s a quick video that shows you how to put it into practice.

What does this have to do with parenting resolutions? It turns out, a lot.

From birth to adulthood, a parent shapes their child, and that in part will determine the child’s future.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of 11 awesome parenting resolutions. The more tools you have as a parent, the safer it will be to take down the scaffolding around your child.

Here are our favorite top 11 parenting resolutions that will help you be a better parent next year.

11 Parenting Resolutions That Could Change Everything

Think about each one of these parenting resolution suggestions and determine whether or not you need to add them to your New Year’s Resolution list.

1. Step away from the phone

While it’s true that smartphones pretty much rule our lives, it’s also true that many in the younger generation are forgetting how to interact with actual humans.

That’s because it’s become okay to be on your phone when dining out in a restaurant, hanging out with friends, or even in a movie theatre.

You can detour this behavior by modeling how and when to use the phone. If you’re always on the phone—even at the dinner table—your child will think it’s okay.

Make a parenting resolution that in 2021, you’re not going to spend as much time on the phone. Talk to your child about your behavior and then ask them to join you in the challenge.

2. Open those ears

Everyone wants to be heard, but children have a significant need to be heard by their parents. If you’ve been in the habit of only half hearing what your child says when speaking, this resolution is for you.

Make it a point to stop what you’re doing when talking to your kid and truly listen to what they have to say. That can be difficult as things demand your attention all day, but it’s necessary.

As a parent, it’s important to keep up with how your kid is feeling and doing, and listening to them is the best way to accomplish that.

As a bonus, a child that feels listened to will gain confidence and grow into an adult that is great at listening to other people.

3. Expand their palate

Have you ever met someone afraid to try any type of new food? Chances are, they ate the same foods over and over again when growing up.

Make a parenting resolution to teach your child about all the wonderful foods and flavors in the world.

You can make a game out of this practice, by introducing a new food a week. When grocery shopping, look for an unusual vegetable or fruit to add to the cart. Or, look for a prepared meal your family has never tried before.

Before long, your child will develop an extensive palate and be better equipped (food-wise) when going out into the world on their own.

4. Books are cool. Seriously

As videos are becoming a more popular mode of information, many in the younger generation are losing the art of reading. That’s a shame because many successful people credit a voracious appetite for books for their success.

One way you can help your child want to read is to form a book club with them. Allow them to choose the book you will both read every week, and then meet with them to talk about it.

Because they will be reading the books that interest them the most, they are more likely to learn about the benefits of reading.

And yes, you will likely read about many things you don’t care about (superhero’s and furry animals, anyone?). But you will also find books that teach kids how to start a business, be a good friend, and other worthwhile subjects.

Who knows? Maybe your child will allow you to choose the book every now and then.

5. Give them what they want

Most parents are busy and don’t have a lot of downtime. That’s unfortunate because if you ask kids what they want most from their parents, many will say time.

Kids want to spend time with their parents. That’s why the perfect parenting resolution for 2021 is to spend more of it with your kids.

You can take time out for special days, spend an afternoon with them doing crafts, or take them with you when you’re running errands (giving them your full attention, of course).

Just don’t forget to use that other resolution when spending time with your kids: listening to them.

6. Give them what they need

Your kids need sleep—lots of it. And as a parent, it’s up to you to make sure they get enough sleep so they can handle the challenges of the day.

Think about how you feel when you don’t get enough sleep. Isn’t it difficult to do the things you need to accomplish?

When your child doesn’t get enough sleep, it will cause them problems in school and relationships, because let’s face it, no one is at their best when they’re tired.

And eight hours isn’t going to cut it. Experts say that kids need varying amounts of sleep depending on their age.

For instance, a newborn needs 14 to 17 hours of sleep. An infant needs 12 to 15 hours of sleep, but a toddler only needs 11 to 14 hours of sleep. A preschooler needs 10 to 13 hours, while a school-age kid needs 9 to 11 hours.

Why not make it one of your parenting resolutions to develop a bedtime schedule and then stick to it.

But remember: if you allow your child to stay up past bedtime even once, they will always try to negotiate with you at bedtime!

7. Let them know what to expect

When you tell your kid that something is going to happen, you should do everything in your power to make it so.

For instance, if you promise your child that you are going to go for ice cream after the school play, it’s important that you follow through with the promise. This will teach your children trust.

But it’s also important to follow through when they don’t follow the rules.

For example, if you punish your kid by taking away their phone for a weekend, don’t give in and hand it back to them before the weekend ends.

If you do, your kids will never learn the consequences of their behavior. And even if they do, they will consider those consequences negotiable.

