Everything You Need to Know About Raising Children as a New Parent
As a new parent or even a seasoned parent, raising children has likely given you a headache at one point or another. The most common cause for these headaches at times can be the financial burden that children create. While most parents believe they are financially ready to have children, once the costs start rolling in, so too does the stress. This is why ensuring all parents understand the difficulties associated with raising children, along with how to raise a successful child without going broke is so important.
Why is Raising Children Typically So Difficult?
In a recent study conducted by the New York Times, the question of why raising children in the United States was hard was examined. The main driver of this was identified as being a lack of family policies that have resulted in few support structures for parents. Coupling this with rising costs and the fact that two working spouses are now extremely common in the United States, it’s clear to see why new parents have such a hard time balancing all facets of life.
On top of this, the average annual spending for childcare per child in the United States is only $500, compared to the next highest country Israel which has a spend of $3,327 per child. The country with the most financial support in place ended up being Norward at $29,726 per child. Clearly, the United States has failed to establish the necessary financial support structures for parents to raise their children while also balancing daily life.
How Expensive is it to Raise a Child?
Despite the above statistics, it may still be easy to brush off the cost of raising children as not too expensive. Amidst higher inflation rates and general changes to costs of living, it is now estimated to cost a family just over $300,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17. That amounts to nearly $18,000 per child per year in expenses. Considering this is on top of existing expenses such as a mortgage, food, transportation, and other common household costs, it’s clear to see that raising a child costs a lot of money.
Preparing to Raise a Child: How to Budget Properly
Ensuring you and your significant other are prepared to raise a child from a financial standpoint is equally as important as being mentally ready for the responsibility. To that end, utilize the following budgeting tips to ensure you can handle the obligation:
1. Start a college fund as soon as possible
Keep in mind that the figure mentioned above only accounts for raising a child to the age of 17, meaning it does not include the cost associated with college. While most families can afford the $18,000 yearly expense added to their other expenses, college is a major extra expense nowadays. Start a college fund from the moment your child is born and contribute to it on a monthly or annual basis for assistance with paying for tuition.
2. Practice living on less in your life
An $18,000 per year addition to expenses may be extremely tight for some families, so practising living on less is a great budgeting tip. Whether that means making smarter food choices, travelling less, or cutting out other expenses, simply living your life in a humbler manner can save a lot of money.
3. Attempt to anticipate changing expenses
The costs associated with raising a child will vary drastically over the years in both type and amount. This is why all families need to be able to adapt to changing expenses as they come, rather than expecting expenses to stay the same over the years.
4. Don’t neglect the smaller expenses
Finally, there will be a slew of smaller expenses that may come up over time which are not included in the average annual figure. While $18,000 serves as an average, it may be smart to over-budget and assume $21,000-$22,000 to account for sneaky expenses that may arise.
4 Tips for Successfully Raising a Child
With the financial duties outlined above, it’s important to now look at some of the top tips for raising a successful and independent child:
1. Find them a good doctor as soon as possible
The last thing any parents want to see is their child seriously injured in a preventable accident and then not receiving the care they need. Find your child a doctor who you trust from the minute they are born so that any medical expenses can be handled with precision.
2. Set limits and enforce them
Parents naturally want their children to love them, but this often leads to parents not setting limits or boundaries with their children. While you can certainly be a friend to your child, you are foremost a parent, which means you must teach them about limitations. Be sure to enforce punishments that were promised if those limitations were pushed.
3. Be a role model for your children
As a parent, you are the primary role model for your children, and they are always watching you, even when you don’t think they are. Try to focus on always putting your best foot forward in situations in the exact way you would want them to.
4. Allow your child to practice decision making
A major part of growing up to be independent is making your own decisions. All parents should encourage their children to become decision-makers by helping guide them to good solutions. This doesn’t mean leaving your children out to dry, but healthy struggling can make a person more creative and reactive.
Foster a loving family today
All parents, no matter how experienced or inexperienced, can raise amazing children who are ready to go off on their own in society independently and succeed. While raising children will undoubtedly be difficult and create great financial strain, it is also one of the most rewarding jobs anybody could ever hope for. Utilize all of the above tips to help ensure that your growing child enters society as an excellent new addition to whatever community they wish to join.