As first-time parents, you’ll quickly discover that the moment news of your pregnancy reaches everyone, or that baby bump becomes obvious, everyone will want to share everything they know about parenting with you. Don’t worry; it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by all the well-meaning advice – all new parents do! There is a lot to think about when you’re about to start a new family.
To get you started, here are some basic pointers to help you think about your role as new parents.
Your parents influence your parenting
Your parenting style will be influenced by your parents; regardless of the methods we hear, read or know about. In the end, we tend to subconsciously look back to our own childhood for our fundamental parenting ideas. We tend to recreate all the things we liked about it and put right all the things that we disliked as we bring up our own children.
Of course, having children will change your lifestyle and household budget. Think about every stage of your child’s life – from a newborn until the day they leave home – and project as best you can what new expenses you will incur.
Don’t overspend on your newborn
The excitement of bringing home a baby for the first time will drive you a little crazy about what to buy for bub. Remember that your child will quickly outgrow the things you buy for them in the first few years of their life so consider each purchase carefully.
Start a savings account for your child
The best way to teach a child about money is by example. If you start a bank account for your child when they are a baby, you can use it to show them how money can grow and teach them the value of saving over time.
What sort of person do you want your child to be?
Not what occupation he or she would take on, but their values and attitudes in life. Have an idea of what type of person you’d like your child to be, for example, generous, community-minded etc. Also, give thought to spiritual or religious beliefs.
Your child’s first role model
You are your child’s first role model. Know yourself and be yourself, be aware that you are your child’s first role model and thus the most powerful influence over their early years and development.
Learn from your child
Being a parent is not always about what you can teach your child, but also about what your child can teach you. Some parents say that the most precious thing about parenthood is how much they constantly discover about themselves through their children.
Balance guidance and freedom
Look for a balance between guiding your child and allowing them to discover their own path. Sometimes it’s better to be aware of your child’s own individual development pace than to be anxious that he hasn’t begun crawling at 12 months. Leaving them to learn things on their own might help them learn more than what you can offer.
Your child’s health care plan
Have a health care plan for your child. There will always be immunisation and vaccination milestones which he/she will need from newborn to adolescence. Refer to the immunisation chart and organise a time with your GP for your child to get the necessary immunisations and vaccinations. Also, you may want to think about private health insurance or including your child in a family plan.
Think about your baby’s safety for when he/she starts crawling or walking. If you have unsteady bookshelves, vases on low-lying coffee tables or staircases, you may want to start baby proofing your house.
Balance time with your partner
If you’re not a single parent, you will also need to juggle the needs of your partner as well as your bub’s. Maintaining a relationship while trying to adapt to having a newborn at home will seem like a struggle at first. Yet, trying to create a balance between the two will benefit the three of you tremendously. Especially on days when you’re too exhausted to spend time with your bub and need some time out.
In spite of the fact that this is your first time raising a child, you’ll soon discover that lots of aspects of parenting will come instinctively to you – if you listen to your heart.