Panic-Free Planning


Get Up and Go
When you are pregnant, the thought of exercising can feel about as enticing as a root canal. But just 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, not only can help keep your finger off the panic button but can also boost your level of energy. Walking, gentle stretching and swimming help lower blood pressure, improve circulation, alleviate the blues and build stamina for D-day (delivery day). When exercising outside with a new baby, buy a durable stroller designed especially for newborns and infants. And make sure to:

  • It is important to talk to your doctor about any exercise program, especially when you are pregnant. You should discuss which exercises to do and which to avoid, warning signs which indicate you should stop exercising, and any other questions you have.
  • Splurge on a pair of supportive sneakers and breathable, cotton clothing.
  • Do drink lots of water. Don't talk on a cell phone or wear headphones while exercising outside.

Keep Calm
Babies cry. That's what they do. Ever hear the expression, "Don't cry like a baby?" Well, I try not to end up freaking out and crying like one when things go awry-and in life things always happen. Again, don't panic-just keep these preventative measures in mind:

  • Take your baby with you when you go outside to check the mail or take out the trash. The door could close behind you and, well, panic would ensue. The same thinking applies if you're playing outside with your child and have to run into the house for something. Where you go, your child goes!
  • Harness your baby in a car seat and bring her into the bathroom when you need to shower for work. Place her on the floor in a safe area where she's not able to grab hold of anything she shouldn't. Make sure you can see her at all times. And don't panic if she's been crying and you need to get into that shower-after you have checked to see that her needs have been met, of course-the sound of the water may help soothe her (while its steamy cascade will do the same for you).

Tackle College Today
Before you know it, your adorable little toddler will be a college-bound teenager. Start early to save for your child's future and you'll prevent the panic that will set in later if you don't. You should talk to your accountant or other financial advisor to see what financial strategy makes the most sense for your family. Here are three great ideas he or she might suggest:

  • State 529 Prepaid Tuition Programs. These programs allow you to lock into the tuition price being charged at the state's public universities in the year when you're enrolled in the program.
  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. Formerly known as Education IRAs, these accounts let families put away $2,000 per child, per year and use the money-tax-free-to pay for any type of education: elementary, secondary or college. This plan is not appropriate for high-income families due to its earnings caps.
  • Roth IRA. You may withdraw your contributions to a Roth IRA to pay for college expenses without having to pay either income tax or the ten percent early withdrawal penalty.

A Happier, Healthier You!
Hopefully a bit of exercise and squirreling away a bit of money for your child's future will help you stay relaxed. Remember, parenting is one of the most stressful (and joyous) jobs in the world. The trick is to keep things in perspective, take time to care for yourself and, whenever you can, don't panic!

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