There are many decisions regarding your child that come with being a parent. You might get quickly overwhelmed with the number of choices that need to be made right away. But you will be doing a favor for yourself and your child by looking ahead to other choices that deserve consideration in advance. Keep in mind that parenting is a skill that you will learn with time. While making these decisions is important, remember to be flexible for your child. Some kids need different styles of parenting so be ready to change.
If your child is still in the womb, then you need to be preparing for birth and doing prenatal care. However, you also need to be considering baby names. Whether you know the gender or not yet, come up with lists of potential names. Go over them with your partner if they are in the picture. Keep in mind that your child won’t always be a kid and their name may have a great impact on their life. Avoid naming your child names that sound good for a baby, or names that are easy for other kids to mock. Keeping your kid out of the potential mockery is an act that they will appreciate.
Breastfeeding, pumping, bottles, and formula: there are many options for feeding babies after they arrive. The evidence seems to point to plenty of benefits for both mother and child breastfeeding, but there are also risks and inconveniences. For instance, you may not always be able to take the time to breastfeed. Having some formula handy won’t hurt. If you go the breastfeeding route, be sure to eat healthy food. Another part of breastfeeding is pumping. You may need to keep the extra milk for later. Your child’s nutrition is crucial at any age, but the infant years are of particular importance. So weigh the options carefully before you decide.
Some kids respond well to offering treats or other such rewards. However, sometimes your kids will get in trouble. What will you do when that happens? It would be wise to have an idea of what to do. However, as your child grows, you will have to adapt to their personalities. One form of discipline may work for a year or so, then need to be replaced. Just make sure that your discipline is done out of love. Remember, violence is never the answer.
With technology becoming more and more a part of everyday life, it is important to make some decisions for your child. One such decision is when it is okay for your child to use your phone. Another thing to consider is when they should have a phone of their own. Will you track screen time? Most importantly, what safety measures will you have in place for your child?
Your child has to get an education growing up. You have the right to send them to public education, and you might be able to afford private schooling. Homeschooling is another choice if you want to spend more time with them and have more control over their education. Each option has its pros and cons, so weigh them in advance to keep your options open. And remember, changing your mind on this is absolutely allowed.
Whether you home school or send your kid to school, you will want to consider extracurricular activities. Ranging from sports to clubs to camps, you will want to find a way for your kid to spend their free time. Some kids respond really well to scouting, sports, and that sort of thing. Others may not respond as well, but that’s okay. Just try to find fun activities for your kids to enjoy and look forward to.
Saving up for college or university should probably start years before you know what kind of schools your kid can even get into. If you can pay their way, you’re going to spare them many adult years of student loan debt that cripples so many. So start saving as soon as possible. Another aspect of college will be their boarding. Are you okay with them staying with you while they go to college?
When to Let Go
The law in most places says children are legal adults at the age of 18. However, they might still be in high school at that point. Many families also let children stay in the home some years after that until they can get set up on their own. Knowing when to draw the line and enforce it is a very personal decision only you can make. And it may end up being one you don’t make until much later. Note that letting go doesn’t mean saying goodbye forever. You have to let them live their own life, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be in their life.
Now, that’s a lot of decisions you need to make. It can seem overwhelming at times. And indeed you would not be alone if you become overwhelmed. Know that it can sometimes be years before you know whether or not you made the right choices for your child. However, thinking about things ahead of time gives you more time to study your choices and weigh your options to make deliberate decisions. And remember you’re still learning! No one is perfect at parenting when they start. Decisions can change. Keep your child’s best interests at heart and you will do well.