1. Start saving for university early
University costs a lot. But thankfully you have time on your side.
Compound interest is a wonder. Starting an RESP or 529 plan right from birth gives you 18 years for compound interest to work its magic.
Saving for university should be a priority. It will help your kids avoid starting adult life in debt. But don’t neglect retirement savings. Doing that is robbing Peter to pay Paul and putting the burden of your retirement on your kids.
2. Get outside and get moving
We are all tied to our devices these days. So it’s important to unplug and get outside and away from it all. Having kids now – this becomes even more important. Get outside and go for walks. Plan family outings together. Play sports together. Ride bikes. The possibilities are endless.
Getting outside and in nature regularly will allow the family to let go of some stress. Get away from devices and take in the natural beauty of the world. Find new adventures. See new things. These all help out your mental health.
The University of Minnesota talked about the impact of nature on our well-being here.
3. Budget the family finances
Budgeting for the costs of your new baby can be overwhelming. Talk to other parents. Get their input on what unexpected financial changes they had. Write out all your income and expenses and what you expect to change when you’re new arrival is here.
There are unique things you might not consider when looking at the costs:
– What if you need to move out of the cramped apartment for a bigger place? What’s the increase in rent or mortgage?
– What is the effect on your lifestyle? Fewer dinners and alcohol might save you some money
– What government funding are you applying for? How will that offset the reduced maternity leave pay?
4. Learn to relax and laugh
As parents, it’s natural to stress over every detail of your kid’s life. Are they safe? Are they happy? Are they bullied? Are they stressed? Are they eating enough?
Worrying means you’re a good parent. But don’t overdo it.
You have to learn to relax. Take breaks away from the kids now and then – that’s all okay. Make special date nights with your significant other. Give each other the attention that having kids beside you makes impossible.
Your happiness is still important even if it’s taken a backseat from before you had kids. Find hobbies you love. Make time for yourself and your significant other. None of those things make you a bad parent.
5. Believe in yourself
Parenting is hard. It’s really hard at times and you’ll have advice given to you from everybody – all the time. But it’s important to remember, that you need to believe in yourself.
You know far more about parenting than you think you do. Brushing up on things you want to learn more about is great. But when push comes to shove your instincts are going to right far more than they’re wrong.