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It’s no secret that parenting is incredibly difficult, but it’s often even more of a challenge for first-time parents. Even if you’ve read every parenting book there is out there, it’s still difficult to know exactly what to expect when you have a baby on the way. If you’re a new parent and not sure what you need to take care of in order to be prepared for your baby, here are just a few places you can begin to give your child the best possible start.
Have Necessary Items Ready
Before your baby arrives, you’ll want to have stocked up on plenty of diapers, bottles, and other necessities. Be ready to buy more than you think you’ll need; infants grow incredibly quickly and will regularly need new sizes of clothes, diapers, and more. The U.S. apparel market is expected to grow to an estimated value of $385 billion by 2025, so there’s definitely going to be enough baby clothes for sale to keep up with your needs. If possible, donate clothes that your baby grows out of if they’re still in good condition. They’ll make a huge difference in the lives of families who need them.
Know Your Local Resources
Parenting is exhausting no matter how many times you’ve been responsible for a small child. Luckily, almost every community has outside resources in the form of small businesses and nonprofit organizations to help out first-time parents. There are nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S., with many of them specifically catering to young or first time parents. Check what your community has before the baby comes; this way you’ll know where to turn when you’re in need of assistance.
Start Thinking About Education Now
While it might seem a bit early to start thinking about education for your child, it can be helpful to have a plan in place ahead of time. While not a necessary part of public education, many parents choose to enroll their children in preschool fairly early on. In 2017, the percentage of children enrolled in preschool programs was higher for five-year-olds 86% than for four-year-olds 68%. Preschool or other forms of early education are definitely worth considering for the sake of your child’s future success. Long-term analyses suggest that enrollment in early childhood education can increase earnings in adulthood by 1.3% to 3.5%. If possible, start thinking ahead and planning now to help your child thrive in the future.
Ask For Help
Finally, when you’re planning for your first child, there are few more valuable resources than those close to you. Check in with your family and friends to learn their parenting tips and tricks, and to ask them for help with raising your child. It sometimes really does take a village to raise a child, and most new parents will in some way rely on friends and family to tackle all the responsibilities of parenting. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – few new parents ever truly go at it alone, and having a few helping hands can make a huge difference. They might even be able to offer a few key bits of advice you may have never thought of, like installing a dashcam for increased safety or buying plastic covers for the electrical outlets in your home.
Parenting is hard but rewarding work, especially for first time or young parents who might not know where to begin. Luckily, these tips can be a starting point for new parents to prepare their homes and lives for a new baby. What parenting tips would you give to a new parent? What advice would have helped you as a new parent?
Devin is a food-loving writer with a penchant for wellness and getting crafty around the house.