It’s difficult to imagine someone else caring for your child, but if something were to happen to you or your partner, you would want to make sure they were in the hands of someone you trust. As hard as it is, choosing a guardian for your child is a decision all parents must make.
While you ultimately know what is best for your child, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when making a big decision. Find a time to sit down with your partner and make a list of potential candidates. Start with immediate family members such as siblings and then work your way out.
Once you have a solid list, consider your religious, moral and political beliefs compared to your potential candidates. Do they have the same parenting styles as you? What is their family life like? Do they have children of their own? This stability in parenting and lifestyle values is going to be important for your child.
Consider the location of your potential candidates. You most likely do not want to uproot your child’s life to move to a different state. Try to find a guardian that lives close to you. Consider the finances of the potential guardian as well. While you may feel tempted to choose your sister or close family friend, you want to make sure the guardian you are naming is financially stable enough to take on another child. Do they have a stable job? Do they have any significant debt? Do they own a home? Be sure the person you choose has the finances available to support another child.
Lastly, you are going to want to take age and health into account. Your parents might seem like the best option, but will they be able to run after and carry around your toddler? Will they be able to wake up with them in the middle of the night and drop them off to school in the morning? Checking the age and health history of each potential guardian is an important step. You want to select someone who will be there for your child until they are 18.
Once you have taken the above into account, it’s time to select your guardian. Find someone who you and your partner agree upon and who has the values, parenting style and finances you feel comfortable with. Once you have decided, you need to ask the guardian for their permission. This is a memorable moment and should be done in person. Make sure to be open and honest about your expectations and the responsibilities that follow guardianship.
Once you have asked your chosen guardian for permission and they have said yes, all you have to do is name that person in your will. This can sometimes be the hardest part for parents as it makes the decision so final.
No one can replace you as a parent, however, it’s important to find someone who mirrors your values and has the finances available to take on another child. For more tips on how to choose a guardian for your child, check out Haven Life’s flowchart below that covers important questions you should be asking yourself in the decision process.