Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Family Life

8 Parenting Goals to Start the New Year Strong

New Year's resolutions are often sweeping and grand. But you can often reap the biggest rewards by building off strengths already in place. Helping to make your family safer, stronger and more harmonious in the coming year may not require a complete overhaul, but rather a few strategic tweaks.

The start of a new year is a great time to take a step back, take a breath and look at how you are taking care of yourself and others in your family. What are you doing right? Celebrate that first!

Then, here are some some suggestions to consider. (Kids can have fun setting goals, too! See Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Children and Teens.)

  1. Get everyone up-to-date on recommended immunizations. Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, your children, and other loved ones from dangerous viruses such as flu and COVID, which are spiking among children. Call your pediatrician to make sure your children are up-to-date on all recommended immunizations, and ask any questions you may have. And remind your kids that good hand hygiene habits will help prevent the spread of germs.

  2. Build healthy digital habits. What are your kids watching on TV and online? Devote some time to researching age-appropriate media. Make a family media use plan, and try to prevent gaming from becoming an unhealthy habit. Remember that screen time shouldn't always be alone time. Watch a show together. Play a video game together. Understand what they are doing and be a part of it. Create or update your Family Media Plan.

  3. Read together. Set aside some time for reading each day. For younger kids, an easy way is to build it into your child's bedtime routine. For older children and teens, share a favorite book by taking turns reading aloud or listen to audiobooks together. Reading has so many brain-boosting benefits for kids. Reading together also strengthens that special bond between you and your child.

  4. Get outside more. Spending time outdoors can be a great mood booster. It also helps families get needed physical activity and vitamin D while enjoying time in nature. Spending time outside also give your child's eyes a healthy screen-time break. It may also help them sleep better at night.

  5. Check your car seat limits for safety. Kids grow so fast and can easily outgrow car seats faster than parents realize. Keep kids riding rear-facing as long as possible, up to the limits of their car seat, because this is the safest mode. This commonly includes children under 2 and most children up to age 4. See if there are any new car seat laws that may be going into effect in your state in the new year. Remind anyone who transports your child by car about all safety rules.

  6. Set aside time to cook as a family. Many families enjoy baking treats together during the holidays. Keep the fun going in the new year. Schedule special times to cook together as a family. If your child is a picky eater, this can get them more interested in trying new, healthy foods.

  7. Make a family disaster kit. It's scary to think how disasters like wildfires, hurricanes or tornados could affect our communities. But extreme weather events are becoming more frequent due to climate change. Being ready is one way to be less afraid. Ask your children what they would want with them in a disaster and assemble basic supplies. Read here for some useful items to pack.

  8. Mind mental health & practice self-care. When was the last time you had a check-up? Got proper rest? Once a baby is no longer a part of your body, it's easy to forget that how you care for yourself affects how how well you can care for your child. We also know depression and anxiety can happen to both moms and dads during and after pregnancy, even up to three years after having a child. The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline is available 24/7 by calling 1-833-943-5746. And for non-emergency support, you can contact Postpartum Support International: call or text "Help" to 1-800-944-4773.

More information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2023)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Follow Us