So you’re a new parent, congratulations! Now that you’ve welcomed a new life on earth, there are some parenting tips you need to know.
LESSONS TO LEARN ON THE FLY… AND RULES TO LIVE BY
Some parenting 101s are best learned on the fly – like how to change monstrously-soiled diapers without fainting, or how to keep your cool when your child vandalises the walls with stickman drawings, to name a few. But there are also some other things that you can be mentally or financially prepared for, even before the arrival of your baby.
From their physical to intellectual well-being, there are tons of bases to cover. So here are the top parenting tips every new mum and dad needs to know to maximise their child’s potential.
Here we go…
- FEED THEM WELL
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but here’s some layman science behind it. The foundations of good health are laid during children’s early years, when they’re developing most rapidly. Their nourishment affects not only their health but also their behavioural and cognitive development – their ability to learn, communicate and socialise. So take care to feed your infant well – this includes not only feeding them what is needed, but also when it’s needed. Look for early signs of hunger such as stirring and sucking motions, instead of only dashing to the supermarket when your child starts to cry frantically. And then there’s the importance of breastfeeding. The hormones and antibodies in breast milk strengthen your child’s immune system, lowering their risk of illnesses and diseases, from the common flu to even asthma and eczema. This protection is unique and changes according to your infant’s development – something that baby formula cannot duplicate.
- GET THE RIGHT JABS
When your child is at their earliest stages in life, they are most vulnerable to diseases, so getting them properly vaccinated is the most powerful defence against this.In Singapore, the National Immunisation Registry ensures that your child gets all of the mandatory immunisations. But there are also optional ones such as the rotavirus, chickenpox and influenza vaccines that you should consider.
- BUDGET WISELY
You won’t want to realise you’re out of diapers only after your baby does a big one in their pants. You won’t want to realise you’re out of funds only when a financially pressing situation arises, either. Assume the largest expenses. Consider what-if situations: our current living situation costs S$X month, but would it potentially increase? Your growing family will come with growing expenditure on food, utilities, clothing and healthcare. Work out a new budget that reflects your new lifestyle and keep an expenses log. Try to keep to the budget you set for a few months, but if that proves too difficult, make little modifications to fine-tune it until you get a budget that works for you – remember, being a great money manager takes time and experience. It may mean eliminating non-essential items on your expenses list (like magazines, extra shoes or a winter coat you could wear if you win that trip to Finland in the lucky draw at your company’s year-end party!), looking out for sales, making use of loyalty points on your purchases or taking advantage of lower prices for bulk buys on infant necessities.
- GET HEALTH COVERAGE FOR YOUR CHILD
Getting health insurance for your children while they’re young and healthy would mean you get to enjoy a lower premium and that any new medical condition that subsequently develops will be covered. Whilst Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are covered by MediShield Life, which provides basic coverage on hospitalisation and surgical costs, taking up Integrated Shield Plans such as Aviva’s MyShield will grant you higher coverage so you have the option to receive treatment at higher class wards or private hospitals, and still be covered for the greater costs incurred. Many parents are covered under health insurance but neglect to do the same for their child. Some Integrated Shield Plans provided by independent insurers offer discounted insurance cover for children.
- INVEST IN YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION
Give a man a fish and he’ll be hungry in an hour; teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime. Really, though, the best investment you can make for your child is in their education. Make plans to ensure that your child will have sufficient funds to see them through their student life. A local university education costs at least S$30,000 per annum (and we’re only talking about the basic fees), or even more if they decide to enter certain fields such as dentistry. Or is your child considering studying overseas, which would cost a whole lot more? Plan for the unplanned. There are a variety of different savings options available.
- MAKE SURE YOU’LL BE THERE EVERY STEP OF THEIR WAY
The best thing you can do for your loved ones is to take care of yourself. Financially, this rings true as well. Your child is completely financially dependent on you and your spouse, so it’s important to have a back-up plan should you no longer be able to provide for the family.
MAXIMISE YOUR CHILD’S POTENTIAL
Parenthood… It’s equal parts rewarding but also worrying. There’s so much to think about, and changing your kid’s diapers is only the beginning.
You’ll inevitably find yourself thrown into unexpected situations sometimes – especially when we’re talking about something as big as raising a child – and insurance is a small price to pay to give you greater peace of mind. Maximise your child’s potential and don’t leave their future at the mercy of what-ifs with these parenting tips.
Terms and conditions apply. Please refer to the product brochure or the Product Summary for details. For more information, go to www.aviva.com.sg or speak to an Aviva Relationship Consultant.
Republished with permission. This article first appeared on The Smart Local on 28 January 2016.
This article is taken from our My Alvernia Magazine Issue #36. Click here to read the issue on our website or on Magzter.