If it weren’t for baby showers, many new parents would have a difficult time making ends meet. But no matter how many gifts you receive for your new bundle of joy, there are countless other expenses that come up. So how do you go about saving money with a young baby? [Read more…]
Since my daughter is the only child I’ve ever really been around for any length of time, I really have nothing else to compare to in terms of development. People often comment though on my two-year-old’s language development. Other parents, teachers and people who have way more experience with kids than I do. Recently a friend of mine asked if I did anything ‘’special’’ to teach our daughter how to speak ‘’so well’’.
Given that this is my first go-round with this parenting thing, my answer is always no, but when I think about it my daughter’s day-to-day life is surrounded by opportunity communicate, effectively.
Starts with communication at home
My husband and I avoided ‘’baby talk’’ from the very beginning. We didn’t have silly names for things, ever. If we were giving her a glass of water or a bottle we wouldn’t call it ‘’wa wa’’ or ‘’ba ba’’ instead. Traditional ‘’baby talk’’ has always seemed unnatural to me, so this wasn’t exactly something I deliberately didn’t do but after being around friends with other young children I realised how different my day-to-day language was with our daughter, it was more ‘’grown up’’ somehow.
Though I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing if you want to communicate in easier tones for your child to understand, I do think expecting them to suddenly stop using these words at a certain age is then unfair.
Read to your child, look at pictures
I can’t stress this enough. You can never read too much to your kid, it’s just that simple. We read all sorts of different books to encourage the diversity. Everything from simple picture books that are fun to longer books, that, I think, encourages focus. It’s the simple picture books (with busy pages) that we have the most fun with though. When she’s really young they’re fun pictures where we can point out all the different things on the page and as gets older I can ask everything from ‘’count the balloons’’ to ‘’who is closer to the boat?’’ to ‘’where’s the octagon?’’ type of questions. We also like flash cards.
Have basic expectations
If our daughter mispronounces something, we correct her. Not in a military drill type of way but we will usually say ‘’I think you mean this’’, just once. After a few times (or correcting her) she’s usually got the proper pronunciation down.
Be selective with screen time
We do allow our daughter to watch a little TV and movies but we’re very selective about what she watches. We follow her lead as to if she’s into a show or not but if we as parents don’t like it we won’t allow it. There are a lot of really dumb programs for children. Ones that speak in dumb languages and words. The first red flag for us as parents is the clarity of speech.
Play Games With Your Surroundings
Something I started doing with her when she was young was count the stairs as we walked up. We also sing songs like ABC’s when we’re driving in the car to keep her distracted from an otherwise boring car ride. From these things alone she has been counting and singing her ABC’s for many months now.
I am by no means and expert of any kind, these are just a few things that we’ve done that seem to have led to a pretty decent vocabulary and pronunciation for our two-year-old.
Do you have any tips for encouraging good language development for toddlers?
In the last few months my husband and I are coming closer and closer to the conclusion that we will likely have another baby. Not for a few more years but if we have any control over the situation we would like to have another. More for the fact that we want our daughter to have a sibling. Both my husband and I are very close to our sisters and we want our daughter to have that relationship too. Though not the only reason, a big reason we’re choosing to wait to have more kids though is that kids aren’t cheap!
I really don’t think kids have to be as expensive as some would make them out to be but they’re still far from free. The two biggest expenses we need to consider is me being on maternity leave for upwards of a year (and losing some of my income) and daycare.
Preparing the Monthly Budget
Ideally we have another child at the same time our older daughter is preparing to start school. Once our daughter is in school she will no longer need full-time care and likely just a few hours in the afternoon until my husband and I are off work. This will save us hundreds of dollars a month for her current daycare cost. Having an older child in school while the younger is in daycare will definitely be the cheapest option in terms of saving on daycare costs initially.
As we come closer to preparing for me to be on maternity leave our monthly budget will look much better as we will have a significant amount of debt paid off as well. The peace of mind that comes with not having additional debt payments while on a reduced income will be great!
Saving on Baby Stuff
Most of the toys and baby items we bought and received as gifts for our daughter were very gender neutral which will save on upfront costs (and even if they’re not I have no issue with my potential son playing with his older sisters pink toys). There are very few baby ‘’items’’ we would need if we have another child. If we have a son we would need some clothes (most second-hand) as our daughter’s wardrobe is very girly and I draw the line at riding her pink motorcycle.
If possible, I will breastfeed again saving on formula and because we already own a pump and storage bags I wouldn’t need to re-purchase these.
Other than things like new savings account for post-secondary which will come with any future child, the other costs will be very limited. We will eventually need a second bed for him or her and some clothes, but because we have chosen to keep all of our current child’s things there is very little we actually need. Paying off our debt will also ensure I have a stress free maternity leave!
Did you spend less on your second baby than you did buying things for your first child?