Advice for New Parents: What to Keep, What to Do



Do you know what advice I always want to give new parents?

It’s not the usual about sleeping when the baby sleeps, or what to buy, or about diapers.

I always want to the tell them to record the sounds that their newborn makes–those gurgles and grunts and coos and sighs that only the tiniest of people do because those are so unique, and they don’t happen for very long.

I want to tell them to write down the funny words and expressions that their four year old says because you can’t make those up.

I want to tell them about how to raise up a child who is well-behaved, but more than that I want them know how secure their child feels when you tell him, “I want you to do good, but I love you even when you don’t.”

I want to tell them not to worry about scrapbooking. My mother didn’t scrapbook, and I am relieved that I don’t have to keep albums full of every trip we ever took, but I’m thankful for digital images and notes that I typed out in a hurry instead of trying to make it look more beautiful. But maybe I still will, someday.

And don’t talk about your child as if she can’t hear what you say about her to your friend. Respect her privacy, and don’t put all of her awkward child photos on the internet as if Google won’t save them forever.

I want to tell them not to beat themselves up when they make a wrong parenting move, but that it’s the perfect chance to tell your child, “I’m sorry,” so you can show them about falling short and forgiveness.

But mostly I want to stay quiet because I know they will learn as they go, and I don’t want to step in. But those are the things I would say.

What would you say?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

About the author
Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it's so much easier to be a parent when you're not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

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9 Responses to “Advice for New Parents: What to Keep, What to Do”

  1. Amy Oct 18 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

    I would tell new parents that no matter what you do, your kid will have a “thing”. It could be poor sleep, it could be not wanting to give up the paci or the bottle, potty training resistance, etc. There are a million “things” and not every kid stumbles over the same thing, so just accept it, accept that it will pass and that eventually there will be a new “thing” to overcome. And save yourself the heartache and don’t make it the topic of conversation at a new parent social event, you’ll just wind up wanting to stab someone with a fork. And don’t stress not one of those early “things” are an issue when they get to college.

  2. PinkieBling Oct 18 at 1:50 pm Reply Reply

    Lovely post!

  3. cassandra Oct 18 at 4:07 pm Reply Reply

    I would say talk, talk, talk to your baby. Tell them what you are doing, what is going on in your environment, what you are doing with them. Don’t be embarrassed to engage them in life!

  4. Lo Oct 18 at 4:10 pm Reply Reply

    I would say “Open your heart to love”. Love teaches you how to take care of the baby, how to understand him/her and love is what makes you the best parent. Though love you will find yourself not only enjoying the precious gift that they are but also you will grow. It is loves which makes us understand instantly when they need us even though they are too small to call for us. Also don’t be scared, get a grip and be the strong parent. They are small and fragile and the last thing they need is for their parent to be afraid. 

  5. jL Oct 19 at 9:46 am Reply Reply

    I always say to enjoy the special time of the beginning so much. Even though it is a hard season of life, it is such a miraculous and new experience, it is hard to ever get that back.
    My favorite thing someone told me was that “you can retrain anything” so hold them as much as you want when they are little and will let you. My 14 month old twins can’t sit still long enough to read a book now and I wish I would have held them so much more than I did when they were newborns.

  6. Cat Oct 23 at 2:15 pm Reply Reply

    I would tell them to turn everything off and listen. I need to tell myself that a lot too. It’s one of the hardest things for my generation.

  7. Amy Sullivan Oct 23 at 7:28 pm Reply Reply

    Nap with them. Lay together. Let your bodies get tangled up. Watch them sleep.

  8. Eliz. K Oct 25 at 11:38 am Reply Reply

    Just found out I’m pregnant and excited and nervous. Glad for these grounding reminders about life! Thanks :-)


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