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    Advice to a New Mom

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 13th, 2019

    Advice to a New Mom

    This past week, we had a baby shower at Toastmasters* in celebration of our member who recently had a baby and our members who will be a having a baby. I decided to use that opportunity to give a speech on what worked for me in raising my children.

    1. Read to your children always – it is never too early to read to your children. You can even start when the baby is in the womb. When there is a good foundation, children do well in school. Reading is necessary for every field of study. One of the best gifts to give a child is the love of reading.
    2. Invest in your child’s future by investing in your state’s 529. You do not need a financial adviser to invest in a 529. All you need is a computer and putting college 529 in the search engine. Every state has its rules but it is a worthwhile investment. I do not know about other states but I do know in Ohio, there are tax benefits. You do not need a lot of money to start  – it can be as low as $25.00. It will not stop your child from getting financial aid if your child qualifies. It can be used for any higher education whether it is a college or a vocational school. Start the 529 the minute your child gets their social security number. Do not delay because before you know it, your child will be in elementary school, then middle school and then high school and you will wonder what happened.
    3. Assign chores as early as possible. When my children were two years old, they were in charge of putting their socks together and finding their shoes. Have you ever seen a child with two different socks or shoes? I now know why. As they get older, you add more responsibilities. I stopped doing laundry for my children by the time they were 11 years old. When my children were in college, they were surprised how many children did not know how to do their laundry. I reminded them that they could have been one of them.
    4. Have a set bedtime. Sleep is so important.  From the very beginning it was 9:00 pm. Because I was a working mom, it gave me a chance  to spend some quality time with the children after eating dinner and also alone time for my hubbie once the children were in bed. We made sure there was no television in the bedroom. The bedroom was meant for sleeping and reading.
    5. Remember that you are a parent and not a friend. Children need responsible and caring adults in their life. It is ok to set limits as a parent. As a parent, you are their first teachers. They rely on you. Will they have tantrums and get upset?  Yes. Will they say they hate you because you have said no? Possibly. Through everything, as a parent, you will love them unconditionally and they need to know this. No matter how they may have felt about me, I always hugged my children and told them I loved them. Friends may come and go, but a parent is for life.

    It is important that we share what we have learned with our new parents. I am grateful to my elders who gave me great advice. With God’s help, all went well.

    *Toastmasters International empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. It is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization with membership exceeding 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries. The club above is the  Columbus-Whitehall, Club 3002 that meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month between 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Columbus Metropolitan Library- Whitehall in Columbus, Ohio.

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