Behavior & Development • Dec 28, 2015

10 New Years Resolutions Busy Moms Can (and should) Keep

  1. Make eye contact with your kids. Eye contact takes just a few seconds, yet most of the time when we are responding to our kids we are focused on our own tasks. Take a moment and look up from your computer, phone or housework to make eye contact with your child’s beautiful eyes while you talk to them. They will love you for it. It will brighten your day, too.
  2. Touch your children. Every human needs physical touch. If you aren’t hugging your kids enough, they will seek physical affection elsewhere. Older kids, especially, may be hesitant to initiate physical affection with their parents.  You don’t need to breastfeed your kids until they are three or become an attachment parenting advocate to give your kids frequent loving touch. Touch your child’s arm while you are speaking to him; hold his hand while walking; put your arm around him for a moment when he gets home from school. Kids who don’t learn healthy loving touch early in life may struggle with adult physical relationships, and may be at higher risk for sexual abuse.
  3. Let your kids sleep. Just getting enough sleep reduces childhood injuries and obesity and improves school performance and social success! How much sleep do your kids need? And how can you get them to bed on time? Dr. Kelly Ross shares her sleep research and tricks for better bedtimes here.
  4. Quit yelling at your kids (or at least try). Controlling our anger is actually essential for our children’s brain development. Attentive nurturing has actually been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that modulates stress, emotion and memory, among other things.  In a study by Dr. Joan Luby of Washington University, researchers evaluated how parents dealt with toddlers in stressful situations. Then they studied the brains of the children as they entered their school-aged years. The children’s whose parents gave supportive care during stressful events actually had larger hippocampal volume when they became school-aged. In 2016, resolve to keep learning new ways to deal with your kids when they make you very angry. I stopped spanking my kids. Instead, we use essay writing, redirection, extra chores and lots of other tricks to keep our kids in order. Now our kids become angry less often, and so do I. Do you have a child with ADHD, ADD, or other behavior challenges? Managing your (and their) anger can be a daunting task. Here are six tips to make your life easier.
  5. Cut down on extracurricular activities.  Do you feel like most of your one-on-one time with your kids is in the car? Do you give up family dinner or chores to get kids to activities? If so, it might be time to re-evaluate your family’s extracurricular plan. Here are my criteria for choosing activities wisely. Simplify your life, and theirs!
  6. Make time for creative play. Do your kids play outside, build forts and club houses and engage in creative play? What percentage of their free time is spent looking at a screen? Research keeps showing that creative play develops kinds of brain functions that are important down the road in higher levels of math and science – as well as intellectual, social and emotional development. Here are my seven tips for promoting creative play in your home.  
  7. Improve your family’s diet.  You really can cook healthy meals your kids will eat and still get to your kids’ evening activities in time. Here are four tricks to get your kids to eat healthy food and five ways to fit healthy cooking into your real-mom lifestyle. Do you know how many calories your kids need each day? Do you wonder if and how your child should diet? Mom-pediatrician Dr. Shoba Bhaskar answers your questions here.
  8. Take vitamins. It takes just a few seconds a day to get your kids going on some vitamins, and the potential benefits are immense: healthy immune systems, stronger bones, fewer cavities and much more. Here’s my quick-start guide to which vitamins and supplements your kids really need.
  9. Get the toxins out of your house. In the last few years, we’ve discovered arsenic in rice and apple juice and toxins in common school supplies. Dr. Katie Bucklen is a practical mom of two kids who has common-sense guidelines for getting the toxins out of your house without driving yourself crazy, so you can have a safer, healthier 2016.
  10. Take care of yourself.  Happy, healthy moms know that they need to take care of themselves first. Are you often rushed, stressed, and wearing the first two things you could find in your closet? Dr. Kelly Ross is a single mother of triplets and a full-time pediatrician. How does she do it? She knows that happy moms live life at their own pace, not according to other people’s standards and timelines. Despite her many life obligations, Dr. Ross still makes time to exercise, too! What do you need to do to take care of yourself?

On behalf of the Mom-Pediatricians here at, we wish you and your family a happy, healthy 2016.