As your child grows and develops, his needs will change – and affect your marriage. DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON highlights what you and your spouse should be aware of.
"As your child grows, family expenses rise, and this changes your budgeting priorities."
You need to be less open when you’re arguing
Your toddler is very aware of everything that goes on in the family. If he sees Mummy quarrelling with Daddy, he’ll feel confused, troubled and upset. At this age, he’s extremely sensitively to parental disputes.
If at all possible, don’t have a blazing row in from of your two-year-old. It doesn’t matter who is in the right and who is the wrong – sort out your disagreements when he’s not there.
Wait till he is busy playing in another room, or better yet, hold your argument until he’s fast asleep at night.
You may struggle to find marital privacy
You never know when your young child is going to walk into your bedroom unannounced, perhaps because he is hungry or thirsty, has woken up from a bad dream, or just wants to see you both.
Never assume that you can have uninterrupted intimacy simply because your toddler appears to be asleep. Take sensible measures to ensure he doesn’t have the opportunity to barge in unexpectedly.
Family activities need to be child-centred
You can no longer do what you and your husband want when you go on a family outing. After all, if your little one doesn’t enjoy himself when you are out, you won’t enjoy yourselves either.
Plan outings that will appeal to your kid, such as going to the playgrounds or child-centred museums.
Your priorities have changed, and your child’s interest comes first. If you and your husband might prefer to be elsewhere, save those ideas for your date nights, which are still important for your relationship.
More of your income is spent on your child
As a general rule, family expenses rise as your child grows, and this changes your budgeting priorities. Now he has playgroup or nursery fees, he regularly needs new clothes and shoes, and he seems to have an insatiable hunger.
Accept that you may have to postpone the purchase of those new designer clothes you and your husband had your eye on. Likewise, the latest IT gadgets and new smartphones may have to wait until you have balanced the books. Start now to plan ahead for school fees.
You may not always agree on how to raise your child
Parental disputes on how to manage children become increasingly common at the two-year-old stage. That’s when your toddler begins to assert himself, to have tantrums, and to challenge you.
You and your husband may differ on how to deal with him. When you have a quiet moment, for example when your child is asleep, have a chat together about behavioural issues, such as tantrums, fussy eating, and sleep refusal.
You’ll find that your marriage remains strong when you both take the same approach to parenting your toddler.
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