8. Put them to work

Another great parenting resolution is to get your kids started on learning to work. You can do this by setting up chores for each of your children and then tasking them with getting it done.

Common sense says that the earlier you start your kids on chores, the less resistance you will have.

When your kids do chores around the house, it teaches them responsibility and gives them a sense of accomplishment for a job well done.

Just remember to train them well in the tasks so you set them up for success.

This parenting resolution will form a work ethic in your child that will serve them well as they grow up.

Talk about a great way to gently remove the scaffolding!

9. Put an end to rushing

Many parents go through the day rushing from one task to the next. They rush their kids out to the door to school every morning, and when they pick them up, rush them to after-school activities.

All that rushing doesn’t leave a lot of time for quiet time to spend with your kids.

To put a halt on the rushing, rethink your routines and alter them. For example, if every morning is a mad dash to make it to the school bus in time, wake up your kids 15 minutes earlier each day.

And if you don’t have time for a conversation in the car while driving them afternoon activities, reschedule—or gasp…cancel them—to leave more room to spend with them.

A hurried-along child is likely stressed out. Instead of cramming so much into a day, think about rearranging schedules to leave a little downtime for both you and the kids.

10. Step up the dates

Your kids are important, but unless you strengthen the foundation of your home, it will make it difficult to be the parent you want to be.

While you should spend as much time with your kids as possible, don’t forget to spend an equal amount of time with your spouse.

Date nights have been around for generations—for good reason. When parents take time for themselves to strengthen their relationships, everyone in the family benefits.

There are more benefits than enjoying a night out with your spouse.

When your kids see your strong marital relationship, it will help them understand what it takes to form one. And that will help them succeed in their relationships as they grow older.

11. Use your indoor voice

A study published in the Journal Child Development shows that parents who yell at their adolescent kids actually increase bad behavior.

What’s more, the researchers found that kids who were yelled at when they were 13 or 14 years old tended to have depressive behavior, low self-esteem, and conduct issues such as delinquency, anger, and irritability.

If you’ve found yourself yelling at your kids, you’re not alone. The study shows that 90 percent of parents forcibly yell at their kids at times.

Which leads to our last parenting resolution. Promise yourself that no matter how out-of-control your child is, you will not resort to yelling.

Knowing that it can cause low self-esteem issues, depression, and even worse behavior in your kids ought to make it easier to do.

Which Parenting Resolutions Are Right for You?

If you’re looking to up your parenting game, good for you! The better parent you are, the more likely it is that your child will grow up to be a responsible and happy adult.

Think carefully about which of these parenting resolutions make sense for your life, and then commit to them for 2021. Who knows? Maybe 2021 is the year you become the best parent you can be!

Do you have any parenting resolutions that you would like to share with our readers? If so, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Categories
momsmartnothard.com

Top Tips for Keeping the Stress out of Thanksgiving

On television, holidays are the best time of the year. But for a lot of us, family gatherings mean stress.

Whether you dread the work or the arguments you just know are coming, hosting a family gathering can be the very opposite of fun.

Never mind having to gush about how thankful we all are.

But there are ways of taking the stress out of Thanksgiving.

Step 1: Know the Stress Points

What are four things that make you dread hosting Thanksgiving? Go on, think about it. We’ll wait.

Chances are, at least one of your stress points is on our list. Because these are among the most common causes of holiday stress for everyone.

And this is important. You’re not alone.

A lot of people hate holiday hosting with good reason.

That said, four major holiday stress points are:

  • A bone-crushing workload
  • Demands and accommodations
  • The inevitable arguments
  • Paying for it all

Plan, clean, cook, serve, clean…ugh!

Nearly every holiday hosting article starts with a plan.

There are to-do lists, calendars, mind maps, idea boards, and oh, yes, that overachiever who isn’t hosting anything, but is happy to sell you project management software.

And that’s all before the day even arrives.

No.

No thank you.

When you host Thanksgiving, it’s natural to feel as if you have to do it all personally, and that it has to be perfect.

It’s not only not true — or at least not as true as you might think it is — but it’s also not necessary.

Forbidden foods and other traps

Cousin Chris is lactose intolerant. Cousin Pat is allergic to green beans. Your grandparents are vegetarians, and one kid won’t eat turkey unless it comes in nugget form and is covered in ketchup.

So, what are you supposed to do? Put together a separate Thanksgiving for everyone?

Heck no.

This can be a tough one, but there are ways around it.

As the family vegetarian with a handful of allergies and deal-breaking “Do Not Likes,” I can (almost) guarantee it.

Whatever you do, don’t bring up…

According to the American Psychological Association, arguments are one of the major causes of holiday stress.

