Here is a look at three important aspects for you, your spouse and your baby.
How do you create a happy home?
Your baby has arrived, and both you and your spouse are relieved and overjoyed. Even as the family celebrates, there are three areas that require your attention – bonding with your child, taking care of your finances and nurturing your own mental well-being. Here’s a look at these three areas.
Bond with your child
It is important that you and your spouse spend quality time with your child. No matter how busy you are with your work, it is important to make time for your child. Give him/her your undivided attention and unconditional love. As parents, you play an important role to nurture, teach and provide a safe and secure environment so that he grows up to be a confident, positive and happy child.
Here are some tips on how to build a strong, happy, and lasting relationship with your little one.
Find different ways to engage your child, and expose him to different age-appropriate activities so that he can expand his thinking, communication, social and creative skills, as well as improve his motor skills. Through fun and games, your child will learn to overcome obstacles and solve problems, which are critical in building his resilience as he grows up. Activities like board games, sports, or home activities like cake or cookie-making session, and simple chores like picking up the toys and folding clothes can have a positive influence on his/her life. Avoid exposing your child to excessive electronic games or media time.
Nature is a great source of stimulation and learning for your child. Grow plants with your little one or take him to the park or to the beach and educate him on the wonders of the natural environment. That way, he gets to enjoy the sun, fresh air, learn and bond with you at the same time. Spending more time outdoors can also protect him against myopia.
Reading is one of the best activities you can enjoy with your child. Not only do you spend quality time together, you can also enhance your child’s learning capacity and inculcate good values as you read to them regularly.
Find the right balance in playing the roles of a parent, a teacher and a friend to your child. While it is essential to have a set of rules or limits to govern your child’s behaviour, it is important to build a trusting relationship with your child so that he feels comfortable confiding in you about his problems.
Consistent rules in the family provide a secure environment for the child to learn what is right and what is wrong. It reduces the conflicts between parents when it comes to disciplinary measures for your child. Your child will also not be confused when there are clear rules and boundaries for him/her to follow.
Positive reinforcement helps your child to grow up to be a confident adult. Therefore, it is important to give your child immediate feedback about his/her bad behaviour, and praise your child when he/she behaves well.
Engage your child by letting him/her choose which story to read, what outfit to wear, what to eat and where to go. However, do not give him too many choices; young children can get confused very easily when that happens. Instead, offer your child two alternatives.
Benefits for your child:
When parents make a conscientious effort to bond and establish a positive relationship with their child, this supports his/her healthy emotional and social development. Hence your child:
- becomes independent
- makes positive decisions
- applies good social skills
- becomes a team player
- is able to communicate effectively
- learns to solve problems
- is positive and confident
- enhances his motor skills
- respects and appreciates discipline
- adopts good behaviour.
Take care of your finances
Financial planning and stability are important components for a stable and secure environment for your family. With some effective money management tips, you will be able to live comfortably as a family of three or even more!
To start, set a time with your spouse to sit down and discuss household budgeting matters. Do this before your baby arrives. For more information and ideas on family budgeting, please visit www.moneysense.gov.sg
Live within your means:
- Having a baby need not strain your finances. Focus on the basic priorities first. Buy what you need and can afford.
- If you can, breastfeed your baby until he is at least 12 months old and thereafter. It is the best food for him.
- Consider buying good quality cots and prams from your friends or through online communities.
- Consider hand-me-downs. Your baby will outgrow his clothes and shoes very quickly. Hand-me-downs from your relatives and friends are a good way to save on clothing items.
- Your child really does not need the latest toy or a collection of cars and dolls. Giving him a new toy every month is not a solution as it will rapidly lose its novelty. Play with him and sing to him instead.
Save a portion of your income instead of spending it all. Be prepared for additional expenses such as doctor’s fees, especially when your baby is really young and may need the attention of a pediatrician (specialist baby doctor). These will add to the medical cost.
Insurance policies and investment:
Start an insurance plan early for your child as premiums are likely to be lower. To cater to future education needs, many parents buy an endowment or education policy to take care of their child’s higher education fees. Ask friends who have financial expertise for views and advice.
Nurture your own mental well-being
Both you and your spouse’s mental wellbeing have an impact on your little one. If you are stressed, angry or depressed, your child will sense it. If you react negatively towards him, it can cause him distress. If you are positive and happy, your child can feel it and he is likely to feel more secure and assured. Thus, it is important to know what your triggers are and find ways to manage your stress or anger.
Here are some ways that you and your spouse can foster mental wellness for yourselves and be good role models to your child:
Lead a healthy lifestyle:
- Have three balanced, nutritious meals a day.
- If you need an energy boost in between meals, snack on healthier options such as fruits, vegetable sticks and nuts. Ideally, you should have at least two servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables daily.
- Drink water regularly to hydrate your body.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco products.
- Have adequate 6-8 hours of sleep at night. Maintain a regular sleep pattern by going to bed at the same time every night.
- Maintain a work-life balance.
- Take time to do things that you enjoy.
- Spend time on a new hobby or pastime once a week.
- Step back to reflect on your life and make changes if necessary.
Manage your time:
- Use a diary or a calendar to keep track of important occasions and appointments.
- Plan and prioritise your daily activities with a to-do list. Start with the most important activity first. Everything looks more manageable this way, but you have to avoid procrastination as well.
- Set realistic goals and reasonable expectations.
- Schedule time for your family and yourself.
- Unload unnecessary tasks and learn to say “no”.
Practise good coping skills:
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Confront negative thoughts and work them through.
- Manage your anger by walking away and calming yourself down at a quiet place.
- Be flexible when confronted with unexpected everyday situations.
- Be realistic. Know your limitations. Don’t take on more than you can manage.
- Take responsibility for your own actions. If you have made a mistake, admit it and work on fixing it.
Seek or accept social support:
- Talk it out. Share your troubles and worries with someone you trust.
- Reach out to the people you are close to. Make an effort to spend time with them.
- Make time to be with your spouse. Go on a date and do something fun and relaxing together.
- Get involved in community activities where you can meet new people.
- Build relationships. Widen your support network to include people who listen to you and can offer good advice.
- Seek professional help if necessary.
Your child looks up to you as his/her role model. If you cultivate good healthy habits and coping skills, your child is more likely to follow suit. With a loving, safe and stable environment, your child will grow up healthy and happy.
- Building good parent-child relationships
- Challenging unhelpful thoughts
- Feeling angry
- Feeling stressed
- Good family relationship: how to build them
- Helpful thinking
- Ideas for an active weekend
- Parents: conflict management
- Parents: healthy relationships
Health Promotion Board