If you’re a single parent, taking care of the kids can be a daunting task. Having to switch roles as a mother and a father at the same time means that your responsibilities are almost unlimited. The enabling environment you provide for your kids will play a big role in their development. So, here are 11 tips to help you out with the kids as a single parent.
- Seek support when necessary
Single-parenting can bring about feelings of loneliness. Though you may try to stay strong, there are moments when feelings of isolation will weigh you down as a single parent. Instead of trying to do it all by yourself, consider seeking external child support from your neighborhood. Talk to family and other parents in your zone, and let them know about your single-parenting hurdles, and whether they could be of help. You can get your kids to join a book-learning club or supper club where they can interact with other kids to improve their social skills. The bottom line is — don’t try to do it alone when there are other friendly people that are ready to support you raise your child.
- Show them lots of love
Children thrive on love, and as a single parent, your ultimate goal is to ensure that your little ones feel your deep emotional connection with them. When you strengthen the bonds you share with your kids, they will grow up to love you more. Love can be expressed in so many ways. For example, you could schedule some time to play with them or teach them how to read a book
- Talk to them about your divorce or separation
Apart from untimely death, divorce is also a major cause of single-parenting, and it’s important to let your kids understand the chain of events that surround your status as a single parent. If divorce is the cause of your separation, let them know what happened, and don’t be too secretive since you risk losing their trust. Some children may ask you more questions about their other parent after listening to what you have to say. Be honest and break down the necessary details about your divorce. As you inform your kids about your divorce situation, be mature about it by avoiding highly sensitive details and negative stories about the co-parent.
Avoid playing the blame-game, and promise your kids that you are still cool with the other parent. If, on the other hand, you don’t know how to approach them with matters concerning their other parent, talk to marriage counselors, and they will help you face your fears and concerns. A better way to prove to your kids that you are still on good terms with their other parents is to communicate with them. Statistics show that children who fare well in broken homes are those whose divorced parents still keep in touch with each other on co-parenting issues. Put your child’s needs above the differences that separate you and the other parent. The kids will trust you more if you’re open about it, and it will present the opportunity to teach your kids communication.
- Understand how dating impacts your single-parenting duties
Single parents may have their freedom to date new romantic partners, but the results of such extra connections may affect your wards in one way or another. If you are a single parent who wants to date, choose a partner who fully understands your position, and will not disrupt your relationship with your kids. You don’t need to rush and introduce your partner to your kids. Wait for that perfect time when you are convinced that your partner will respect your kids and that your kids will respect them too. When you are finally ready to introduce your dating partner to your kids, explain the good qualities of your partner to make your kids feel safe about your union. Allow for more time for your kids to integrate with your partner. Also, you may want to promise your kids that your new dating partner is not coming in to replace any of them.
- Take care of their health
The health of your kids is also paramount, and it’s your responsibility to see to it that they take good care of their physical and mental health. Don’t leave out any part of their health, and make sure to take them to health centers for regular medical check-ups. For example, if your child sustains a tooth injury after a fall, they may have to go through a root canal therapy to treat the damage. A healthy child will be more confident about themselves, and it will enhance the time you spend together.
- Find a suitable work-life balance
Single parenthood can present you with work schedule problems. So, you will need to find a perfect balance between your office hours and time for your family. Discuss with your employer to schedule an appropriate work timetable that will not deprive you of the time to groom your kids. A good company may offer you a convenient work schedule to suit your needs as a single parent, especially if you have children with special medical conditions such as autism. You may not get management to restructure your office hours unless you ask. So you can, for example, seek permission to report to work earlier than usual, so that you can close early and attend to the needs of your kids. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt workflows, you can also make arrangements to work from home, to stay safe from the coronavirus, and spend quality time with your family.
- Be calm in tough times
As mentioned, being a single parent is no walk in the park, and there will be trying times along the way. While children grow, they begin to develop their own personalities and independent minds. Sometimes, this might be a complete opposite of what you’re used to, and this may present challenges in seeing eye to eye to eye. A hectic schedule as well could take a dangerous toll on the emotional states of even the most resilient single parents. However, you need to hold yourself together in the face of challenging circumstances. Your ability to stay calm and move ahead will make a difference in your kids’ happiness. So, try your best to release
the stress to preserve the relationship you have with your little ones.
- Have a goal
A single parent needs to set single-parenting goals, and it is necessary if you want to move forward. Be clear about the objectives you want to accomplish each day, share them with your kids, and develop routines that will benefit your family in the long term. Whether your objectives include enrolling for a university program or attending a summer school, writing them down, and staying organized will also make it easier to improve your life as a single parent.
- Don’t criticize your co-parent
Divorced parents often want to be the best parents in the world. But you don’t have to paint your ex in a bad light to do that. Criticizing your ex to your kids can rather complicate things since kids will be forced to develop ill-feelings about the other parent. Where there is no unity, peace cannot prevail, and children’s upbringing will also be affected. So, avoid talking about the negative aspects of your co-parent, and instead, cite examples of caring aunts, uncles, and other family members.
- Explore new places and have fun
The absence of one parent should not interfere with the social aspect of being a healthy family. And one way to explore the fun side of life with your kids is to embark on adventure trips. You can, for example, take them to movie theaters, beach resorts, parks, and science centers, among other places. By spending quality time with them and taking them to exciting places, You’re strengthening your bond with them, and they still enjoy their lives fully.
- Let your kids visit your co-parent
Pass through the necessary procedures and make room for your kids to visit their other parent (if they are alive and willing to cooperate with you). Child rights legal experts can assist you with visitation rights for your kids to see their divorced parents. When you give your children the opportunity to reconnect with the other parent, it strengthens the relationship that exists in the family. As you try to work things out for your children to visit your ex-partner, don’t stress yourself over things beyond your control. For example, you don’t have to force the other partner to make time for your kids when they are not interested in doing so. Shoulder it upon yourself to protect your children by making sure you know when they are visiting your ex-partner.
Single parents often have to sacrifice a lot to care for their children. But by following the tips discussed here, you can carry out your responsibilities, your kids will appreciate your efforts, and you’ll be proud of yourself.
This is a contributed post and therefore may not represent the views and opinions of this blog or its author.
Hmm, Unfortunately I’m in the small minority of male single parents because my wife passed away from cancer, so ‘talking to them about separation’ doesn’t apply. My wife also wasn’t wearing much (we lived in the tropics) so there was no hiding from my kids the physical decline as she went through her final months.
Hard to ask for help…I’m also Asperger’s myself, help is most of the time the last thing those with AS will ask for.
I’m so, so sorry for your loss.