If you’re dreading an argument, chances are, you already know what the topic will be, and who will be locking horns over it.

Whether it’s religion, politics, or someone not living up to a family member’s expectations, there’s always that topic that leaves us thinking “here we go again.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Keeping up with the Joneses, the Smiths, and the neighbors

It’s only natural that you want to lay out an unforgettable spread.

Unfortunately, that can get expensive.

But there are ways of keeping the costs down and still making this Thanksgiving a meal to remember.

Step 2: Build your team

You can’t do it all.

But the good news is, few of us are as alone as we think we are. Even when we’re hosting.

And do you want to know something else?

Most people want to help. Even the people you might think of being particularly unhelpful. Sometimes especially them.

Almost everyone, regardless of age or ability, can do something.

Helping makes people feel needed and important. It also keeps idle hands busy.

Most importantly, when people contribute to an event, they have a stake in its success.

And it goes without saying that having help makes your job a lot easier.

Instead of sitting down by yourself to plan a holiday extravaganza that will leave you feeling drained, call up your reinforcements.

Step 3: Delegate

Now that you have your team lined up, it’s time to get down to business.

Meet your helpers over coffee, lunch, or have a seat around your kitchen table. Host a Zoom meeting. You can even do it over email.

Now, this part can be difficult for those of us (ahem) who are used to trying to do it all.

Ask your helpers what tasks need to be done. Make a list. No idea is too big, too small, or too silly. If someone mentions it, it goes on the list.

This will accomplish a few things:

  • Lets everyone feel heard (sometimes this alone stops problems before they begin)
  • Tells you what your guests think is important
  • Allows your group to agree on what is most important
  • Gives you the chance to put individuals in charge of the things that matter most to them

This is how you do it

Are you worried Auntie A might not be able to eat anything that you prepare?

Do you dread Uncle B’s kids running amok?

Are you wondering how you’ll pick up out-of-towners from the airport and still have time to put the meal together?

Do you shudder at the thought of your sibling’s smart remarks about your holiday decorations?

Does the thought of cleaning up after it all make you want to scream?

That’s what your helpers are for.

Deputize them to assume responsibility for the things that matter most to them.

  • Auntie A will bring food for special diets
  • Uncle B will provide some kids’ activities
  • Cousin C will pick people up from the airport
  • Sibling D will be in charge of decorations
  • Sibling E will organize the after-meal cleanup

Make sure everyone agrees with the distribution. If they’re taking charge of the things that are important to them, chances are, they’ll do a good job.

Also, allowing others to contribute food and decoration will save you money as well as labor.

And that’s a whole series of worries off your list.

Techniques for Success

The day has arrived. Here are some specific techniques to help things to go more smoothly.

Let it go

A lot of the pressure of hosting Thanksgiving is worrying that things won’t go exactly as planned.

Guess what? They won’t.

Delegating has hopefully reduced your workload. But many of us may worry that our helpers won’t perform their tasks to our specification.

We have a rule in our house: If someone volunteers to do something, they get to do it their way.

It might be hard to let go of control; to take the risk that someone else might make a mess of their job.

But think of it this way. You might not be able to control how someone does their task, but that also means you’re not responsible for it going wrong.

So, are the picky eaters less than pleased with their offerings? Then they should take it up with Auntie A while you have another slice of pie.

Don’t let it flow

If arguments tend to crop up at family gatherings, alcohol may play a part. Even if it’s not a problem for any of your guests, it can still lower inhibitions and loosen tongues.

If you’re serving alcohol, serve the first drinks with your meal. Set out a limited amount, and when it’s gone, it’s time for something else.

And always have a few non-alcoholic options on the table as well.

Keep it friendly

If you’re worried about arguments, try these techniques to keep conversation friendly.

Focus on areas of agreement. If one of your guests raises a hot topic, don’t take the bait. Instead, circle back to ideas everyone agrees on.

Alternately, have a slightly silly catch phrase that will stop a conversation when things are getting heated, and allow everyone to refocus.

My sister-in-law always says, “Who likes candy canes?”

It’s also helpful to have a phrase that signals the end of the discussion, and an agreement to disagree.

My family says, “I love you, so-and-so” in a cheerful tone.

To us it means “I know we’ll never agree, but I love you anyway. Let’s drop this.”

Make a game of it

If the grown-ups need help acting like grown-ups, turn the tables.

A lot of kids love feeling like the adult in the room. Use that to remind potentially unruly grown-ups of expectations.

A white board (or pen and paper) can act like a swear jar. Deputize one or more of the kids to make a tally mark every time someone wanders into forbidden conversational territory.

