Be the best

The best parent? That would be you. Here's how to make real progress toward your parenting goals.

Learning Stages

By Candace Lindemann

Children's Author & Education Consultant

Candace Lindemann is a published children’s writer and educational consultant. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can also find Candace blogging at While Candace’s degrees prepared her for a career in education, she’s found that the best preparation for parenting is on-the-job training.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? Do you find resolutions are helpful?

New Year's resolutions are notorious for remaining unfulfilled. I've heard, though, that making a public declaration of your resolution provides a sort of "positive peer pressure." And, if you make your resolution measurable and check your progress, you have a better chance of accomplishing your goal.

Last year, I resolved to spend less time "plugged in" while my kids were awake and in my care and more time connected to them. This was facilitated in part by their growing ability to play independently, the find of a wonderful babysitter who joined us for five hours one day a week, and my taking on less work for my main contract. I think, overall, I've done a pretty good job. I set up times when I know I can get work done, I do additional working and online socializing when the kids are otherwise occupied or sleeping, and if the kids want my attention, I get off the computer or iPhone immediately.

There's still room for improvement—and I may need to resurrect my old pre-kids resolution to stop procrastinating so much! It never worked in the past, but maybe being a parent will give me added incentive.

This year, I resolve to be a more patient parent. As we craft together, I will focus on the process and resist the urge to "do it for them" just because I can complete the task more quickly—efficiency is not the goal and the learning and pleasure are in the journey. When my daughter takes five minutes to buckle herself in as I freeze my tush off outside, waiting, I will strive to remember that she is growing towards independence. During my toddler's tantrums, I will try my best to understand that he is not trying to "push my buttons" but rather is just overwhelmed and frustrated.

And I will keep in mind, whenever I feel my temper start to rise, that I am the adult. I always have the choice to escalate a situation or to diffuse it.

And when I forget, I will forgive myself and try harder next time.

I look forward to hearing your parenting resolutions!