This Year

Most Parents Want To Make The Same Big Change In 2024

Dads and moms across the country have priorities for 2024.

Mom, dad, and three kids mixing cookie dough in their kitchen at home.
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It’s been quite a year, and in 2023 — as they have every year since the dawn of time — parents held it down for their kids amid various levels of local and global chaos, by going to work, paying the bills, running the household, and showing love and support. With the new year just days away, parents everywhere are resolving to do things a little differently or a bit better in 2024, and it turns out that most parents have one simple wish for the new year.

According to new research from the University of Michigan, most parents want to have less screen time in 2024. More than half of respondents said they hoped to spend less time on their phones in 2024. Reams of research point to the negative impact of cell phone use on physical and emotional health, so ditching cell phones for real-life activity is kind of a no-brainer of a resolution and something we should all strive for.

And for parents, in particular, plenty of expert advice argues that leading by example when it comes to devices (e.g., not being on our phones so much in front of our kids) is one of the most important ways we can help them to have a healthy relationship with screens. Research also finds that parents who use screen time to relax are, well, worse parents.

The researchers also found that 50% of mothers and 30% of fathers want to make changes to how they parent in the coming year. And of those, the vast majority — 78% — want to start with being more patient. Luckily, patience is a skill that is absolutely learned, and one that parents who want to change in the new year can practice.

Almost 60% of parents want to be more consistent with discipline in their families. Firm and consistent boundaries make for solid relationships and kids who know their place in the family and the world.

Some 40% percent of moms and 30% of dads hope to exercise more with their kids in the new year, and nearly half of parents resolved to adopt healthier food habits for their families. This is another area in which parents can lead by example. That means, in part, jettisoning the old New Year’s narrative around indulgence and punishment. “Holiday treats are not something you have to earn, and they’re not something you have to atone for afterwards,” health journalist Virginia Sole-Smith told Fatherly. “Try to avoid those comments of, ‘Diet starts Monday.’ Avoid offhand negative food talk, because that does land in kids' brains and shapes how they relate to food.”

Parents will always want to be better parents, and resolving to change little things in order to have better relationships with our kids can go a long way.