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I love the start of a new year, as it gives you the chance to start fresh and set habits that will (hopefully!) stick with you for the rest of the year. I’ve given it a bit of thought and while I have made significant progress in my professional life, there’s some areas in my parenting that I’d like to improve.

1) Turn off the computer/iPhone/iPad from 5:30-7:30. I’ve been guilty of writing blog posts, answering emails and just fooling around on Facebook while we’re eating dinner. It is a bad habit that must stay in 2012.

2) Make more trips to the library. At the end of 2012 I began taking my kids to the library every Sunday and it’s been great to see them get excited about books and reading. (Plus it saved me a ton of money from when I used to take them to the bookstore.) But I want to become even more consistent in the upcoming year.

3) Treat date nights like an investment in my marriage. Happy parents equals happy kids. My husband and I got into a bit of a lull this year, and I’m looking forward to being more proactive about our date nights. I’m getting Grandma on the calendar now for babysitting duties.

4) No more yelling. I hate yelling at my kids but sometimes they just don’t listen. They’re young and it happens. But then when they start yelling at each other, mimicking the tone and words that I use, it makes me feel horrible. In hindsight, I can usually tell when I could have used a bit more restraint, but in the heat of the moment, all logic goes out the window.

5) Make vacations a priority. As a child, my family traveled a lot more than my kids do now. I’ve been so focused on work and other things that finding the money to travel has been on the back burner. But I think in 2013, we are finally at the point where we can afford a decent vacation a year. It might not be Disney world just yet, but as long as we’re together and experiencing new things, it’s okay with me.

6) “Wake before the quake.” I must get in the habit of waking up a good hour before the kids do. It would give me time to exercise, to make breakfast, pack lunches or whatever else I need to do to get ready for the day. It beats my current system of crashing at night and waking up cranky and behind schedule.

7) Work to teach my kids the value of money. They are kind of spoiled, which is more my fault than theirs. And while it’s okay to desire things, I want them to understand the relationship between hard work and money.

8) Use fewer “negative” statements. As in, “don’t yell,” “stop running,” “quit playing around so much.” When I say that, my kids often don’t know what I want them to do, so it doesn’t help us get the outcome I’d like fast enough. Instead I’ll try to use direct statements like, “Please sit still” or “Use a quieter voice.”

What are some things you’d like to change about your parenting in 2013? 

Tara Pringle Jefferson is the founder of and the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she’s too tired to remember.

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