I’m a beginner when it comes to parenting. Ever since getting pregnant 2 1/2 years ago I’ve been learning on the job and obviously I’m still a beginner and still learning. Here are my top twenty looking after a baby / toddler small steps – the things I wish I’d known:
- Music works brilliantly in lots of situations: sleeping, calming, playing.
- When another parent offers you a bag full of old towels and you wonder what you’ll use them for: say yes.
- Get loads of muslin squares.
- The baby world is awash with people trying to sell you stuff you don’t need. Find out about the equipment you really need and do some price comparison. Use the Which website or Madeline Thomas’ book Babynomics.
- Babies and toddlers grow. Unless you’re rich, designer clothes are just for presents. Find out about nearly new sales and jumble sales. Look in your local supermarket.
- Have a routine not a schedule.
- Particularly have a routine for mornings and evenings and for tidying up, putting the bins out etc. at the end of the day.
- Wind down before bed.
- Have somewhere you can put him / her down safely upstairs and down: chair, cot, basket.
- Go out everyday, even if it’s a walk round the block with the pram.
- Singing, rhymes, stories, making things talk, distraction all work better than raising your voice. So does pretending to try on a toddler’s clothes.
- Sort washing as you go along. Use more than one washing bag / laundry basket.
- Write a menu and use it as a shopping list. And a delegate list.
- Make food that you can bung in the oven: jacket potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted squash, baked apples.
- Sort clothes into outfits.
- Stay on touch with your friends. Use social media.
- Find out about baby and toddler groups and classes. Drop in ones where you don’t have to book or pay in advance are good. Try children’s centres and libraries.
- Schedule time off.
- Go to bed when they do sometimes.
- Get to know some sources of information: the baby center website, a wise friend, netmums or another forum.
One not so small step, but good if you can afford it: A dishwasher, a bigger freezer and a tumble drier would have helped us out a lot.
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