Be the Best Parent: Extra training for moms and dads
Even though you'll probably seek some outside help, you will be a big part of your baby's child care. Mother Nature gives parents plenty of training -- those parenting "instincts" you're feeling -- but there's no reason you can't get more.
- Where to find classes
- Social benefits of classes
- Turn a class into a career
Visit community organizations, such as the parks and recreation department, hospitals, even gyms. Many offer classes in CPR training and baby basics. Others have mommy-and-me yoga classes and new mommy groups, which will put you in touch with other new parents. If you live near a community college -- which will probably allow you to take courses without being officially enrolled -- look for classes that teach early-childhood development or nutrition.
The cost for all these programs will vary wildly, but each is likely worth the investment if you have the extra time and money. Taking classes also gives new parents an opportunity to interact with other grown-ups, which can be important when you feel like your world revolves around diapers and baby talk.
If you're a stay-at-home parent and you enjoy this continued education, you might consider becoming a state-certified child care provider, a process that involves similar coursework.
The bottom line
There's a lot to learn, and a lot of great teachers. Don't be afraid to get out there and soak up some of that knowledge. Even if you don't use it to take care of other people's children, it will help you better take care of your own.
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