That will remind adults to be on their best behavior. It will also encourage kids to be part of the conversation.

Sweeten the pot by offering a prize to adults who behave themselves. Or crown the adult who racks up the most marks the Thanksgiving Turkey and have them collect the dishes.

Handmade for the holidays

You don’t need to take out a loan to set a beautiful table. Handmade decorations can add a personal touch that everyone can appreciate.

Making holiday decorations is a great boredom buster for kids. It can also be a fun activity for adults.

And, it can save you $$$.

Take a Bite out of Stress

The holidays can be a lot of work, no question. But they don’t have to be something to dread.

The many hands of your helpers can make light work of Thanksgiving. They can also make it a lot more fun.

Categories
momsmartnothard.com

Fall Favorites To Make You Feel Warm And Fuzzy Now!

Comfort food is the hallmark of autumn and these fall favorites can get you in the mood. Indulge in some of the fall desserts you loved as a child to feel warm and fuzzy inside.

A lot of things have changed in our world due to current events. These changes have many moms wondering how to make autumn special for their kids this year.

So, what is a smart mom to do? She pulls out some fall dessert recipes and treats her family to something special. That’s what!

And we’re here to help you with an array of easy fall desserts to tickle your taste buds.

Make Fall Special with Our Fall Favorites

The words “pandemic” and “social distancing” have become household terms. No one is quite sure how the holidays will look this year.

Will kids get to go trick or treating? Are fall parties in the classroom a lost cause?  No one really knows right now. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the season to the fullest.

Nothing says autumn like the smell of fresh baked goods. From apple dumplings to pumpkin pie to spiced cider, the aroma of these foods can stir memories deep inside us.

One taste of any of our fall favorites will have you ready to jump in a pile of leaves like you did when you were a kid.

These fall baking recipes will not only stir your memories, they will create memories for your children. Having them help you make these fall desserts will give them their own memories of a cozy autumn afternoon with mom.

Sure trick or treating is fun. No one can deny that. But an evening of scary movies with goodies that make your mouth water is an experience worth having too.

It might surprise you how much fun you can have staying home and cooking up some of these fall desserts.

And we promise the fall baking recipes we have for you are way better than the stale candy corn your neighbor always hands out anyways. Way, way better.

10 Fall Favorites to Warm Up Your Home

What kinds of fall baking will give your home the warm, loving touch you’re looking for? Well, to start with, you want to focus on foods that are synonymous with fall.

These are usually foods that are harvested in the autumn. That’s why we see so many harvest-themed festivals this time of year. The most popular are probably apples and pumpkin pie.

I mean, who doesn’t think fall when they smell apple dumplings. And every single one of us knows autumn has arrived when we drink our first pumpkin latte of the season.

One bite of gingerbread is all it takes to transport you right back to grandma’s kitchen. You have the ability to pass memories like that on to your own children, which is a gift that will last a lifetime.

Even if the rest of the world is crazy, comfort foods such as the fall dessert recipes on our list can make your home a cozy oasis. And isn’t that what we all want?

Well, you can absolutely have that for your entire family. All you have to do is start baking. Before you know it, your home will be filled with the fall spirit — even if your favorite fall activities aren’t happening this year.

So, without further ado, let’s dive on in and take a look at 10 of our fall favorites.

1. Caramel Apple Pie

Nothing says fall quite like an apple pie. But you can give it a little more oomph just by adding caramel.

This Caramel Apple Pie is exactly what you need to give you a sense of nostalgia. If you want a dessert that says “autumn” then this all-American fall favorite is just what you need.

It’s also a dish that is easy to make. Bake this caramel apple pie, add a scoop of ice cream, and your taste buds will be in heaven.

You can check out the full recipe at Delish.

2. Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin is another flavor that screams autumn with every bite. After all, no Thanksgiving meal is complete without a homemade pumpkin pie.

These Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting give a new twist on an old fall favorite.

These are great for kids of all ages. And if you’re looking for Halloween desserts that don’t require art skills, these are perfect.

If you decide you would like some festive decoration, try adding Halloween themed sprinkles. There are plenty of other party favors that can go on top too, such as those plastic spider rings we all remember.

You can find the full recipe for these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes at Taste of Home.

3. Tomato Spice Cake

Now, I know this one sounds just a tad bit gross at first. But stay with us here. This Tomato Spice Cake actually became one of Cambell’s most popular recipes.

Please, just trust us on this. When it comes to the desserts on our list of fall favorites, we won’t steer you wrong. Scout’s honor.

Even though tomato soup doesn’t sound like the most likely ingredient for a cake, it blends with the spices perfectly.

