Ultimate Guide to The Best Childcare Options for Infants

Best Childcare Options for ParentsOne thing my wife and I have discussed and debated with regards to our baby girl is how we want to handle childcare, considering we both work full time jobs.  And I’m guessing we’re not alone in trying to figure out the best childcare options (for infants especially).

Our general debate was “daycare or in-home nanny” because those were really the only viable options to us, especially at an age when our daughter isn’t yet going to school.

However, there are obviously a lot of other options available that we first considered before narrowing it down to the two options that seemed most realistic to us.  So before I get into my specific analysis of the best childcare options, let’s go through the different types of childcare available, and the pros and cons of each.

I promise, this isn’t as difficult as it seems.

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Should I Start a 529 (College Savings) Plan for My Child?

As a parent, one of the hot topics in personal finance that you’ll often see discussed is saving for your child’s college education.

While some parents prefer to save their child’s college fund in a glass jar or underneath their mattress, there are certainly a lot of better options out there: one of which is a 529 Plan.

(Whether or not you think saving for your child’s college tuition is a good idea is a separate discussion – I discuss that here.)

The 529 plan sounds a lot more confusing and intimidating than it is, and I think that’s why some people ignore it.  And you don’t need to hire a CPA or a financial adviser to set one up – it’s actually quite easy to do yourself.

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Top 10 Books to Read to a Baby in 2017 (And the Benefits of Reading to Them)

top-10-books-for-kids-smallerThere’s no doubt you’ve heard about the importance of reading to your child, especially as he or she gets a bit older and can comprehend what you’re saying.

But even when your child is an infant – before he or she can talk or comprehend language – reading still has benefits.

But what should you read? Does it even matter when your child is a baby?

Keep reading, and not only will I get into the benefits of reading to a baby (and the science behind it), but I’ll give you a rundown of the top 10 books to read to a baby in 2017.

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How to Split Nighttime Duties with a Newborn (Even When Dad is Working)

Undoubtedly the single greatest challenge of raising a newborn child is something you’ve likely taken for granted your entire life: how to manage sleep.

And no, not managing sleep for the baby: the baby will sleep whenever it feels like sleeping.

Before becoming a new parent, you commonly hear two seemingly contradictory things:

  1. Newborn babies sleep all the time (somewhere in the range of 16-20 hours per day)
  2. As a parent of a newborn, you will get very little sleep

“What the f**k?”  you think to yourself.  If the baby is sleeping 16-20 hours per day, surely I can find my usual 6-8 hours of sleep in there somewhere, right?

Here’s the part where experienced parents laugh at you.

I thought the same thing when my daughter was born.  I knew sleep was going to be rough in the beginning, but with the baby sleeping most of the day, I thought for sure there would be some way to still get something close to my normal amount of sleep.

Ha…I was so wrong.

I’m not going to get into the exact details of why I didn’t sleep much, because it’s irrelevant for the topic of this post.  Every kid is different, and I can guarantee your experience will be at least somewhat different from mine.

But…we can all agree that nighttime sleep will never be the same while a newborn is in the house.  So, with that in mind, I want to discuss some strategies around how to tackle these nighttime duties in your average two-parent home.

It won’t be easy, but here it goes…

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How to Start a Baby Registry Online (Everything You Need to Know)

how-to-start-baby-registry-onlineSetting up a baby registry is one of those fun things you get to do before the baby is born (maybe as fun as designing the baby’s nursery).

It’s kind of like writing a Christmas list when you’re a little kid…you pick out things you want, you don’t pay for them, and you just wait and see if you get the items on your list.

It used to be that you would physically go into a store and set up a registry there (and some people still do it this way).  Friends and family would then need to go into that store to make a purchase off your registry.

But with the internet as it is today, you can do it all online much more efficiently, with a lot more options.

There are a few things to know about how to start a baby registry online, however.

I’ll get into those here, along with the many places you can register (with my personal recommendations).

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Can You Influence a Baby’s First Words? (and Should You?)

influence-baby-first-wordsA baby speaking its first word(s) is often viewed as one of the key milestones in its first 9-14 months of existence.

Which means, as a parent, you’ve spent nearly a year being babbled at.

It’s cute and all, but you’re dying for some real conversation with your infant child. The babbling has taken a toll on your vocabulary as the gibberish nonsense has now become a part of your daily conversation.

Even the dog looks confused.

confused-dog

Naturally, some parents try to speed up the process and even attempt influence their baby’s first words (see Jimmy Fallon’s book, Dada).

Can you actually influence a baby’s first words? And should you?

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First Time Dad Tips: 10 Things You Should Know

Image Credit: Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images
Image Credit: Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Becoming a dad for the first time is pretty scary.

Every day you find yourself facing issues you’ve never dealt with before. And not only are you dealing with a new child, but likely a new mother as well (I think most mothers would agree that this adds a layer of complexity to the father’s experience).

The good thing is, billions of people before you have managed to become parents and more or less did an OK job. You aren’t expected to know everything, and most of what you need to know you will learn along the way.

As a first-time-dad-to-be, I researched this topic quite a bit.  There’s a lot of information out there for “first time parents,” but most of the writing is from a woman’s perspective and therefore tends to skew toward first time moms.

A lot of first time dad tips are the same, but there are some key differences.

What are they? Let’s get right into ’em.

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5 Critical Things to Consider When Designing a New Baby Room

baby-nursery-designDesigning a new baby room is definitely one of those fun things that couples get to work on together prior to a baby’s birth.  From colors, to furniture, to overall style – there’s definitely a lot of room for creativity.

My wife and I had a pretty unique situation, in that our future baby room was, at the time…

…occupied by a bunny.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Our pet bunny had its own room.  That’s what happens when you move into a three bedroom condo and don’t have kids for a few years.

So, on top of the usual room designing tasks, we had one extra step: find a new place for the bunny to live.  I won’t bore you with those details, because chances are, you don’t have to deal with this exact scenario.

Regardless of what your situation is, however, you are probably looking to fully transform the current space.  And in doing so, there are some important factors you will want to think about.

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The 5 Most Common Mistakes of New Parents

Image source: www.adoption.net
Image source: www.adoption.net

Parents, regardless of experience, are prone to making mistakes.  Raising a human being is not easy.

Without too much exaggeration, every little thing you do as a parent can (but not necessarily will) shape your child in some way.

It can be especially terrifying as a new parent.  You know, frantically Googling every little thing.

What the hell did people do before Google?

The good news is, most mistakes that new parents make are not fatal.  You learn from each issue that comes up and eventually parenthood isn’t terribly daunting.

The more problematic mistakes are the more common ones that tend to repeat and persist.

And half the reason that they’re common and problematic is because you don’t even realize you’re making a mistake.

So what are the most common mistakes of new parents?

Keep reading, and I’ll tell you…

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Should I Get a Puppy or Have a Baby? (The Answer is Here.)

puppy-or-baby-smallIt’s a silly question, but I think it’s one that many couples debate. Even if the question itself is never explicitly asked out loud, it’s a real consideration for a lot of couples.

And it isn’t always “puppy or baby,” but more often: “Which one should come first?”

If you want a dog and want a baby, chances are you will end up with both at some point. Instead of trying out which should come first, should you simply declare “I want to make my life as difficult as possible” and go for both simultaneously?

What I’ve typically seen (anecdotally) is that couples like to first get a puppy, then have a baby.

It’s just good prep, right?

Let’s examine the merits of all options…

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