Tips for Preparing to Be a Parent

There are plenty of things you can do to get ready for parenthood, but nothing will quite prepare you for that rush you will feel when your child is born and you bring them home for the first time. Many parents feel somewhat confused, as though a new baby ought to have come with an instruction booklet.

You might find yourself thinking that you got a lot more direction when you adopted a cat or a dog. The truth is that parents have been bringing their babies home for as long as there have been humans and figuring out how to be loving moms and dads. However, there are steps you can take to prepare.

Future Planning

There are several things you can do to help ensure your child will be financially secure over the long term. First, be sure to make a will or update your will if you already have one. You can use this to name a guardian for your child. Next, think about getting a life insurance policy. Calculate your income for the next 18 years to start to get a ballpark figure of how much insurance you will need. An advantage of buying a permanent policy instead of term insurance is that once your child grows up, you may be able to sell the policy through a life settlement. You can read more in a guide that explains the process on how you may be able to sell for a substantial amount of cash. Finally, you might want to consider starting a 529 plan or another plan to save up for their education.

Read Enough

There’s nothing wrong with reading a few books about raising children, but try to resist the temptation to read everything. First, it’s impossible. Second, you’ll find a lot of contradictory advice. Third, your parenting instincts are there for a reason. Pay attention to them. The advice of experts is good, but every child is unique, and you’ll develop a rapport with your child that reflects that uniqueness. No parent is perfect, so don’t hold yourself to paralyzingly high standards. This is true for talking to friends and family as well. They can be great sources of advice, but they can sometimes be dogmatic too. Take the advice that works for you, and don’t worry too much about the rest.

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Take Your Time

Having a child is life-changing. Your life will probably feel upended afterwards. It’s okay to put things on hold. Your friends without kids may lose patience with you. Trust that you’ll reconnect with them after things settle down or that you’ll make new friends as you move into a new life stage. Try to take turns with the other parent so that you each get little pockets of sanity, and be understanding of the challenges each of you is facing. This is especially true if one of you is home with the baby and the other one is back at work. Try to think in terms of supporting one another instead of getting into conflicts over who has the most demanding schedule.