Parenting & Family

Parents of RFD: What do you wish you knew, or did differently, before your first child?

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  • Feb 11th, 2020 3:06 pm
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May 9, 2019
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Parents of RFD: What do you wish you knew, or did differently, before your first child?

Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and tell yourself something before you had your first kid, what advice with you tell yourself? How would you tell yourself to prepare? What's important, what to keep in mind, what's overrated and not worth doing or worrying about? Common misconceptions or pro tips?
Some say they're sick of my crap.
22 replies
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Nov 13, 2010
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Scarborough
Wouldn't change a thing. Been great, thanks to God.
Deal Guru
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Mar 31, 2008
11052 posts
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Toronto
Travel! Don't spend or waste too much on clothes or little events (i.e. weekly drinking sessions). To do it 'young', with freedom and flexibility is something you won't get back, and is pretty much the most memorable thing once you enter the blur and constraints.

Travel includes doing road trips to far away places. i.e. East Coast, Florida, etc. Or scenic trip like camping to up north. In my mind, I would have love to gone to the North to see the Aurora lights. Stuff like that.
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Aug 27, 2004
646 posts
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Cyberspace
ChocolatePoo wrote: Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and tell yourself something before you had your first kid, what advice with you tell yourself? How would you tell yourself to prepare? What's important, what to keep in mind, what's overrated and not worth doing or worrying about? Common misconceptions or pro tips?
Specialized swaddling blankets are awesome! We didn't use those for our first.

We would not have sent our four year old daughter (our eldest) to kindergarten. Her birthday was in November.
She struggled being on the younger side during primary school. Maybe when she was five. Maybe not.
Our younger kids did not go to kindergarten.

I think the cost of a child is overrated. Certainly there are costs setting up for a first baby but if you don't buy the cadillac of everything and make sensible purchases, you'll be fine. I find the adults are the ones that are expensive.

I wish I could have told younger me to chill out more about little things. Just spend time being as opposed to doing.
Check out the ants on the sidewalk instead of trying to go for a walk somewhere.

Getting our kids to learn to sleep on their own at a young age was totally work it.

I think knowing more ahead of time may not have been helpful.
The risk averse me might have been too risk averse to want to have kids.
Dealing with things as they come works too.

Good luck to all new parents! It's hard work but 100% worth it!

DISCLAIMER: Free advice is worth what you pay for it and often less.
As noted elsewhere in these forums, I'm a father of eight, the youngest of which is four years old and the oldest of which is 24.
Whatever I've done wrong, I may have done multiple times, in multiple ways (Sorry kids!)
I live in hope that the good intentions smoothed over the mistakes. Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Former Know-It-All
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Aug 11, 2008
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Name brand diapers are worth it. Sure store brand diapers (the exception being PC diapers which are really good) are cheaper, you also go through WAY more than you would with name brand diapers. Pampers are worth it.
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Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
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Had them before I was 30.
Wife and I focused too much on our careers, so that we were financially set, but money can't buy us time.
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Jun 11, 2006
330 posts
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Before kids: I wish my spouse and I took that driving trip through Ireland that we didn't because even though we could afford it, thought it was too expensive. I also wish we ate out more! Now, we have kids' allergies and tastes to consider. And now that we are middle aged, we have to watch what we eat!

After kids: I wish I had coslept with all my kids. (only did the last). I also think at times (probably still are) we were too hard on our oldest as we didn't know what to expect from a child at X age, and also because in the end, he "outgrew" whatever we were fretting about. I'm sure there will be other regrets but they are not done growing yet.

And this one that I still tell myself at times: Put your phone down!
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Nov 24, 2004
3942 posts
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Toronto
I wish we had started having kids a couple of years before we actually did. And I wish we had travelled a bit more beforehand (we did have some nice pre-kids trips though, nothing like that since then).

