A s this is my first column of 2016 I’d like to wish you all a very happy new year. I now enter my fifth year of writing this column and telling you all about my life as a Portsmouth father to two daughters and I wonder what the year will bring.
I recently read an article on a news website which suggested a list of new year resolutions that all parents should think about taking up.
The first was to stop saying ‘no’ to your children.
This is something I’m very conscious about.
It’s also something I’ve been trying to do ever since my babies became toddlers and then began to talk.
It doesn’t mean saying ‘yes’ to their every demand.
But it does mean remembering they are children and letting them be children and sometimes saying ‘yes’ to things that will make a mess.
I’ve learnt that mess usually means lots of fun.
Another resolution is to stop eating the children’s leftover food.
OK, I admit this is something I certainly need to take notice of.
If the kids have a few left-over roast potatoes on the plate it’s the norm to pass them over to dad’s plate.
Of course I enjoy those delicious roasties, but it means more time at the gym to burn them off.
So in 2016 I think smaller, more manageable portions will be the way to go.
Another resolution I will be taking up is to remember toys don’t necessarily mean fun and they often don’t get played with.
I’ve been known to let out an irritated sigh when my daughters have received a gift and they find the box it came in more fun and entertaining than the toy itself.
Another great resolution which I think would help reduce the stress levels of all parents, including me, is to simply worry less because the kids will be just fine.
We’d all like to wrap them in cotton wool so they’ll never get hurt or make a mistake, but that’s probably doing more harm than good.
Obviously it’s good we don’t send our children up chimneys any longer, but I’m a great believer in giving my daughters a certain amount of freedom and allowing them to be ambitious and when things then go wrong, learning from them.
I’ll be continuing to put this into practice this year.
But the biggest resolution for my family in 2016 is to have more fun.
I firmly believe having fun should be taken more seriously.
Why? Why not? Life’s too short.
So, this year I’ll try harder to let my hair down, jump in muddy puddles with my children and ride the flumes at the swimming centre.
Hopefully they’ll see that although work is important, so is play.