12 Tips for First-Time Parents

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
By Mitchell Qualls
April 25, 2022

Welcome to the most incredible adventure of your life… parenting. I’d love to offer you a roadmap to being a successful parent, but I’m still looking for that one. I can provide you with what I’ve learned from almost 10 years of mistakes and countless conversations with fellow parents.

So, buckle up and get ready for the wildest ride on earth – PARENTHOOD. 

Here are 12 tips for first-time parents.

1. Everything is about to change (and it may be for the better).

Change can be scary. But over time, you won’t be able to imagine life any other way. 

2. It’s natural to feel stress as a parent.

When you find yourself stressed, it’s okay to step away for a moment and take a deep breath. Put your baby in a safe location (like a crib) and step outside for just a moment.

3. Take care of yourself.

You can’t give what you don’t have. Do your best to spend a little time for yourself. Take a walk, grab a coffee with friends, get in a quick workout, do a puzzle – whatever fills your soul.

4. You know your child better than anyone else.

You may sense that they aren’t feeling well or something isn’t right. Trust your instincts. Social media and the internet are full of people who think they know best, but they don’t know your baby.

5. Hold your baby a lot.

Don’t worry; you can’t spoil a newborn baby by holding them too much. They need your touch and attention. You’re providing a foundation for them to grow and feel safe emotionally, physically, and mentally.

6. You can’t completely prevent your kid from experiencing bad things.

They will get sick, they’ll have bad things happen, they may even do bad things. You are there to help prevent what you can and work through what you can’t.

7. You’ll make mistakes.

There is no handbook for parenting, and every child is different. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. 

8. When you do make a mistake, own it and apologize.

Your baby isn’t going to remember this, so this is for you. Create the habit now of apologizing when you mess up. As your child grows, they will learn this from you.

9. You are your child’s first teacher.

Learning doesn’t start in daycare or school; it begins with you. You have the opportunity to introduce your child to the world. Start early, teaching them as they grow.

10. Do what works for you, your child, and your family.

You’ll hear so much advice, but every child and every family is different. Figure out what works best for your situation.

11. It’s okay to accept help.

If someone offers to do your laundry, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible parent because you didn’t do it all. Accepting help is meant to make your life easier – it’s not something to feel guilty about.

12. Parenting can be rewarding, but it takes intentionality.

Every stage has its challenges. Making it through each stage is a victory for both you and your child!

Parenting is a journey. Take it one step at a time, and don’t get ahead of yourself. And have fun! You’ve got this. I’m rooting for you.

Other blogs:

Seven Things Every Child Needs to Thrive

10 Questions Couples Should Ask Each Other Before Having a Baby

How To Make Sure Your Child Knows You Love Them – First Things First

Sources:

Can You Spoil a Baby by Holding Them Too Much?

Bilgin, A., & Wolke, D. (2020). Parental use of “cry it out” in infants: no adverse effects on attachment and behavioural development at 18 months. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 61(11), 1184–1193.

Ribar, D. C. (2015). Why marriage matters for child wellbeing. The Future of Children, 25(2), 11–27.

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