Advice for New Parents or Parents-to-Be That You May Have Not Been Told
Some insightful advice new parents are seldom told...
Congratulations, you just found out you're having a baby or maybe you just welcomed a little one into this world! This is a happy, exciting time yet can be scary and nerve-wrecking, too. Parenting books, magazines, family, friends and parenting classes typically help you out with the basics of caring for a newborn like how to change a diaper and feeding advice.
There are other things seldom mentioned to new parents, however, that I believe are worth keeping in mind, too. I wish someone made me aware of these insights before hand. I'm aware of them now so I'm passing them on from one parent to another...because every now and then, we need a few extra suggestions to be the best parents we can be.
Enjoy this time with your little ones and good luck!
1. Write a will. Place this important task at the top of your to-do list when you're making all the preparations for the baby. Don't leave anything up to chance. Don't think it will never happen to you. Be certain you know where your kids will end up if anything were to happen to you. No parent wants to think of the unthinkable and so we tend to ignore it and not do anything about it. We're not invincible, however; we're human and accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Make it a priority to choose a guardian and secure your assets. Discuss it with those people who you want to include in the will so they know your plans. Don't forget to update the will whenever there are significant changes in your life, such as having another child.
Check with your state laws to make sure you write a will that is legally binding.
If you choose to write one without going through a lawyer, there are many sites online where you can create it yourself like Nolo.com or TotalLegal.com.
2. People are going to judge. When you become a parent, you will encounter every so often judgmental people. They may judge how you choose to raise your children and even judge you and your children. Everyone does it even if they don't have kids, we all experience it before we have kids and unfortunately, it gets worse when you do have kids. Just be prepared for all this so you won't be shocked when you encounter that situation. It's best to ignore it and not to take it to heart.
Also, make an effort to not judge others, either. We should be more supportive of other parents and stop the negativity toward one another. It's hard enough raising kids without having to battle one another, too.
3. Find a reliable baby sitter. Don't just rely on relatives to watch your children because let's face it, they're not always available. Plans change last minute with both of you and people can get sick. It's nice if you have friends who are willing to baby sit your children and fellow parents who you can swap babysitting duty with, too. Sometimes, however, that 's not enough.
You should still find a child care center or hired sitter that you can call upon who is reliable. Also, child care services and hired sitters have that sense of obligation to follow your instructions and usually don't question you. It can be uncomfortable and awkward sometimes to ask your family and friends to do things a certain way compared to someone who is hired to do so. Check out sites like care.com to find a sitter.
4. Discuss with your partner how you plan on raising and disciplining your children. Don't just research what the best bottles and sleep-training methods are to use. Research various ways to discipline children and better yet, methods to prevent children from misbehaving. Many arguments stem from disagreements among each other on how to raise the children like the methods and forms of discipline each parent wants to use. Talk this over as thoroughly as you can with your partner before the child is born or while she is still an infant.
Often times, parents realize they're not on the same page with how to discipline their children when the situation arises. They end up arguing it over in front of the child which makes the situation worse. For instance, one parent may want to use time-outs or spanking the child while the other parent does not. You can't predict how children will behave all the time but you can at least have an understanding of what you each expect to happen when the child misbehaves. Agree on which specific type of misbehavior requires a specific type of disciplinary action ahead of time. That way, there are no surprises and it is consistent for everyone involved. Consistency helps, too, when the child is being watched by others.
5. Look at the world through the eyes of a child. We often forget that children see the world in a totally different way than we do. To them, the world is a huge playground. What's wrong with exploring it, touching everything, running everywhere and climbing this and that? Underneath a tall dining table is the perfect height for hiding, the couch is the best object to jump on while the carpet is bubbling hot lava and the long aisles in the grocery store are the best lanes for a relay race.
We need to teach children rules and boundaries, of course, especially for their safety (and the safety of others during all this running and jumping) but if we keep in mind that children are just being children, then maybe we'll have more patience with them. They are not always trying to tune us out, make us upset or misbehave. They're just too caught up playing on their big playground or filled with curiosity exploring everything. As long as we remember to look at the world through the young, innocent and curious eyes of a child then we'll have a better understanding of what's going on in their heads when we think they're not listening to us.
Sometimes, they just want their parents to have fun and play on the playground, too.
Any parenting advice or tips you wish someone told you? Share them in the comments below, I would love to hear them!
Book on Disciplining Kids
The World is a Playground
See Through Your Children's Eyes
Check out my other articles that may interest you:
- A Poem for Mothers
This is a poem about what it means to be a mother.
- How to Decorate Baby's Nursery in Imaginative, Fun and Creative Ways
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