Being a parent has never been more challenging. For starters, it’s more expensive to raise a child than it has ever been. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, raising a child costs an average of $233,610 1 —and that doesn’t even factor in the cost of college. Additionally, according to the Center for American Progress, 70% of parents are working 9-hour days to make ends meet; this, paired with the added burden of dealing with the gap between the end of the school day and workday, means additional childcare costs or income loss. 2
While we certainly don’t have the magic solution to make parenting easy, there are some simple, healthy choices you can make to reduce stress while also saving time and money.
1. Be a Single-Tasker
While parenting is always going to be a juggling act, it’s time to rethink that approach. A recent study found that just 2.5% of people are able to multitask effectively.3 So, the next time you’re helping with homework, checking emails, and stirring the sauce, while also thinking about everything else all at once, try to remember this: giving your undivided attention to one task at a time can help you become more effective in everything you do—whether it’s working, spending time with your family, or planning for their future.
2. Lean on Your Village
While everyone knows “it takes a village to raise a child,” we’ve grown accustomed to going it alone. Reach out to your village—family, friends, and neighbors—for help when you need it. Simple things like carpooling with neighborhood parents or starting a homework group with your kid and their classmates can take some of the pressure off, and they can also save you a little time as well as money on things like gas and tutoring. When you reach out, you’ll discover that you’re not alone.
3. Get Out of Sleep Debt
We’re accustomed to being strict about naps and bedtimes with our kids, but when it comes to ourselves, not so much. Unfortunately, missing just a few hours of sleep for a couple of nights can lead to slower reaction times, decreased work performance, and increased stress.4 If you can’t manage to get the 7 to 9 recommended hours of shut eye a night, take baby steps. Try going to bed 10 or 15 minutes earlier and work your way up from there. It’s hard to believe, but you’ll quickly see how getting a little extra sleep can pay dividends for your health, happiness, and maybe even your bottom line.
4. Make Time for Some “Me Time”
Between work, kids, chores, and everything else that comes with being a parent, who has time for themselves? If you’re like most people, you need to make the time. Nothing crazy or elaborate, just something you can do for ten minutes a day to decompress: yoga, writing, meditation, the crossword puzzle, whatever. Set a reminder on your phone and make a daily appointment for “me time.” Not only will it give you something to look forward to, it’s less stressful and less expensive to make a little time every day than to wait for a big vacation once or twice a year. Learn more about the benefits of maintaining your mind and body by exploring John Hancock life insurance with Vitality—the breakthrough life insurance solution that rewards you for the steps you take to live a longer, healthier life.
5. Budget for Their Future
Education can be expensive, so start preparing for it from the moment they’re born. A 529 plan is an easy way to invest in your child’s education, while also saving you money on your taxes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover everything, which is why you should speak with a financial advisor about starting a plan to best prepare and provide for their financial futures.
Parenting is a full-time job but having a few simple strategies can make it feel a lot less overwhelming. For even more financial parenting advice, speak with a John Hancock Advisor about a life insurance plan to preserve your family’s assets, grow your savings, and ensure a legacy for future generations.
Life insurance that rewards you for living a healthy life.