This recipe first appeared during the Depression and has stood the test of time. That alone should convince you that it’s worth giving this old-fashioned fall dessert a try.

You can find the Tomato Spice Cake recipe at Woman’s Day.

4. Pecan Slab Pie

When it comes to fall favorites that will get you in the mood for cooler weather, you can’t go wrong with a good pecan pie.

The twist on this recipe is the shape. It’s a rectangle instead of the usual circle. And the benefit is that the pie comes out larger, so there’s more tasty goodness to go around.

This hearty dessert is not only a decadent treat, but it’s also just the ticket to get you into the holiday spirit a little early. Nothing says autumn and winter quite like a freshly baked pecan pie.

Out of all the foods that make us think of a holiday dinner at Grandma’s house, warm desserts like this pecan pie take the cake.

You can find this recipe for Pecan Slab Pie at Country Living.

5. Butterfinger Caramel Apples

There are no other dessert foods quite like candy apples. Autumn just wouldn’t be the same without these fall favorites.

This recipe for Butterfinger Caramel Apples is absolutely mouthwatering. These are even better than the caramel apples you used to eat when you were little.

Naturally, they are the perfect way to give your children their own memories of this festive fall treat.

Granted, making these can get a bit messy. But if we’re being honest, the mess is half the fun to the kids. Right? After all, the messier dessert foods are, the better they usually taste.

You can find this delicious (and fun) recipe at The Oprah Magazine.

6. Skillet Cookie Sundaes

If you’re looking for an individual cake treat that will stand out from the rest, you simply must try these Skillet Cookie Sundaes.

These fall favorites look as seasonal as they taste. You can customize each individual skillet treat with the ingredients of your choice. Candied pecans? Caramel? You name it, just toss it on in there.

That makes it especially good for families with picky kids who all like different foods. Each person gets exactly what flavors they are craving.

Another perk of these single-serving desserts is that you don’t have leftovers. Some people would rather not have that kind of temptation sitting around in their kitchen.

If you’d like to try these Skillet Cookie Sundaes, the full recipe is available at Good Housekeeping.

7. Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake

We’ve already established that nothing says autumn as loudly as pumpkin pie. So, of course, there’s no way we could leave this Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake off our list of the best fall dessert recipes.

If the words “pumpkin cheesecake” aren’t enough to make your mouth water, there’s more. This fall favorite features a delicious crust made of crumbled gingersnap cookies.

While this cheesecake is the perfect dessert to follow a fall meal, it’s also a great treat to nibble on while you relax in front of Netflix and your fireplace. And the kids will love it too. How could they not?

This Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe is available at All Recipes.

8. Gingerbread Pear Loaf Cake

Here is another flavor combination that may not sound appealing to everyone at first. However, this Gingerbread Pear Loaf Cake is a treat that you definitely want to try at least once this year.

This recipe makes our list of fall favorites because it is delicious but not overdone. Everything is pumpkin flavored in autumn and apples are everywhere too.

But gingerbread and pear are a bit less common. However, that doesn’t make it any less tasty or traditional. If you are trying to make an impression, this fall dessert is the way to go.

You can find this recipe at Food and Wine.

9. Classic Apple Dumplings

You can’t have a list of fall favorites and not include apple dumplings. Although these tasty treats are less common than they used to be, you can’t go wrong with this Classic Apple Dumplings recipe.

If you want a warm dessert that screams fall, apple dumplings are a perfect choice. You simply can’t go wrong with apple dumplings. Even the pickiest kids love them.

As an added bonus, you can tell yourself that they’re healthy. It’s a fruit, right? An apple a day keeps the doctor away and all that jazz, so dig on in!

This recipe for Classic Apple Dumplings is available at Southern Living.

10. Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s become a bit of a cliche, but let’s face it. Autumn isn’t autumn without a pumpkin spice latte. It’s a well-known fact.

And that’s why we absolutely had to include a DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte on our list of fall favorites.

Drinks from Starbucks can get expensive. But you can actually make one of these drinks at home and save money while still indulging. And it’s a lot easier to make at home than you might expect.

Give this recipe a try and keep the coffee flowing all through the season for pennies compared to what you’d spend at a coffee shop.

You can find the recipe for this Pumpkin Spice Latte at Inspired Taste.

Fall Favorites to Celebrate Autumn

Any of these recipes will put you in the mood to celebrate the fall season, even if this year is a little different than what we are used to.

The delectable desserts on our list of fall favorites can make you feel warm and fuzzy inside as the temperature starts to drop.

So grab your apron and pull your kids into the kitchen because it’s time to get cooking and bake some of these delicious desserts for your family.