This article on family communication is by the Kinnect Team — Kinnect makes it easier for families to share information. Make sure those who rely on you have everything they need. Find out more about Kinnect »
We all want our children to be successful. Our advice to both new parents and old is to remember that success is often about avoiding simple mistakes, rather than doing anything extraordinary. That’s why one of the most responsible parenting decisions you can make is to be organized.
You don’t want to be scrambling to find your kids’ birth certificates as they approach their sixteenth birthday to get their driver’s license, nor do you want to miss important college financial aid deadlines because of missing information like a social security card. These are big moments in your son or daughter’s life. If you sweat the small stuff like organizing now, you can have peace of mind and focus on spending quality time later.
Having a single, digital location where important documents can always be accessed (like Kinnect’s Vault) can help you avoid scrambling and instead cherish these moments with your kids. We recommend spending a small amount of time to locate all of your important documents. Here are some tips on where to get started.
The best place to start is with basic identifying information. Your child’s birth certificate and social security card will be with them for the rest of their lives. Knowing where these documents reside is of the utmost importance. Some other information you might want to think about storing here are your child’s passport (if you plan on traveling with your child) and records of their employment history (if they are old enough).
From a health perspective, your child’s vaccination records and health insurance information are two of the most important documents. You’ll need to get your child vaccinated for them to attend school, and your health insurance will likely pay for those vaccinations. Knowing where these documents are at all times can save you the headache of calling your pediatrician or insurance company to get a copy later.
Other documents might include records of your child’s allergies, dietary restrictions, or chronic illnesses, if applicable. Having a record of where your child’s EpiPen is stored (or any other medications they might need, for that matter) might be the difference between life and death for your child.
Finally, if your child uses a medical device (e.g. a diabetic insulin pump), having a record of when you got it and when it might need to be replaced can give you peace of mind instead of worrying whether you got the device in 2017, or 2018.
Children with assets? It may sound ridiculous at first, but what about those treasury bonds their grandfather gave them at birth? Or if they’re old enough to have a bank account, what about that? If you’re fortunate enough to have the means to set up a trust fund for your child, you should store this information as well.
It may not be much, but when that college tuition bill comes, every dollar counts. Organizing that information now can make it easier to teach your kids about personal finance, and give them a leg up when it comes to heading off on their own.
Life is unpredictable. You never know what might happen, so you never know what you might need. If there’s any possibility you might need something in the future, it’s probably a good idea to store it somewhere securely.
It’s very unlikely your kids will need the same documents stored that you do, like a last will and testament, an ethical will, or life insurance information. For them, it might mean any credentials to any accounts they have (Xbox Live and Playstation Network come to mind), or for any devices like a tablet, music player, or phone if they’re old enough.
There’s plenty of other things that you might want to put in here. Trust your gut. If you think it needs to be saved, then save it. Your child will thank you later.
However you choose to create your will, be sure to secure and share it.
It’s really simple to set up Kinnect, it’s free for life for those who get Early Access, and it will change the way you communicate with your family for the better. Get Early Access now.