Written by Ng Ray
Transitioning to parenthood is a huge life change which affects not only your physical environment but also psychological preparation. Preparing to be a new parent can be exciting and joyous but it can also challenge your self-identity and add on stress to an already hectic life. You may be plagued with self-doubts and questions on how you should raise your child. You're not alone in this. In this post, we hope to offer a few tips to smoothen your transition into parenthood.
Baby-proof your home
Often overlooked, daily furniture might not pose a threat to us. However, as your child grows older, and soon starts to learn how to walk and run, a roaming toddler might run into some potential dangers around the home. For example, having a sharp table glass corner at his eye level can pose some form of threat. To mitigate this, simply take a quick look around your home to baby proof any sharp edges or potentially hazardous materials. Hazardous materials for common furniture include brittle or easily chipped materials such as glass tables or ceramic ware. Having a physically safe space for our little ones is of utmost importance for their growth and well-being.
Learn your baby’s cries
Each baby has their own cry for a specific need. Learn to listen to your child’s type of cry that expresses his different needs such as feeling hungry, needing attention, expressing tiredness, or even signs of discomfort. Take note of the intonation, and maybe keep a journal to take note of any specific patterns that elicit the specific cry type and learn to differentiate it from the other cries.
Practice habits that you’ll like your child to learn
Children learn from a young age by observing and imitating. Small actions such as cleaning up or leading a physically active lifestyle can influence the lifestyle of your child as they grow up. Personal wellness such as good hygiene practices or healthy eating are cultivated from environmental influences, which you are integral to. Remember to practice habits that you’ll like your child to learn, and be mindful about the language and habits of our own!
Join parent groups
Many tips and information such as educational videos or useful tools to use can be found in parent groups. Parents who were in your shoes are often more than happy to share information and provide tips to guide your journey through parenthood. Although everyone is different, parent groups can be a good source of social support and guidance to navigate through this exciting passage in life.
Parenting can be challenging but worth it at the end of the day. It's not easy to adapt both work and new added responsibilities at the same time. Whilst it can be a trying period for you and your partner amidst the changing times, do remember that help is always available and that every child is different. Trust yourself and adapt to what you deem is best for your child.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, take care of your mental & emotional health
Being a parent can be tiring, with little time to yourself. Even though your child is the centre of your universe, it does not pay to burn out or neglect your own mental and emotional health. Whilst there are physical chores to do that might consume your time, it pays to set aside some time for yourself to recharge, such that you can have quality interactions with your child. The quick recharge can improve the quality of interactions with your child, creating opportunities for more learning, growth, and healthier parent-child bond.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the types of resources available in Singapore, you can check out more Singapore-specific resources at https://www.madeforfamilies.gov.sg/. We hope these tips would help to prepare you for parenthood. All the best! :)
Benson, J. B. (2020). Encyclopedia of infant and early childhood development. Elsevier.
Lilius, J. (2020). Parenting, Motherhood, and Fatherhood. In International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (pp. 33-37). Elsevier.
Sears, W., & Sears, M. (2001). The attachment parenting book: A commonsense guide to understanding and nurturing your baby. Hachette UK.
Whitebread, D., & Bingham, S. (2013). Habit formation and learning in young children. London: Money Advice Service.