Are you shopping for clothes to rival celebrity offspring and busy enrolling in top-notch kindergarten schools?
The website BabyCenter.com does an annual survey on childcare costs across the United States. In its report, they found that parents spend an average of $13,000 a year for one child, with East Coast families spending the most. A large part of this cost is focused on things that can show how much they are pampering their child, things such as clothing and toys.
You mightwant to buy the very best for your children, but are you overlooking their health?
More than basic needs
BabyCenter notes that parents—moms especially—experience the pressure of spending because of social media. Almost sixty percent of the 1,100 mothers who participated in the survey said that they feel compelled to look good and keep up with their peers, who post on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram about what they’ve bought for their children, the vacations they go to, and the like. Necessities such as food and clothing become designer wear for kids and expensive trips to restaurants as a result of this social pressure.
How about health?
It’s alarming how parents focus on image – and this seems to be the case across the country, not just a state-specific phenomenon. Parents in Georgia, say, are looking at what people think of them and their child on social media rather than a good pediatric dentist in Atlanta. Yet oddly these image-conscious parents would be mortified if their child had a missing tooth, for example.
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin is an advocate for pediatric dental coverage. According to Senator Cardin, 80 percent of dental disease in children is concentrated in 25 percent of the population. That’s a large number, but it’s good to know that dental disease can be prevented only if parents pay more attention to health. Senator Cardin began to lead the effort to provide pediatric dental coverage in 2007, after a 12-year-old boy from Maryland died from complications following an impacted tooth.
Parents need to realize that health is so much more important in the long term and focus as much – if not more – of their efforts on this.
Spend on health insurance
Making sure your kids stay healthy doesn’t have to mean spending hundreds of dollars just to have the best pediatrician in the country. With the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid, even children in low and mid-income families can have health coverage. CHIP is funded by the federal government and each state has different CHIP rules and a distinct name. CHIP provides coverage for children under 19 years of age in working families; qualification is based on the parents’ income. It’s recommended for families with incomes too high for Medicaid who may still have difficulty in affording health insurance. CHIP is offered every day of the year, so there is no reason to wait to make sure your children are covered.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is run by states with a mix of federal and state funding, and offers coverage for families with limited incomes. Thanks to people like Senator Cardin, pediatric dental care became an essential health benefit under Medicaid. You can visit the InsureKidsNow.gov website to learn about your state’s Medicaid and CHIP programs and apply online.
Your child’s health should be paramount. That means treating it as a priority and, yes, spending money on this. Get help if needed – and if you’re eligible – and ensure you give your child the best possible start in life. Then, and only then, can you consider boosting that designer wardrobe.