Congratulations! You and your partner are expecting a little bundle of joy to come into your lives in a few months. We understand that you want to give your child the very best that this world can offer. To achieve this, you must prepare and implement a good parenting plan.
Pregnancy can give us a whole new level of stress. We have to think about a lot of things constantly. Regular checkups with the OB-GYN, eating healthy, taking multivitamins, and buying all the baby stuff are only a part of a very long list that pregnant mothers need to consider. Overwhelmed with all of the matters regarding your pregnancy, you may forget about what comes after birthing your child.
Benefits of Having a Parenting Plan
Sitting down and creating a parenting plan has a lot of benefits. It ensures your child will grow up in an environment that can allow them to flourish. Your parenting plan will serve as your reference for raising your children.
Doing this in advance will save a lot of time in the future. Creating contingency plans in cases of emergencies helps mitigate the problem. With a strategy in place, you can make sure that you and your partner are up to speed on how to act in certain situations. Your parenting plan will also help set boundaries between other family members and your child.
Steps to Creating a Parenting Plan
Crafting a parenting plan is not easy, but it is definitely worth your time. Below are the steps that you can take to create a suitable one for your family.
Choose a Parenting Style
Creating a parenting plan should start with a vision of what kind of parents you would like to be. Do you want to be more authoritative or more permissive? Do you want your kids to learn by experience? There are various parenting styles out there, but they can all be classified into the four general parenting styles.
With all the styles to choose from, how will you know which one is the best?
Truthfully, there is no answer to that question. Instead of seeking that, ask yourself how you want your child to grow up. Do you want them to be completely independent? Do you want to focus on their social skills? Academics? Follow a parenting style that is in line with your vision.
Read Up and Ask for Advice
There are so many helpful resources available for mothers nowadays. Before you get started on your parenting plan, make sure to read up as much as you can. Books on parenting, child development, child psychology, and such topics are essentials. You may also opt to keep them close by as you write. If your budget permits, you can consider consulting a family planning expert to help you refine your plan.
Online blogs such as Preggy to Mommy can also give you firsthand insights from mothers like you. You may read the experiences of other mothers and learn from their best practices and mistakes. You can even take it up a notch and participate in threads or be active in groups. Don’t be afraid to socialize and connect with other mothers online.
Lastly, you can get good parenting advice from your family. If you have parents or siblings with children, you may consult with them and ask about their struggles in parenthood. Parenting books and blogs can be helpful for sure, but sometimes, personal tips from caring family members are what you need more.
Communicate With Your Partner
Just like any other important aspect of family building, parenting requires the involvement of both partners. Joint efforts in raising a child guarantee that there are always fresh perspectives added to the equation. Discuss with your partner how you plan on dealing with the financial, emotional, mental, and social aspects of having a baby.
Talk to them about what roles each of you will be playing. Pinpoint areas where you and your partner excel in, and incorporate them into your plan. Do you know more about primary education? Then you should be in charge of deciding where your kid will go. Is your partner more knowledgeable about nutrition? Then he should lead the meal planning.
As you implement your plan, also make sure to communicate with each other constantly. Surely, you both will have inputs on improvements you can make to your strategy.
Identify Short Term and Long Term Tasks
Have you already prepared the nursery where your newborn child will stay? Have you checked all the bottles if they are BPA-free? You should include a checklist of all the things the baby will need in your parenting plan. That way, you will not miss a thing, avoiding unnecessary stress from panicking at the last minute. Only a few may know this, but there are also short-term effects of childbirth on mommies. You may also experience complications after your delivery, such as postpartum depression.
Your parenting plan should take matters like these into account. Identify immediate concerns that are likely to arise. These could be anything that involves either you or your child. Address these things straight away. Plan coping mechanisms that will help you adjust to life after pregnancy.
Also, list down all the long-term duties you need to fulfill. What skills would you like your child to have at a certain age? How do you plan on achieving them? You must ask these questions to yourself as you carefully craft your parenting plan. Think about the schools you would like to enroll your child in. Consider the extra-curricular activities you want your child to be active in. If you start planning them now, you can prepare yourself financially.
If you have a full-time job, you should also consider how you’ll proceed with your professional growth. Would you need to hire a nanny? For how long? What are the daycare center options in your area? Having a new addition to the family could hugely affect the current family dynamic. It’s best to start planning for these things as early as possible.
Separating the short-term and long-term goals helps your mind compartmentalize all the tasks in the parenting plan. Doing so clears up what you need to do immediately and highlights what needs constant building through the years.
Discuss How The Whole Family Will Be Involved
You may not be the only one expecting a new addition to the family. Parents, brothers, sisters, or even older children may all play a part in raising your unborn child. It is best to lay down the plans with them and how they’ll contribute to the parenting plan.
Little children and toddlers should be made aware of what’s happening. Your toddler may feel threatened by the idea that they will no longer be the center of mom’s attention. Be very delicate in explaining with toddlers and make them feel that they are involved in making the parenting plan. Older kids can understand the concept of being an older sibling more. Teach them the responsibilities of being a big brother or sister.
You must also consider the possibility of losing time with your older children. Include bonding activities with your older children in your parenting plan. Better yet, bond together so no one feels left behind. It is crucial to pay attention to all of your children.
Lastly, think about adding the grandparents into the equation. There is no denying that your parents have many tricks up their sleeves regarding raising children. They did mold you into the fine person you are now! You may have already asked for their help when dealing with your pregnancy. Grandparents can provide various things to their grandkids, and they are an additional source of love and support.
However, working with your parents, or partner’s parents, in raising your child is not always a walk in the park. Unfortunately, even if they have a genuine intention to help you out, there can be times that their assistance may be burdensome. Differences in ideals and preferred methods can cause you to have a rough patch. To prevent this, you should include the extent of their role in raising your child in your parenting plan. Set some boundaries and communicate them with the grandparents. That way, you’ll know when and how to deal with the indifferences whenever you encounter them.
Make Your Plan Flexible
No one can be 100% sure of the future. It is highly possible that no matter how hard we try, we will not get the results we want. We may have created the perfect plan, only to be put a stop to by some event or circumstance.
Hence, parenting plans should be flexible. When something no longer works, you should keep in mind that it’s okay to make necessary adjustments. If the whole parenting plan is not working, it is alright to scrap it and create a new one.
The adaptability and versatility of your strategy matters because not all children are the same. As your children grow up, they will start to develop their own personalities. You are free to update your parenting plans to better suit their character.
It is always better to be prepared, especially when it comes to parenting. If you ever feel lost or overwhelmed with all the information out there, you can always go back to your parenting plan. It will serve as a guiding light as you take on the job of raising our upcoming child.
As such, pay close attention to the creation of your parenting plan and make sure all areas are accounted for. To help keep your parenting plan up-to-date, you can also check out tips for mothers and soon-to-be mothers at Preggy To Mommy!