I wish I had spent less on the pre-baby purchases (crib, furniture, etc.) -- we bought that stuff new, and I regret it.
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May 28, 2012
10462 posts
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Saskatoon
I would buy fewer toys - there were some that got little play and took up so much room. I would also encourage the children to help out and give them simple chores at a very young age. I have one son (an adult now) who will argue with you for twenty minutes about why he shouldn't have to do some simple task around the house.
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Aug 16, 2009
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Like others have mentioned, wish we had travelled more. It would have been much easier and we could have gone to places that they now find boring (historic, long walks, etc....).
Sr. Member
Mar 24, 2015
981 posts
351 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
I wish I started co-sleeping earlier with my first. We listened to so many people telling us that they should be sleeping in their own crib in their own bedroom, tried sleep training etc, Not sleeping enough and not being well rested made me very miserable until I tried it when he was 9 months old and wish I did it sooner. With my second, I started co-sleeping at around 3 months and it was so much better.

We intentionally did all the too-risky-for-kids places before having kids, but not enough in my opinion. I still find myself not being able to go to the places I'd like to visit because it is challenging with kids. Not because of the cost, but because they won't like certain foods or will be bored.

No regret having my first at 29. What I regret is not trying for our 3rd sooner. Because of my age (close to 40) it's taking longer and have been through multiple miscarriages.
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Jan 2, 2015
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Kiraly wrote: When using glitter glue, less is more.
Lol... mine is don't use anything with glitter (loose)
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Jul 15, 2003
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Read like crazy with the kid when it's young. Let the kid see you read. If they grow up with reading being a normal, everyday, fun, group activity they are much more likely to continue it. Once it is not a habit in daily life it's really really REALLY hard to bring it back.

For us an early love of reading was starting to become a chore until we started doing family read time on weekends instead of family tv time. Making the kid go read while you play on a screen doesn't work. All snuggling together in the same room and reading did the trick. Doesnt' have to be hours. And sometimes it's me and him reading the same calvin & hobbes book together. But now it's just another fun activity.

When you get to school age with reading time being assigned as a home activity, and it's considered a chore or homework, you'll know you've failed.
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Feb 13, 2017
773 posts
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Kevinck wrote: Read like crazy with the kid when it's young. Let the kid see you read. If they grow up with reading being a normal, everyday, fun, group activity they are much more likely to continue it. Once it is not a habit in daily life it's really really REALLY hard to bring it back.

For us an early love of reading was starting to become a chore until we started doing family read time on weekends instead of family tv time. Making the kid go read while you play on a screen doesn't work. All snuggling together in the same room and reading did the trick. Doesnt' have to be hours. And sometimes it's me and him reading the same calvin & hobbes book together. But now it's just another fun activity.

When you get to school age with reading time being assigned as a home activity, and it's considered a chore or homework, you'll know you've failed.
We did the reading part, at least 1 hour a day starting around 6 months. After a year they loved to flip through books and pick out colors, background things , say key words out loud, etc. We had a very hard time finding good quality books though, most are simple and sometimes don't follow a logical progression. They need to have good and simply story progression with something being accomplished by the end (maybe some rhyming, plus background images that pop out to make repeated reading fun. We also avoided all licensed products and generally found older books had better story quality vs most new ones.

When they started to want more from books we got a few sets of older encyclopedias for dirt cheap which they loved.

We also went the no screen time route (even got rid of our TVs) which we found much more enjoyable. Listened to the radio (classical music, oldies and some good quality kids music like Kathy Reid Newman, Charlie Hope, Raffi, Sharon Lois and Bram) danced a lot and had a blast.

Also at a young age, get them involved in the daily routine. If you are making breakfast and they can sit up, put them beside you and let them watch, let them help cut things (watermelon with a knife) and by the time our kids were 2 they would know which pot is in which cupboard and what ingredients to add to your staple meals. Our kids loved cooking, shopping for food (including meal planning for the week and food budgeting), helping with laundry, cleaning and had zero issues with them doing chores.

Engaging them in your daily routine is the most important thing. It can be easier to put them aside and distract them with a toy or TV when you quickly try to get supper ready or clean dishes but they are very curious and you need to feed that curiosity.

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