If you and your significant other are thinking about expanding your family, it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page. Here are some questions to ask each other before planning the next big step:

Do you want kids? This may sound like an obvious question, but it’s an important place to start. Many couples don’t cover this question at all in the early stages of their relationship, and opinions change over time. Get your partner’s thoughts on whether they want to have children and why. Give each other space to voice your opinions and desires without judgment.

How many kids do you want? If you’ve both established that you do want kids, it’s time to start talking about how many. Do you imagine yourselves as a single-child family, or are you thinking of having two or three? Talk about what you envision for yourselves and why.

What is your parenting style? Parents have different approaches when it comes to raising their children. Take some time to discuss your parenting philosophies. Figure out where they converge and where they differ. Discussing topics like discipline, education, and values can help you understand each other and get on the same page.

Where should we live? Your housing situation can have a huge impact on your family life. Do you want to stay in the city and raise your kids in an apartment? Is it time to move to the suburbs? Do you want to be close to family? Near good schools? These are key questions to answer before having children, as it affects the lifestyle you’ll have once your family grows.

How can we better communicate? Communication is important to any relationship, but it’s especially important when kids are involved. If you and your partner are having trouble communicating, it won’t get easier once an infant is in the mix. This is why it’s important to discuss how well you communicate. If you’re looking to actively improve your communication before expanding your family, scheduling a few sessions with a couples’ or family therapist might be a good move. They can help couples improve communication and prepare for a big life transition.

What if we disagree about a parenting decision? Having different opinions is normal—you and your partner are not the same person. But it’s important to discuss what strategies you’ll use to handle any potential disagreements.

What is our timeline? When do you want to have kids? In a year? In five years? Having a general idea of when you plan on starting your family can help both of you set goals and prepare emotionally and financially. Think about factors such as financial stability, work schedules, and lifestyle before deciding on a timeline.

What will we do for childcare? Depending on your situation, you may need to consider childcare options. Will you ask a relative to care for the child? Is daycare or hiring a nanny an option? Discuss what you’re comfortable with and what might be in your budget.

Are our finances ready? Money can be a big issue when planning a family. Ask each other when you’ll feel financially ready to welcome a child. Discuss what this will look like and what goals you’ll set. This is also a good time to talk about financial security, such as getting life insurance in case something happens to one of you. Perhaps you want to consider getting a whole life insurance policy, which has additional benefits that you can use throughout your lifetime.

The bottom line

Every couple is different—what works for one relationship won’t necessarily work for another. But when it comes to having kids, open, honest communication is key. These questions are a great way to start the conversation about growing your family, but couples will know best what additional topics to cover. Remember, this isn’t a “one and done” discussion; opinions change and new issues arise. Expanding your family should be a joyful experience, so take the time to make sure you’ve covered all the bases and enjoy the journey together!

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