When you become a parent, your whole life changes. It’s wonderful and rewarding, but being a parent can also be exhausting, stressful and a bit of a mystery – babies don’t come with instructions!
Thankfully, there’s lots of information and support out there to help you look after your child and enjoy being a parent. Here are just some of the places to turn for information on the essentials such as benefits, childcare, housing, work and education:
On this website you’ll find information on most aspects of being a parent. This information includes advice on all stages of parenthood including: new babies; toddlers and balancing work and home. You can also call the Parentline Plus free helpline on 0808 800 2222.
Find out all the facts on areas such as health, child benefit, council housing, how to arrange childcare and registering a birth.
Don’t forget, you can get non-taxable Child Benefit for all children under 16 years old. You can get it no matter how much you earn, although it may be affected if you’re getting other benefits.
If you want to carry on learning but are concerned about childcare there’s good news. If you are under 19 and in learning or training, Care to Learn can pay for your childcare. See the website to find out all the details and how you can apply.
There’s loads of information, advice and tips on the BBC parenting website, and you can find out what radio or TV programmes are coming up that could be useful too.
This site is especially designed to tell parents about their child’s education and how parents can help. It starts right from new babies all the way through to 16+, so you have the right advice whatever age your child is.
Contact a Family (CaF) is a UK charity which helps families who care for children with any disability or special need. They are a main source of information about rare disorders and are able to assist affected adults as well as children. The CaF Directory Online contains details of many medical conditions and also patient support groups.
Who can help?
Children are very expensive – make sure you’re getting the benefits you’re entitled to by looking on www.youthinformation.com for Child Benefit.
Care to Learn is a scheme within the Learning and Skills Council that specialises in helping teenage parents with the cost of childcare, so they can continue in, or returning to, learning or training. Visit their site at www.dfes.gov.uk/caretolearn/. Alternatively, they have a helpline on 08000 96 02 96.
If your child has a disability or special need, find out more at Contact a Family.
Find out about children’s education and learning together at www.parentscentre.gov.uk.
Speak to older family members such as parents or carers, grandparents, aunts and uncles and even older brothers and sisters. They may all have had children in the past and they have the experience to offer you advice.