Don’t End the Year Without Doing These 5 Things

new yearThat sparkling Times Square ball hasn’t dropped just yet, which means you still have time to prepare for the New Year.

So Daddylibrium has five helpful tips to make you a better, more balanced parent over the next 12 months.

1. Create a 529 College Savings Account For Your Child: This essential financial tip site is a fine way to begin. Once you choose your plan, applications can be very easy. Ours took us 10 minutes per child to set up. You can put in a lump sum payment or create a recurring payment to be taken from your bank account. The account may be eligible for state tax benefits, so making and funding your account before Dec. 31 could save you money on your state taxes.

2. Assess Your Year in Parenting: What tips and techniques worked the best for you over the past 12 months? Did a reward system yield better behavior or mini Alex P. Keatons? Were your children inspired by the Crayola set you surprised them with, or did they prefer Lincoln Logs to express their creativity? Every parent will have a different answer. The key is to recognize what yielded results and build on your successes.

3. Skip the Resolutions, Just Get Healthier: The decision to stay fit in the new year shouldn’t require an impulse buy from a home shopping channel. Fitness resolutions fail because they’re meant to be short-term fixes, Band-Aids for much bigger issues. Your children deserve better, and so do you. Start thinking about how you can slip work outs into your daily agenda. Stockpile a few healthier recipes to squeeze between the tater tots and burgers. Take small but not insignificant steps to get healthier, and chances are they’ll stick around long after you turned that fancy new treadmill into a coat rack.

4. Stuff Your 2014 Calendar with Important Dates: It doesn’t matter if you use an old-school daily planner or Google Calender. Start thinking ahead to spring and the outdoor activities you’ll want your sons and daughter to enjoy. Mark down the enrollment dates. Subscribe to email alerts informing you of local sports leagues.

5. Safeguard the Year’s Best Memories: Download and back up all your pictures from your smart phone, camera and tablets. It’s the perfect time of year to do it, particularly since you likely snapped a bunch over the holidays. Worried about a house fire taking down your precious memories? Burn a disk or three and send them to grandma. She’ll love the gift and you’ll have a sense of security that your memories will stay in a safe place.

Bonus: End the Year with a Safe Credit Report: In light of Target’s recent credit card breach, call and get your free annual report from the credit agencies.  One quick scan can give you peace of mind that your identity has not been stolen.

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