Mark McDonald is the SNP MSP for Aberdeen Donside.
He has joined up with Parenting across Scotland to offer five parenting tips to help increase access to trusted parenting advice and support.
Always remember to bring wipes everywhere. You never know when you will need to clean a face, a bum, a table, your own clothes, a stranger’s clothes, a museum exhibit...
Join the local library, they have more books than you will ever own, and as your child gets older they will love to spend time picking out new stories to read.
Younger children don’t really mind if something is new or not (and many toys will last less time than their packaging in the hands of an over-zealous baby or toddler) so look out for opportunities to swap toys and clothes with other parents, there are often social media pages set up for such opportunities locally.
Many local churches run baby & toddler mornings, these are a great opportunity to meet other parents and also to let your child meet other children and help them develop their social skills.
You won’t always know what to do in every situation, but that doesn’t mean you should doubt your instincts, there will always be someone who you can turn to for advice and support, you should never feel that you are going through something alone. Finding support networks can sometimes take time, but they do exist, I know this because I have been through situations where I needed them.