Raising children is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world, and the one for which you might feel the least prepared. Becoming a new parent can be an overwhelming experience and caring for an infant can be challenging. Though you can never be fully prepared for how life will change when your baby arrives, there are a few ways to get ready for your life as a family of three.
Discuss a Game Plan Together
Having a newborn will come with a lot of changes and added responsibilities to your daily life. Talk with your partner about how you can divvy up the responsibility together. Whether it is swapping nights to cook or wake up with the baby, or splitting up household chores such as cleaning the house and laundry.
It’s also important to discuss big decisions together. For example, if both parents will be working and you will need to find childcare, be sure you both are comfortable with the center you choose. Create a list together that has important features that you are looking for in a childcare center such as being accredited, implementing a strong curriculum, or offering arts and enrichment classes. Be sure to research different centers in your area and schedule tours to see each center and meet the teachers and administration teams firsthand.
Be Flexible: Even though you may come up with a game plan and try to plan for every situation you can think of before the baby arrives, that doesn’t mean your plans are going to work out the way you wish. Stay flexible and embrace the changes as they come. Most importantly, make communication a priority. Ensuring that you and your partner have the same idea of what life will be like when the baby arrives and being open and honest about your thoughts and feelings will help minimize stress and make the transition smoother.
Accept Help: Some parents feel like accepting help from others means they cannot fully handle their new responsibilities. Just like the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”, don’t feel like you have failed as a parent if you take family and friends up on the offer to help. Those first few months can be a hard transition and having a few extra hands help you and your partner. Once your baby has arrived, you may feel overwhelmed as you and your partner learn to adjust to your new lives as parents over the next few months. Though your main focus will be on the newest addition to your family, it’s important to make sure you are also taking care of yourselves as well.
New parents can also connect with other parents in their area through parent-child classes, or even their child’s childcare center. Having friends who are also parents can be helpful because they can offer you advice or just an ear to listen. At Educational Playcare, we want our families to feel part of a Community, which is one of our Core Values. To help establish a community feel at our centers, we host family events and we also have private Facebook Groups meant just for our families to connect and engage with one another.
Nurture Your Relationship: Life will get hectic when your baby makes their grand arrival, and many parents feel that their relationship with each other will need to take a backseat. We understand that some days by the time you put the baby to bed, there’s barely enough energy left to talk about your day, let alone keep the chemistry alive between the two of you. That’s why it is so important for you and your spouse to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company outside of your other responsibilities as employee, homeowner, and parent. Every few weeks plan a date night, even if it’s just a simple activity such as going for a walk. Use the time to reconnect as a couple.
What other advice would you give to first time parents?