Sure, it’s your second time around, but having baby #2 isn’t necessarily “Been there, done that.” Mothers may feel their second pregnancy is totally different from the first. Parents have to get their first child used to the idea of a new sibling. And everyone needs to make room at home (and in their budget) for a fourth family member.
It’s a lot of work, but there are ways to make it all go smoothly. Here’s how to get your home, finances and family ready for that new bundle of joy.
Don’t Tell Your Child Right Away
Nine months is an eternity for children, and the concept of a new baby is so abstract that you shouldn’t expect them to fully grasp the idea, says Jonathan Caspi, Ph.D., a New Jersey–based professor and family therapist specializing in siblings. He suggests telling toddlers four to six weeks before the due date and older kids after the fourth month. Do it by reading a book or showing a video of a kid getting a new sibling, then asking, “How would you feel about having a brother or a sister?”
Sibling Rivalry Isn’t Inevitable
Prep your child for the new arrival by teaching them to be a participant in co-caring for the baby, says Caspi. After you break the news, make your firstborn excited—and proud—to be an older sibling. Ask your little one to help pick out baby items, for example. “If the child feels included,” he says, “they’ll be excited about showing off the baby.”
Be Selective With Hand-Me-Downs
You can save money by reusing old clothes, furniture and toys, of course. But be wary of some items. Car seats, for example, are generally good for only about six years, so check the expiration date. And toss the seat if it’s been in an accident, says smart-shopping expert Trae Bodge; its structural integrity may have been damaged. If your crib was manufactured before 2011, consider an upgrade—new standards implemented that year have resulted in much safer cribs.
Prepare For Additional Expenses
A second child won’t double your expenses, but the increase will be noticeable, says Brad Goldstein, a client-services associate from Florida-based Adam Financial Associates (and a father of three). To help keep spending in check, Goldstein recommends eliminating unnecessary monthly expenses, like that forgotten gym membership. Also, call companies to ask about discounts for loyal customers—Goldstein has saved money on his cable bill by regularly checking for discounts. Then put that money toward the baby’s child care, diapers, formula and college savings plans. One fixed expense he recommends adding—or increasing, if you already have it—is life insurance. (Get a free quote through the GEICO Insurance Agency.)
Don’t Uproot Your Life
A second child may not mean changing everything. If you have room in your current house, says Goldstein, then stay put. After all, even if you’re tight on space, your baby won’t need a whole other room right away, so get a handle on new expenses before considering a move. As for your car, he says, as long as both car seats can fit safely in the backseat, there’s no need to upgrade. (Read more tips on keeping your kids safe while driving.)
Here’s another money-saving tip: You could qualify for a multi-policy discount on your GEICO auto insurance (in some states) when you insure your home through the GEICO Insurance Agency.
Read more: Be ready for the second trip to the hospital with this car-packing checklist.
By Maridel Reyes