5 Simple New Year’s Resolutions for Busy Parents

Now is your chance to freshen up those good intentions and commit to making positive changes for yourself and your family. These simple, yet effective New Year’s resolutions will help to make 2019 a healthier, happier, better balanced year. We promise these are all totally doable – no Herculean efforts required.

5 Simple New Year’s Resolutions

1. Revive the commitment to providing your family with a healthy diet by starting with what you put in your own mouth.

Considering the way you take care of yourself and your health is likely to be the way your child lives, your commitment to health should start with your own diet. We often put our needs behind those of our kids: skipping breakfast to get everyone fed and to school on time, grabbing a lousy packaged sandwich for lunch, and sometimes simply eating what’s left on our kids’ plates for dinner. We need to become better nutritional role models for our children who are soaking up everything we do. Rather than trying to kickstart a major change, make small changes that will have a big impact on the entire family’s diet:

  • Breakfast should be mandatory. Build a staple of quick, healthy foods that require little time or effort to prepare. Check out our Pinterest board – Don’t Forget Breakfast – for ideas.
  • Add a vegetable or fruit to every meal. Experts say even a few bites makes a big difference in children, but aim for more – an average adult needs four servings of veggies and three servings of fruit every day.
  • Find easy, homemade recipes to replace packaged products. There are far better alternatives to boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen chicken nuggets or pizzas, and they can be just as quick and easy to get on the table.
  • Start making bigger batches of good food so you can pack leftovers for lunch or freeze for another night.
  • Make a weekly meal plan. Being prepared is half the battle – shop for what you need, give yourself a head start by prepping pieces of multiple dishes at once, and you’ll far less likely to resort to takeout or a packaged meal.
  • Get kids involved in meal planning, shopping and prep. They’ll be more likely to try new things if they feel they have a say in the matter.
  • Replace juice boxes with water or low-fat milk and consider kicking your own 3PM Diet Coke habit or five-cups-of-coffee mornings.

2. Become more vigilant about screen time limits.

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There’s no taking back the Internet or denying that even young kids can derive some education and entertainment from the iPad, but we really should be more thoughtful about the kinds of media our children interact with and how much time they spend with them.

While it’s really, really nice to be able to plop kids in front of an episode of Paw Patrol while you make dinner, screen time can really start to add up. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. They advise parents to create “screen-free” zones at home, turn off the TV during meals, and to limit screen time to no more than two hours per day.

If we pull our kids away from computers and television, they will spend more time playing outdoors, reading, and using their imaginations in free play. It also bears reminding, be sure to spend the time getting to know the technology your kids are using, making sure parental controls are in place and know exactly what they are seeing and doing.

3. Find time to take care of yourself.

Regardless of employment status, we are all working parents. Few would argue that parenting is anything but a full-time, incredibly rewarding yet demanding job. We all deserve not one break, but a steady dose of them. Find a way to build personal time into your daily life and keep at it.

Make a deal with another parent to take turns caring for the kids while you workout or simply take care of responsibilities without the company of a child. Check your favorite sitter’s availability posted on UrbanSitter to find a time that works with your schedule and book her weekly or bi-weekly. If you and your spouse have some flexibility with your work schedules, make a deal that allows you each to come home early one night a week and take over kid duty while the other enjoys some personal time. If you’re not taking care of yourself, it’s pretty dang hard to take care of anyone else.

4. If you really want to make it happen, scheduleand commit tofamily time.


Most of us would agree we’d like to spend more quality time with our families, yet it’s often an elusive wish. Despite our best intentions, we get caught up in day-to-day commitments and demands – free time to simply spend together just doesn’t exist, at least not as often as we may like it to. The solution is to become better planners.

Sit down with your family and make a list of places you’d like to visit or activities you’d like to do as a family in the New Year. Keep reality and your budget in mind, but let loose with the creativity. Once you have a good list of ideas – exploring a just-outside-of-town zoo or aquarium, sticking the baby in a backpack carrier for a family hike, spending a weekend afternoon at an indoor pool, or having family game night – get them on the calendar. If they are scheduled activities, you are far less likely to whittle your precious weekend away taking care of chores or splitting up to do your own thing.

5. Make your home a warmer, more nurturing environment that promotes creativity, literacy and fun.

This year, make it a priority to tweak your house to make it serve you and your family the best it can. A playful home will help your kids learn to play independently, foster creativity and learning, and help children become more self-sufficient, organized and even focused. While you might not be able to bust out the back wall to build a library or an indoor climbing wall, chances are you can make some small changes to make it easier for kids to play, entertain themselves, cuddle with you and a good book, or let loose with finger paints. See our post on super cool playrooms, reading nooks, art spaces and cozy spots to give you some inspiration. You’ll see it’s really pretty doable to create inviting spaces that entice kids to settle in with a book, dabble in a new hobby or maybe even take a little nap.

Whatever you commit to in the New Year, we hope your year is filled with an endless stream of happy, memorable moments with those you love and cherish. Happy New Year from your friends at UrbanSitter!

UrbanSitter’s 2017 Holiday Tipping Guide & New Year’s Eve Babysitting Rates

Ever wonder how much others tip around the holidays? UrbanSitter asked families to share how they handle holiday tipping – from babysitters and nannies to dog walkers and mail carriers. Here are a few highlights:

  • $50-$100 cash or gift card is the popular holiday tip for babysitters.
  • One week’s pay is what most families tip their nannies.
  • $15-$25 cash is the standard holiday tip for dog walkers.

With New Year’s Eve around the corner, many parents are wondering how to secure a babysitter for the big night. The answer according to our survey: pay 20% more than usual. Check the map below for average New Year’s Eve babysitting hourly rates in your area.

  • $17.88 per hour is the national average New Year’s Eve babysitting rate for 1 child. In New York City, it’s $18.81 per hour.
  • Free cab rides and dinner are among the “extras” parents use to entice sitters into taking the job.
  • 46% of parents surveyed tip extra just because it’s New Year’s Eve.



How much to pay the babysitter for New Year’s Eve

cheers_icon If you have New Year’s Eve plans this year, you’re probably wondering how you’re ever going to find a babysitter–and once you find one, how much should you pay for New Year’s Eve?

Step 1: Finding a sitter for available on New Year’s Eve

Chances are the college-aged sitter you normally rely on already has plans. If that’s the case, try logging on to UrbanSitter and doing a search for sitters available on December 31st, or post a job. Send a few booking requests out and see if you get any takers. Before you do, think about the best pay rate you’re willing to offer.

Step 2: Deciding how much to pay a sitter on New Year’s Eve

Most parents expect to pay a premium to lock in a sitter on New Year’s Eve, but how much is enough? According to our recent survey:
30% expect to pay a babysitter their normal rate
53% expect to pay 1.5 times the normal rate
15% expect to pay 2 times the normal rate

Step 3: Lock it in

So you’re willing to pay top dollar, but what else can you do to ensure you’ll score a sitter? Offer to pay her cab ride home, delicious takeout, and if you’re not getting back until late, work out an overnight stay fee. She’ll be delighted to crash on your couch and earn an extra buck.

Enjoy the big night and Happy New Year!

Search for babysitters available on New Year’s Eve at UrbanSitter.com.