20 in 20

Happy New Year! It’s a great time to reflect, recharge, and renew as it comes to parenting these lifelong gifts. Here are 20 things we can start TODAY that will result in big changes to our year.

  1. Step back! Count to 10 before jumping in whether it’s to help a little one go down a slide or to help a big one figure out a math problem. The lesson is in the journey.
  2. Less sugar. More veggies.
  3. Go outside! Pick up sticks, collect rocks, and watch the clouds. Being in nature has a direct effect on creativity and executive functioning skills.
  4. Read. Read. READ!
  5. Provide more responsibilities. Children love to help. Let them!
  6. Swap out books and toys that haven’t been played with in awhile. Give the play space and library a fresh start with “new” things.
  7. Listen. Like sit, listen, and look in their eyes. They have so much to say, and we have so much to learn.
  8. Model good manners and positive speech. Speak kindly about and to one another. Little ears are always listening.
  9. Be patient. We’ve got years on them. It takes them longer to do things and to process what they hear. Breathe and wait.
  10. Praise the EFFORT. “You worked so hard.” “I love the colors you used.” “You were really concentrating on that.”
  11. Say “I love you.” A lot!
  12. Model gratitude. A grateful heart is key to happiness. Help them develop that in a world full of “things.”
  13. Ask for help. That’s what we tell them to do. It takes courage, but if we need it, then we should be brave enough to ask for it.
  14. Raise expectations. This is the year to tie your shoes! To buckle the car seat! To tackle those spelling words!
  15. Grow something together! Caring for something else deepens relationships. Grab a shovel and get to it.
  16. Go to bed on time.
  17. Redirect with positives instead of negatives. “Walking feet” instead of “STOP RUNNING!”
  18. Stop and look at the snail, at the flower, or at the grass. We won’t ever pass this way again.
  19. Hug, hold, and love. As much as you can and with all of your heart.
  20. Put the phone down! Go play!

Find the joy-


Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.