Planning for parenthood is no easy task. Between reading books and building a nursery to getting all the necessary equipment and prepping the home, completing the new baby checklist can be never-ending. Among all the dozens of things you need to do and think about before your little one’s arrival, we’re highlighting five to focus on as you grow into parenthood right alongside your baby.
1. Create a Support System
It’s commonly said that when it comes to having a baby, parents-to-be will never be fully ready or 100 percent prepared. Welcoming a little one into your life is overwhelming, challenging and invites major unexpected changes. The Child Mind Institute emphasizes the importance of having connections to help new parents cope with and transition into parenthood.
Along with help from family and a partner, you can also find support by visiting Meetup.com to discover groups for new parents and families within your community. Facebook is another source where you can search for parenting pages and groups so you can feel less alone and find online support, whether you’re preparing for the baby or adjusting to a new life after his or her arrival.
2. Prepare for Costly Expenses
There’s no denying that it’s expensive both before and after your baby’s arrival. During pregnancy, you’ll have to factor in the costs of prenatal care, ultrasounds, lab work and delivery. Post-baby, the list of expenses is extensive. The average cost of caring for a newborn in the first year is around $13,000. To prepare financially, make sure you have a padded savings account and adjust your budget to accommodate the additional expenses. In the months leading up to birth, experiment with your budget so you can refine it as necessary after you welcome home the new baby.
3. Choose the Right School
Just like childcare, researching education options and selecting the right school are important to your child’s academic growth. Public schools are no longer the status quo; parents can send their child to a charter, private or magnet school, depending on priorities and child’s needs. For example, if you want your child to focus a special curriculum like STEM (Science, Technology, Electronics and Mathematics), then a magnet school may be the right choice.
The Public School Review shares tips for exploring schools, such as understanding your child’s learning style, listing desired features, checking test scores and school ratings, and visiting the school. It can be a long process to find the right fit for your family, so it’s a good idea to start your research early.
4. Protect Your Child Online With Cybersecurity Technology
It’s a parent’s job to shield their children from the dangers of the world, and the same goes for protecting children online. Many children start to use electronic devices as toddlers, and along with their length of screen time, their online safety is also a concern. Norton LifeLock shares cyber safety tips for parents to teach their young children, such as “never leave the device unattended,” “click with caution” and “never give out your password.” In addition to teaching about safe internet habits, installing protection from Norton 360 with LifeLock, which includes parental controls, can further help safeguard your child.
5. Encourage Healthy Eating and Nutritious Food Early On
Encouraging young children to eat nutritious foods and be active early can set them up for a healthy lifestyle down the road. According to the State of Childhood Obesity, 19.3 percent of children were obese between 2017–2018, starting at age 2. Once your toddler begins to adopt food preferences, expose your child to various foods that differ in tastes, textures and colors, recommends the Cleveland Clinic. Also make sure to provide sensible portions, be a good role model, avoid using food to punish or reward and limit how many hours your child is sedentary as preventive measures to help thwart obesity and other youth health risks.
These are only a handful of tips for future parents who are navigating their new roles in a new life. You’ll want to prepare for the near future by finding a support system and budgeting for additional expenses. It also doesn’t hurt to think about what to do after your newborn grows in toddlerhood and beyond, which can be finding the right school, protecting their online activity and nurturing them with healthy habits and nutritious eating.