Being a first-time parent is an exciting time in your life, but it also brings with it a lot of changes and additional responsibilities. You now have a child that’s going to depend on you to care for them and help them navigate the world.
Instead of panicking, take the time to review a few important tips that all new or first-time parents should be aware of. Keep in mind that nobody’s perfect and you’re going to make mistakes along the way. However, continue with confidence and a positive outlook, and you likely won’t have much to worry about as your child develops and grows.
- Educate Yourself
There are numerous resources, books and blogs out there in today’s world that are worth you reviewing. Spend time educating yourself about what you should know and read advice and tips from other parents who’ve already been through it. Absorb as much new information as possible but do it over the course of an extended period of time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. If you’re stumped or are looking for answers around a particular topic, then hop online and continue to search until you find the knowledge you require. Complaining or acting helpless is only going to make your life that much more difficult in the long run.
- Ask for Assistance
Another important tip for first-time parents is to be proactive and ask for assistance when you need it. No one knows you’re struggling or could use a hand unless you speak up and communicate with those around you. Let them know what they can do to take some of the burden off your shoulders and then be sure to thank them for their generosity. For example, maybe it’s that your kids need a ride to school in the morning or that you would like your spouse to pitch in more with the household chores. Trying to tackle it all yourself will only leave you feeling exhausted and moody at the end of the day.
- Work on Developing Their Social Skills Early
The sooner you can get your kids interacting and socializing with others the better because it’ll be for their own good. This way they’ll be less hesitant to make new friends and get involved in activities both in school and in the community. Go online to learn more about a few specific social skills activities for kids that keep them engaged and will help them develop in this area. As the parent you can also get them started on the right course by having conversations with your children, playing with them and challenging them to think for themselves on a regular basis.
- Practice Patience
One habit that will be most important as you learn how to parent is to practice patience with your child and yourself. There are going to be times when you feel tired or like you can’t take much more stress, but this is exactly when you need to practice deep breathing techniques and calm yourself down. This way you won’t say words or take actions that you may later regret. Work on keeping your emotions in check and not automatically flying off the handle when faced with adversity. Understand that there will be a lot of obstacles you’re going to face as a parent and you’re going to have to use your problem-solving skills often. When you’re patient, you’ll be able to think clearly and make wise decisions, even in the heat of the moment.
- Attend to Your Needs
As a first-time parent, it’ll be natural that you’ll want to give your full attention to your child. However, you should work on taking care of yourself first and foremost and putting your needs before anyone else’s. The better you feel and the healthier you are, the easier it’ll be to care for your loved ones. Do a good job managing your stress, fit in daily exercise and make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep each night. Losing yourself in the shuffle will take a toll on your wellbeing down the road and you’ll soon find it even more difficult to be the parent you desire to be. Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse to step in and give you a day or night off once in a while so you can have some alone time.
- Avoid Comparisons
One of the most unhelpful behaviors you can practice as a parent is to start comparing yourself or your kids to others. As someone who’s new to the role, you may be tempted to look around and want to compare what you’re doing with other people, but this may work against you in the end. Instead, focus on how you can improve personally and with your own parenting skills each day and set goals for yourself that you want to achieve. You may see other kids doing well in school and observe that your child is struggling and then continue to compare and judge and feel bad inside. What will be more useful is if you get your child the help they need and then put your efforts into praising them for all they’re doing well.
- Get Organized & Make To-Do Lists
You’ll be doing yourself a major favor if you commit to getting organized and don’t try to keep all that’s going on in your life in your head. Write down to-do lists and then put these items in priority order so you’re getting done what’s most important first. Maintain a family calendar and know where each person needs to be when so you can keep all of your schedules straight. Declutter and properly store your belongings so you have more room to move around in your home and don’t have to stare at a mess all day. As a first-time parent, you’re already going to feel a bit out of sorts so make your situation easier on yourself by following a cleaning schedule and being aware of what obligations are soon approaching.
- Focus on Your Marriage
It’s extremely important to connect with your partner when you’re going through all these changes and make sure you’re both on the same page. Focus on your marriage and each other and make time to do fun activities with the one you love alone without any children around. Carve out time when just the two of you can sit down and have a conversation about important matters without any disruptions. Help one another out and work as a team so you both can have an enjoyable experience becoming parents as a unit. Ignoring your relationship and failing to grow a closer bond will likely cause you more friction and frustrating times ahead. Remember that parenting can be fun too and that you shouldn’t take every mishap so seriously. Cheer each other on and support your spouse through the good and the bad so you can run a smoother household.
- Let Your Child Know You Love Them
Always make it a point to let your child know you love and care about them. What’s most important as a first-time parent is that you enjoy each moment of watching them grow up and are there for them when they need you. Take the time to read your child bedtime stories, play with them and show a genuine interest in what’s going on in their life as they grow older. Be good about verbally telling them how much love you have for them and then also show them by being a parent who’s engaged and interested in what they’re doing. Be willing to listen and lend an open ear when they choose to express their feelings and opinions to you.
- Do Your Best
Remind yourself each day that doing your best is always good enough and try not to be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake. All you can do is learn from them and then move on and do better in the future. As a first-time parent, it’ll be tempting to want to judge and critique each move you make or blame yourself but these are destructive behaviors that will only hold you back from improving down the road. Avoid letting guilt rule you, and instead have confidence in yourself that the decisions you make at the time are what you feel are best in the moment. Commit to what works well for you and your family and don’t get too hung up on if it’s what you see everyone else doing or not.
It’s not easy being a first-time parent, so be proud of yourself for wanting to learn what it’s going to take to perform to the best of your ability. Allow yourself some wiggle room to make errors as you get more comfortable in your new role and remember there’s a learning curve to what you’re doing. Use these important tips to help you overcome your insecurities and do the best possible job you can raising your child and building a family of your own.