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It’s the time of year we all think back to what happened in the year just ending and look ahead to make plans for the year just ahead.

No matter how old your children are, there are some patterns you can include in your everyday interactions that will make 2013 a happier year for all. Whether your child is 6 months old or 16 years old, consider making these resolutions for the good of your family.

Resolution One: Support your child’s other parent. A solid parental relationship is the best foundation children can have in life, and this relationship can be solid even if Mom and Dad are divorced. Parents demonstrate respect and courtesy for each other by negotiating conflict, avoiding insults, and working together for the good of the family. It’s easy to imagine that your relationship to your partner or your ex is separate from your relationship with your children, but it’s not. Your children are watching. Let them see their family is built on a solid foundation.

Resolution Two: Concentrate on conversation. The more family members talk with each other, the stronger the connection between them. Notice how much or how little you actually talk with your child or with your partner. I said “talk with,” not “talk to.” If you find that you tend to give orders and tell others what they should do or need to do or didn’t do, then make an effort to cut that back. Spend more time listening and more time smiling. Conversation is key.

Resolution Three: Pay attention to the little things. The little things add up. They are, really, how our days go by, one little thing after another. So try to make the little things go smoothly. Allow plenty of time so you’re not rushing. Get organized so you can find things. Take the time to do things with care. Pay attention to the little things but without “sweating the small stuff.” If you’re a perfectionist, your attention to the “little things” might include attention to your children’s creativity, not attention to their mess.

Resolution Four: Tell your children every day that you love them. It’s easy to forget to say these all-important words. It’s easy to imagine that “actions speak louder than words” and that your children know you love them because of all you do for them. It’s easy to think that your own difficulty in saying these words is an excuse for not saying them. But none of this is so. Children need to hear that you love them. Make an effort to tell them so. And when you tell your children you love them, each and every day, remember to make your love unconditional. Don’t connect your love to obedience. When your children most struggle is when they need most your love and support.

Make the new year your family’s best yet. Keep these four simple resolutions and no matter what happens the year will be great!

Best wishes!