By Bill Krause
Becoming a new parent brings big, new changes and some good advice can go a long way for a smoother transition. Up until now, it has been a joy building a wonderful life with just the two of you. You have been able to pick up and go at any time and do what you want to do when there are only the two of you to think about.
My first piece of advice for new parents is to realize that things are still going to be great between the two of you, especially if you follow the rest of the advice on this page. Will it be different? Yes, but it does not need to be bad or in any way negative. With a few adjustments to your lifestyle, continued care for each other and being sensitive to each other’s needs, life will become even better. Never forget that it was the two of you that started this and with right tending of each other, the two of you will finish together.
The second piece of advice for new parents is to keep each other first place in your lives. Stay bonded and continue serving each other. The joy and unity that this action produces creates an environment of peaceful growth and maturity for the future of your children. Now that a solid base for the two of you to build a family on you have established, and a harmonious environment has been created, we can now move to the baby.
The third piece of advice for new parents is, relax. Although you have never raised a child before, multitudes have done it for thousands of years. Know that if the first baby makes it, they all will. The tendency is to try too hard to do everything right with the first one. We think everything needs to be perfect. Again I say, relax; remember to take deep breaths on a regular basis. Everything will work out differently than you think but it will all work out and your child will be fine.
The fourth tip is to work out the responsibilities according to both of your needs. Don’t base decisions on “mom” or “dad” but on what and who works best. From the beginning, my son-in-law gave baths to the first child and has continued with all three of them. This after dinner activity gives him time with the children and has become very special for all of them. In your own home, when it is time for the children to go out for the day, whoever’s schedule fits the task is the best. Sometimes it’s mom and sometimes it’s dad and sometimes you get to do it as a family. Work the system that works best at the time with a heart yielded to flexibility.
Here is my fifth piece of advice for new parents: start reading to them from their youngest days. You will develop the positive habit of reading to them which will advance their education for the rest of their lives. We read to our children each day of their lives. As our children grew, right up to the time they left our home, we made it a practice of reading together daily. This caused our children to read early, love reading and helped them to excel in their education. As a family we have read special books of interest that helped to develop their thinking process that they are still using today.
Another valuable piece of advice for new parents is: keep consistency as a key component in your children’s daily life. Develop consistent sleeping, eating, play times — disciplines that will establish these good patterns for life. Do not become so rigid that there can never be any change in their life. We also need flexibility and an ability to flow with change.
My seventh piece of advice for new parents is don’t let your parents run your life or the baby’s life. When they offer advice, listen to it and thank them for it. Go home, think about it and then do what’s best for you and your baby. Set guidelines with the grandparents as to what you want or do not want them to do. For example, if you do not allow your child to go to bed with a bottle, be sure to communicate your preferences with the grandparents. If they do not follow your instructions, find ways to limit their access to your children to limit the causes of conflict.
My favorite piece of advice that was given to my wife and me over 35 years ago, was given to us by our nurse in our birthing class. She told us that in the first two weeks it would be established who was in charge, the parents or the baby. My wife and I agreed and decided that because we were older than the child, which made us smarter than the child, we would be in charge. This was a wise decision that is now serving our grandchildren well.
Congratulations on the new arrival. Remember that any or all of this advice for new parents will pave your way for success. Relax, enjoy and know that you will do a great job.