Sharing five things that helped us in the first two years of parenting – from encouraging self-feeding to keeping a low screen time! 

 

I truly believe that parenting is a very personal experience, and each child is different. Having said that, if our experiences can help someone, I’d be thrilled. Hence this post. I’ve also posted an article of where we stumbled in those first two years.  

This article is a collection of things that helped us from our son’s birth to age two. Many ideas came from our parents and friends; for which, we have sincere gratitude.

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1. Reading to our Baby

We started reading to our son when he was six months old. Although it sounds a young age to start, we were surprised by how much he enjoyed being read to. If you are looking for book recommendations for your little one, I’ve put together a post on our favorite board books for kids. 

Advantage: Today, at age three, he has a plenty of toys to keep him engaged, but he is always excited when we pull out an old book or read something new to him!

2. Keeping a Low Screen-Time

This is something that is challenging today with overexposure to gadgets. Until our son turned eighteen months old, we never turned on the television or gave him a phone or a tablet. To achieve that, we spent a lot of time keeping him engaged with toys, reading books, and encouraging him to feed himself.

Today at age three, he does have screen-time (only television) in the evenings. Whenever possible, we watch it  with him and enjoy the shows as best as we can :)!

 

Takeaways: I understand that in these busy times, it isn’t easy to engage with the child all the time ourselves. Also, most of us yield to the child’s demands for gadgets when he doesn’t eat. If possible, you may encourage self-feeding so that there is a lesser compelling reason to reach out to that gadget.

Disciplining ourselves to keep our phones away can help too.

Disclaimer: WHO recommends no screen time for infants under one year and one hour for age two to four.  

 

3.Being open to Child-Care Options

Every parent, child, and care provider is different. And with a baby or toddler, the arrangement might not turn out as per our plan or expectation. Therefore, it is good to manage our expectations in this regard to keep anxiety at bay.

For example, we thought we would have a nanny until our son turns two – wishful thinking it was! Before he became one, we could see that being home with the nanny was boring to him and he wanted more interaction. Therefore, we moved him to a home-based daycare.  

Please refer to the post on “nanny vs. daycare”, if you are looking for a care provider and wondering how to make that decision.

Takeaway: Being prepared to make a change in child care can keep us calm and make better decisions! Please don’t think that a change might hurt your child in building endurance.

For a child that young, something might not just resonate with the care provider. So, it is perfectly okay to make that change for your child to thrive!

4. Encouraging Self-Feeding

Thanks to a dear friend, who recommended Baby-led weaning to us. Before I go any further, baby-led weaning worked for us, but please do your research also before going for it. This post doesn’t detail the hows and whys on baby-led weaning. 

We used to steam finger foods and offer to our son to feed himself. For the first year, feeding became a highlight of our day.

Trying various finger foods, sitting on the high chair, and above all, feeding himself was an activity that kept our son entertained! 

Some challenges came after he turned one, but I discuss those in the post on “5 things which we could’ve done better“. In summary, we got a little anxious when he wouldn’t eat with the same enthusiasm. We started feeding him then, and that was a lesson – we should’ve been a bit patient. Nothing lost though, in six months, he turned around to feed himself now. 

Takeaway: Self-feeding can help a child develop a good relation with and love for food. 

5. Will/Estate Planning

Getting a Will/Estate Planning is something that a new parent can likely defer or keep postponing. Thanks to my husband, who propelled us into getting the estate planning in place when our son was born.

It is certainly not an urgent matter, but if we put it on the back burner, it might just slip out of our minds. It is a simple checklist item like insurance, which, if done, can be a pleasant relief.

Takeaway: Will/Estate Planning is quick to get done and an obvious thing to do – therefore, might as well do it as soon as possible!

A Parting Note

I hope these notes are helpful to you. Please share with us what worked and didn’t work for you in those first few years. 

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