Modern parenting is hard, but a New Year’s Reflection for Parents is easy. Use the printable and ask three questions for a better year.
2020 was a total dumpster fire. A global pandemic combined with intense racial injustice and hellish forest fires doesn’t make for a rosy year.
Why would you want to do a New Year’s Reflection for parents? You’re already so busy, why should you find the time to squeeze in one more thing?
From my experience in 2019, completing a New Year’s Reflection for parents is quick and completely valuable.
A New Year’s Reflection for Parents could potentially be the best and most useful thing you do all week. So check this out!
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New Year’s Reflection for Parents
Parents are so busy scrambling from thing to thing, we need to take stock of where we’ve been and what we’re doing. When we’re constantly putting out fires with the children, it’s hard to see the bigger picture.
As you know, parents around the globe have had to juggle work and child care in response to the pandemic. Social distancing requirements mean a lot of us don’t have access to child care or in-person school.
It’s easy to think 2020 has been a complete bust since the pandemic had turned life upside-down these past nine months. But the New Year’s Reflection for Parents proved otherwise for me, and it probably will for you!
A New Year’s Reflection is helpful because celebrating successes is important. It helps to see what didn’t serve the family because deleting unnecessary obligations and re-prioritizing frees up time and mental bandwidth for what is important. Last, taking the time to articulate what we have learned is both affirming and provides direction for the future.
You can grab the free New Year’s Reflection for Parents printable here.
Three Questions Parents Need to Ask
I created a free printable and I based these questions on ones I heard on Crystal Paine’s podcast.
- What worked well?
“Well” helps us focus on the biggest successes.
- What didn’t work as well?
“As well” helps us to not focus on the failures. I pointed out that none of these are failures but just things that didn’t serve our family that well.
- What did I learn for 2021?
Focusing on the next year helps spotlight potential positive changes for the following year.
What Worked Well?
These are the things that worked well in 2020 for me:
- We had Patrick.
Our family didn’t feel complete in 2019 so we decided to try (and have) a third child. Patick is the missing person our family needed. I genuinely and wholeheartedly feel my family is now complete.
- We had Molly privately assessed for learning disabilities.
Molly started distance learning in March and within a few days, I told Kyle I thought she had a learning disability. Her special education teacher attributed it to behavior (“it’s hard and she doesn’t want to make mistakes”) but the psychologist diagnosed dysgraphia and dyslexia. Now I know exactly what I’m dealing with.
- Kyle and I have date nights twice a week.
Our kids go to bed a 7pm. On Thursdays and Sundays, they eat dinner on their own, and one of us picks up takeout while the other parent does bedtime routine. Sometimes we watch football and sometimes we watch HGTV. It gives us something to look forward to during the pandemic.
- Kyle eats lunch with the children on weekdays.
This means I get to take a break in the middle of the day. They get to spend extra time with him. It’s a win-win!
- I launched three new products.
Everything I create fills a need for my children and I’m glad they are helping other families.
What Didn’t Work as Well?
These are the things that didn’t work as well for me this year:
- We stuck with distance learning too long.
In July, I told Kyle I knew Molly would learn a lot more from homeschool. We tried repeatedly to try to get my daughter’s school district to accurately idenify her academic struggles but they continued to use behavioral solutions. We finally withdrew in December on the recommendation of the private psychologist. Molly is thriving academically with homeschool.
- Andrew had too much unstructured time.
He would then interrupt homeschool or fight with Molly.
- For several months, I worked all weekend.
I’m exhausted and it wasn’t worth it.
- I stay up too late.
I’m a morning person. If I get to bed at 9pm and wake up at 5am, I can get by top three priorities done by 7am.
- No childcare means Kyle and I are always “on duty.”
There are no really safe alternatives. We can’t ask a childcare provider to be as strict with social distancing and limiting contact to only household members. We are looking forward to finding childcare opportunities as the vaccine rolls out.
What Did I Learn for 2021?
- We can adapt quickly.
When March hit and things started shutting down, Kyle and I were able to adapt to the change really quickly. Being autism parents has prepared us to be extremely flexible and able to pivot.
- Molly can learn academics at home.
I wasn’t sure how well Molly would learn academic skills from me, but she is learning 20xs more than she did from distance learning.
- I need to trust my intuition and professional competence when dealing with Molly’s school.
I gave certain people the benefit of the doubt for too long and Molly suffered.
- I need to move beyond “not a racist.”
I’ve learned I need to actively embrace anti-racism and learn to eradicate racism everywhere, including implicit bias inside myself.
- Focused playtime really works for Andrew.
As Andrew became the middle child, it became really obvious he needs 10 minutes of focused playtime a day. The special attention improves his behavior dramatically.
Recapping New Year’s Reflection for Parents
Here’s the summary for busy parents:
- It’s important to reflect on the prior year.
- Use a free printable for a super fast and focused discussion.
- A New Year’s Reflection can help you identify successes even if the year felt hard.
- It can help you eliminate unnecessary obligations when you identify what didn’t work.
- A New Year’s Reflection will provide direction for your family in the coming year.
A New Year’s Reflection for parents might just be the most useful activity you do this January. Grab the free printable and a fun pen, find 10 or 15 minutes, and enjoy celebrating the successes of the year and what’s to come.