Parents should resolve to take responsibility seriously in the

December 31, 2004|by Lisa Tedrick Prejean

It's New Year's Eve, a perfect time to reflect on the last 12 months and to look forward to the year to come.

For parents, it's especially important to resolve to do our jobs better, to keep informed and to not repeat past mistakes.

There are little lives depending on us, and we must take this job seriously.

In light of that, here are some resolutions all parents should make. Perhaps you're up-to-date on all of these. If you are, congratulations. You most likely are in the minority. Just don't make the rest of us look too bad while you gloat, OK? Thanks.

Resolution 1: I will check my calendar to see how long it has been since my child has seen a family doctor or pediatrician. If my child hasn't been seen by a doctor for more than a year, I will call to schedule a checkup. While there, I will ask if my child's immunizations are up-to-date and will request vision and hearing tests, if age appropriate. I will do some reading in advance to prepare for this appointment. A good source of information is the American Academy of Pediatrics Web site,


Resolution 2: In addition, I will check to see how long it has been since my child has seen a dentist. I will make an appointment, if necessary. I also will floss every day and allow my children to catch me in the act. To brush up on the latest information, check out the American Dental Association's Web site at

Resolution 3: If I have a will, I will review it to see if it needs to be updated. If I don't have a will, I will make that a priority. I might not have much in the way of material goods, but I need to name a guardian for my children. If something happens to me, I don't want a court to decide who will care for my precious little ones. For help in writing a will, seek legal counsel.

Resolution 4: I will start saving for my child's college education. If I save $10 each week, I will have $520 at the end of 2005 that I can invest. I'll pack my lunch, take coffee in a Thermos from home and use other cost-cutting measures so my child will have a future.

Resolution 5: I will make sure that my children have library cards, and I will take them to the library at least once a month, if not more frequently. I will read to them regularly. To review products available at Washington County Free Library and its branches, go to on the Web.

Resolution 6: I will learn what my child is learning in school. No more will I say, "Go do your homework." From now on, I will look at papers my child brings home and will ask specific questions, based on what my child is studying. If a test is coming up, I will help my child make study questions.

Resolution 7: I will eat more fruits and vegetables and encourage my children to do likewise. Children ages 2 to 6 should eat a minimum of five servings a day. Older children, teen girls and active women should eat at least seven servings. Teenage boys and active men should eat at least nine. It's not so difficult. A serving is smaller than you think. Check out for the latest recommendations.

Resolution 8: We will eat dinner together, without interruptions. No e-mail, text messaging, TV, computer games, etc., just old-fashioned conversation and perhaps some quiet dinner music.

Resolution 9: I will take my child to at least one cultural event this year. We will attend the symphony, go to the ballet or visit a museum. Afterward, we'll share our impressions with each other.

Resolution 10: I will exercise with my child on a regular basis. We will go sled riding this winter, ride bikes in the spring, go swimming this summer and take hikes in the fall.

Resolution 11: I will get to know my child in a special way. What is his favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite book? Favorite friend? Could I answer a questionnaire about my child?

Seem overwhelming? Not if you consider that there's a whole year ahead of you. If you do one of these per month (skipping one month because you need a break) just think how much you will have accomplished for your child's benefit. This time next year, you'll be the one who can gloat.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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