Really Keeps New Parents from Sleeping
By Anh Vazquez - www.littlegrad.com
if the new nocturnal feedings weren't enough to keep them from out
of REM state, new parents have a host of other concerns on their
minds. A recent survey released by Little Grad, the Saving for College
company revealed how varying scary thoughts affect parents.
survey asked parents to rank 10 factors in order of which one they
worried the most about. The most worrisome, on a 1-10 scale was
job security (3.48), followed by saving for retirement (3.75) and
dying before their children grow up (4.30). The ability to afford
their children's educational needs (4.48) rounded out the top four.
The issues parents worry about less than saving for college include
crime (5.05), the environment (5.20), rising gas prices (6.73),
the amount of time their kids spend watching TV or playing video
games (6.84), the threat of terrorism (7.27), and lastly, traffic
In looking at this list, it was interesting to note that there are
two categories of worry; those they have little control over and
those that are mostly within their influence. By looking at the
worries in these two categories, it helps to map out a plan for
alleviating them, and finding more restful peace of mind.
but 'out there'
Terrorism, crime, environment, gas prices, traffic, violent video
while things undoubtedly affect our lives, and will
impact our children's futures, they are largely, beyond any family's
ability to control, and therefore don't have the 'wake you up in
a cold sweat' factor. That being said, there are things that individuals
and families can and should do to address these causes of stress.
Discuss responsible citizenship. Schools encourage students to discuss
issues like terrorism, environmental concerns, crime. Parents should
actively consider and discuss these items as well, so that a family
has a jointly developed sense of identity and values.
· Find ways to support ideals. If the family is stressed
by high gas prices or traffic, this can be a call to make a change
- whether that means buying a hybrid vehicle, finding carpool partners
or changing jobs. Even if you don't take any actions immediately,
considering your options is good for mental health.
· Practice healthy escapism. A lot of worries come from the
TV set or sitting in traffic. Finding family time in nature, or
at someplace where you can connect and relax can put the world back
It could happen to us
Parents keenly feel the new responsibility a child brings into their
lives, and this drives job, financial and health insecurity in a
new and powerful way. It may take some time to develop new habits,
but once done, the effects on a parents stress levels can be remarkable.
Financial planning. Whether it is sitting down with the monthly
bills and checking account, or visiting a financial planner, taking
a level headed look at expenses, and comparing them with how they
are aligned with your aspirations can help to keep nagging doubts
at bay. This should be done at least once a year to keep pace with
the changes of a growing family. Part of this exercise should include
a discussion of wills and guardianship of children. Mortality is
of concern to parents, and discussing it can take away its mental
power over your dreams.
· Stepping up savings. When they look at their income and
spending, most families would agree that they could and should be
directing more money towards savings. This would help alleviate
the stresses related to job security, retirement and saving for
· Focus on family health. Eating and exercise, making time
for checkups, scheduling 'mental health time' - all these things
can remarkably lower stress, and set a great example of a healthy
lifestyles that kids will adopt as their own.
full night's sleep is one of those things that you cannot fully
appreciate until you have had it interrupted. To care for a new
baby (or even a sick child) is tiring, but worth the exertion. Losing
sleep over worries is perhaps unavoidable, but steps can be taken.
To figure out why you are losing sleep, many experts recommend keeping
a notebook and pen by your bed. This will help to find any issues
that are hidden in the new parent haze, as well as helping you back
to sleep once you've written the "must remember to go"
item on it, that is assuming you can read your own handwriting in
Anh Vazquez, CEO of LittleGrad.com, earned a Master's degree from
Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon
University. After spending over ten years working for leading companies
such as Intel, Netscape, and Wal-Mart, Anh's career interests shifted
when she became the mother of two children. Anh drew on her experience
as a senior executive at Wal-Mart's fastest growing division (Walmart.com)
when she decided to start LittleGrad.com, a free service that helps
parents save for their children's college education. LittleGrad.com
has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, San Francisco
Chronicle, and Money magazine. For more information please visit