If you are bringing a new baby into your family, congratulations! This will be an exciting, busy, whirlwind of a time in your life, and it is only the beginning. There will be things to attend to before the baby comes home, and essential activities and responsibilities to manage as they grow. Here are a few things you can start thinking about today.
Photo credit Samantha Prewett Photography
Set Up Their Room:
A baby’s room is one of the most fun things you do for your baby before they are born. You can pick out all of the things that bring your personality and aesthetics into their new environment while envisioning what details they will enjoy as they grow into their personalities.
One of the main things you will need is a high-quality crib set in colours, prints, and finishes of your choice. Look for suitable sets with everything you want and need, and remember that with babies, more is often unnecessary and sometimes not recommended for their safety.
Another enjoyable part of decorating your newborn’s room is selecting the artwork or other decor. Do you want the art to grow with them or would you like it to change as they age and find their own unique interests and favourite colours? As you begin to decorate, look for artwork that is safe to secure in the area near their crib or wall hangings that can be seen from across the room. Consider accents such as chandeliers, plush rugs, and comfortable chairs where you can feed and rock your baby for hours.
Begin Saving Money:
While raising a child can cost parents an eye-popping amount of money, you should still start saving for their future even as you are spending money on their present. If you feel you have little to save anything can help, and compound interest is your friend. Simply by beginning the process of saving money now, when your child is only a baby, you have the benefit of time to help the money grow into something more substantial.
A helpful approach is to reconsider how many toys your little one needs as each birthday or holiday approaches. If you are comfortable reframing the way gifts are given to your child, you can ask those you are closest with to gift money into their savings accounts instead of physical items. This action will serve to eliminate unwanted gifts, waste, and help accumulate wealth on your child’s behalf.
As your little one grows, teach them wise spending habits and incorporate saving into everyday lessons. Show them how to value money by talking about how much items cost as you buy groceries together or whether it is better to get a book on loan from the library instead of purchasing it if you will only read it one time.
Watch this video for one dad’s advice on the best savings accounts for kids.
Model Responsible Technology Usage:
There is no getting away from it – technology is here to stay, and that does not have to be bad for anyone. It only becomes a nuisance when devices are overused and everyday interactions and relationships are relegated to the wayside in favour of a video game or something of that ilk.
Instead of being a nay-sayer, be mindful of when you use and engage with technology. Modelling good actions will make all the difference in how your children use devices as they age. If you pull out your smartphone whilst your baby or young child is playing with you and focus on the screen instead of them, they notice. When you keep reading and responding to texts during meals, they notice that, too.
Show your kids how to use technology to set alarms, create shopping lists, and play music. Let them video chat with their family members who are far away. Use a tablet or e-reader to read books. And let them play video games and puzzle games that are age-appropriate for reasonable amounts of time.
Technology is not going away. And who better than you to show your kids of any age how to use it responsibly to engage the world around them than you? Teach them when, where, and how to use the available tech options with restraint. Also, model how to disconnect and enjoy the world directly in front of them.
Be a Positive Role Model:
And finally, be mindful of your behaviours, actions, and reactions as you move through life, yourself. You may not realize it, but from the very beginning of their tiny and innocent lives, your children are watching you. If you are not convinced, consider how they emulate your smiles and giggles. Take notice when they try to hoover along with you with their little toy hoover.
Your children are watching every single thing you do. As you now know this, you can take your everyday actions and turn them into learning moments. This absolutely does not mean that you need to be perfect in everything you do or always be “on”. What it does mean is that you put forth your best efforts and teach your kids through the things you do, and that includes your emotional responses and general interactions.
When your kids see you pick up litter whilst on a walk together, they notice. As you stop and say hello to your elderly neighbour, they will learn that kindness matters in this world. Should you lose your temper (because it certainly does happen) and then apologise and learn from it, they will learn as well. Give them positive coping mechanisms and interpersonal skills that will last a lifetime. Everyone will benefit from them, including you.
Bringing a new bundle of joy into your family and home is a wonderful event. Make it even more so by planning, preparing, and then experiencing everything good that is to come. Take it all in stride because there will be ups and downs along the way. As long as you are mindful and intentional in your parenting style, you will be just fine.
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