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Setting Parenting Intentions When You Have Young Children

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This time of year is often one of setting resolutions. But for parents of young children, resolving to exercise 30 minutes a day or read four dozen books in 12 months just might not be possible. What is possible though: setting parenting intentions that are actually achievable.

Here at Vivvi, our intentions for the new year are all about strengthening the bond we have with our children and making sure to acknowledge ourselves and our own needs as parents. Tiny things can make a radical difference.

Here are five parenting intentions you can make—and keep—even if you have young children.

1. Read with your child every day.

At Vivvi, your child’s education is our frontier—and reading is one of the most important educational tools in your child’s life.

Reading to your child helps build language and cognition skills, it strengthens their social and emotional development. It enhances their imagination, increases concentration and attention span. Reading together encourages and normalizes reading as a fun thing to do.

Reading together also strengthens the bond you share with your child, and at the end of the day: that’s what we want to be intentional about. Strengthening the bonds we share with the people we love.

2. Commit to 7 minutes of one-on-one time a day.

Set out this year with the intention to spend seven uninterrupted minutes of one-on-one playtime with your child every day. Seven minutes?! Of course you play with your child for way more than seven minutes a day. But what we want to make sure to budget for is special playtime.

During special playtime, parents use the time to actively listen to their child, practice praising, imitating and describing your child’s behavior. These intimate, nurturing moments together – where you’re playing, but also mainly listening to them talk – is crucial in building a strong bond.

There is so much data out there about how this intentional type of play strengthens parent/child relationships, but it also is good practice in listening for parents. Listening is hard, we aren’t born doing it clearly. The more we practice listening to our children, the easier it will become to listen to others.

3. Let your children help.

How many times a day do you hear, “I wanna help?” It’s the sweetest, most pure sound in the world. But there isn’t always enough time to let your four year old crack eggs (and then fish out the shells) before work and school in the morning.

This year, be intentional about giving your child at least one thing a day to help with. Maybe it’s turning off the light switches at bedtime, or pouring their own milk, or okay cracking eggs at 7 in the morning. But make it something.

Giving your little kids big people work helps strengthen their independence. It teaches responsibility, it makes them feel proud and accomplished. It strengthens the bond you share with your child by showing him that you trust him enough to do this very important task (however small).

4. Give yourself a time out.

Have you heard of the phrase touched-out? The idea is that you’ve been touched so much by sticky little fingers that you can’t take it anymore. Touched-out. It’s easy to feel that way mentally, too, especially with little kids who somehow never stop getting into mischief or asking questions. Sometimes you can feel touched-out in the brain.

Instead of boiling over in front of your child, make sure they’re safe then step into the other room for a minute or two. Do a breathing exercise or scroll one of those mindless apps for a few minutes. Whatever you need to do to calm down your mind and body before popping back into parenting life. Model the behavior to your child so they understand what’s going on. “Mama is feeling upset and needs to take a break. I’ll be right there in the bathroom, and I’ll be back in five minutes.”

You deserve to feel calm and your children deserve a calm parent. Giving yourself a time out is good for everyone.

5. Find something to look forward to.

As a parent and partner, you spend so much time taking care of other people. This year, be intentional about taking care of yourself. Give yourself something to look forward to each month. Whether it’s a concert, a dinner with friends (sans bebe) or a mid-day manicure at your favorite salon – make a point of making plans for yourself.

Having something to look forward to can do wonders for your mental health, especially after the last few years of canceled plans. It helps you stay optimistic about the future, it’s a pleasant distraction and it can be motivating. We know mindfulness is ideal, but we deserve a little indulgence.

Experience the Vivvi™ difference for yourself.

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