How to Plan Your Child’s Future
From the time you hold your tot in your arms until they’re out on their own, we know setting them up for lifelong success is a top priority. Although it may seem lightyears away, making arrangements for your kiddo’s future should start as early as possible.
Thinking about how to plan your child's future can seem overwhelming. There are many considerations, from how much to save for college to how to help them figure out their passions and talents to reach their full potential.
At ParentEducate.com, the No. 1 source for parenting courses, we’re dedicated to helping you raise healthy, prosperous, and stable kids through research-backed techniques and tips. That’s why we’re sharing best practices to create the best life possible for your children.
Put a Will in Place
Needless to say, this is probably the most daunting task. However, it’s also one of the most important things you will do for your little ones and yourself. Aside from ensuring your assets go to the right people, a will gives you comfort in knowing your child is taken care of no matter what. When developing a will, we recommend first naming a legal guardian you trust who would take on raising your children. When deciding, you should consider where the person lives, their parenting style and values - and whether they’re physically and financially able to care for your little ones. Second, you should determine how your assets will be distributed. It’s important to note that without a will, your assets would be handled in probate court. Last, you will need to choose an “executor” to oversee the financial duties of your estate and fulfill your requests. Some parents choose to establish trust which gives them more control over when their assets are given to their children. For example, if you prefer to avoid your kiddos having full access to their inheritance, a trust allows your funds to be held until a certain age. Estate planning may not be the easiest, but it guarantees you to have control of what takes place after your passing.
Get Involved in Their Education
If you’re wondering how to plan your child's future in other ways, you can add being actively engaged in their school work to the list. Whether playing a science game or helping with math homework, setting them up for a successful future means being involved early on. That way, you can offer guidance to advance them academically. This is also the best way to invest in child’s future. Research shows that parent involvement can improve graduation rates. With that being said, your child’s future can depend on how engaged you are throughout their development. If your tot is struggling in a specific area and you’re not able to help them, we recommend hiring a tutor. It’s also critical to meet with your child’s teachers to ensure they are thriving. Being attentive and addressing academic issues will avoid hindering your little one’s progress down the road. It will also make a difference in the way they approach learning. As a result, they will feel confident about their education thanks to your involvement every step of the way.
Explore Extracurricular Activities
We recommend getting your kids involved in a variety of activities throughout their formative years. That way, your kiddos have time to figure out their passions, interests, and skill strengths as you learn how to plan your child's future. Typical activities include dance classes, little league teams, piano lessons, and art - but it’s good to get creative and incorporate anything else that requires your child to tap into new ways of thinking. Through organized group activities, kids also learn how to thrive in social environments outside of the classroom and practice making friends. Regardless of what you decide to enroll in, make sure your tots choose the activity and are consistent. In fact, several studies indicate that students who participate in extracurriculars have better attendance, achieve higher SAT scores and have higher GPAs than students who don’t.
Teach Quality Communication Skills
No matter the profession your child ends up in, they are more likely to excel if they’re gifted at communicating verbally and in written form. To practice developing those skills at home, engage your child from a young age by asking them to share their opinions and feelings openly. For example, ask what their favorite and most minor parts of their day are once they get home from school. Additionally, build quality communication skills (and a positive environment at home) by giving your full attention when they speak - and avoid interrupting or talking down to them. To mold your little ones into strong adult writers, start reading books to them early in their development. You should also encourage them to journal as early as possible. The essay portion of college-entrance exams is often the deciding factor of acceptance because excellent communication skills are critical to adult success. This will not only benefit you as you learn how to plan your child's future, but it also creates more opportunities as they grow older. This brings us to another important point — which is thinking about how much to invest for your child’s future for your college expenses.
Create a College Fund
The best way to invest in child's future or to financially prepare for your little one’s higher-learning years, we recommend creating a fund sooner than later.
As a first step, research how much to save for your kids’ college years (you might be surprised at the price tag for many four-year schools!). You can gift them debt-free college graduation by saving for your child’s future! As you learn how to plan your child’s future financially, don’t forget to factor in non-tuition costs like food, boarding, textbooks, and transportation. If you’re wondering how much to save for kids’ college funds, Her Money recommends shooting for one-third of the cost of the tuition because scholarships and financial aid can cover the remaining amount. Freeing up two-thirds of college costs makes saving for your child’s future more achievable.
Another thing to consider as you think about how much to save for kids’ college funds is to have a monthly savings goal in mind. We recommend that - if possible - most families aim to save 10 percent of their discretionary income.
Many of the people who are close to your child will also likely want to contribute to saving for your child’s future. Whenever a special occasion comes around like a birthday party, graduation, or holiday, ask your relatives to replace a gift with a small donation to your little one’s college fund. That way, saving for your child’s future doesn’t have to be done alone.
Want to learn more about how to plan your child's future? Our ever-growing course catalog covers a variety of topics — including ones such as Preparing Your Child for College. Click here to sign-up for a seven-day trial and access them for free today!