No one ever plans to be a single parent. For many families though, it is a reality. Whether it is the result of a death or a divorce, it is difficult for any child to endure. In 2019, nearly 20 million children in the US lived with one parent.
5 Incredible Tips On Surviving As A Single Parent
So how do you keep your kids happy when you’re doing it on your own? Here are some powerful tips to help you lead the way.
1. Establish Routines
While families with both parents under one roof need routines, it is imperative for children of single-parent homes to have schedules, routines, and structure. It’s especially true when there is shared custody of the kids. Having rules in each home that are in sync is strongly advised.
If you’re divorced, for the sake of the kids, (sit down with a mediator if necessary) create positive rules that you can enact in each of your homes to give your kids consistency.
If they can get away with more in one home than the other, they’ll soon discover the art of manipulation and make home life chaotic. That doesn’t mean everything needs to be the same in both homes.
At the same time, try to make these routines a bit more fun. Carry out fun traditions that will create happy memories like having breakfast for dinner on Wednesdays or taking a weekly outing to the park.
2. Fill Your Home With Love And Light
Don’t make the mistake of buying your children’s love because you feel guilty about your divorce or want to cheer them up after the loss of their other parent. Material things are no replacement for love and attention. The simplest things in life are the best gifts, like spending quality time together.
You don’t need to go broke trying to impress and entertain your kids when it’s their turn to be at your home. Instead, make the memories within your means. When they look back as adults, they won’t have those expensive toys and clothes they outgrew in their younger years. They’ll only have what they remember from their time with you, so make it happy, fun, and unique without going overboard.
3. Be Positive And Cooperative
For divorced parents, it’s important to be positive about your former spouse and cooperate for the sake of the kids. Most splits are rarely on good terms. You can dislike your ex all you like, but keep it to yourself and be positive around your kids.
Encourage them to be good for their other parent and work with your ex to be pleasant to each other when the kids see you interacting. It will send them the message that even though you two aren’t in love anymore, that you both still love them very much, and that’s what’s most important.
This also goes a long way when it comes to kids feeling like they’re missing out on having a family that is still together. Sometimes, it really is better for parents to get a divorce. Other times, when someone passes away, it can be very challenging to keep it together. Life isn’t very fair. It’s important to teach this lesson to our kids in a positive light, so they can grow into adults that aren’t full of anger at the unfairness of it all.
4. Recognize A Job Well Done
Single parents shouldn’t ever forget that as you balance everything and try to hold it together, your kids are doing it too. Everything has its reward. Spending hours helping your kids with homework that results in top grades in a tough subject deserves praise. Not just for your child, but for you too.
It isn’t easy to be the only one doing things. However, sharing the joy in the achievements you accomplish together makes everything more worthwhile. This also encourages more positive behavior from your kids.
5. Find Other Families In Similar Situations
It is exhausting to be a single parent. There is little downtime when you’re doing it all yourself. If you share custody, you still have to be on all the time when the kids are with you. And if there’s no one to share custody with, you’re going to run yourself ragged if you don’t find other families like yours to be friends with.
Making friends with other divorced or bereaved parents are great for your kids because they can enjoy the company of friends while the adults get a chance to have a grown-up conversation. It can be hosting play dates at each other’s homes, meeting up at the park, or going on other fun outings together.
Having friends to confide in and share in the madness as you get through this difficult time in your life. Parenting isn’t an easy task for anyone, but when families are broken apart due to circumstances like divorce or death, it can be overwhelming.
Using these tips as a guide will help you rise above the difficulties to stay strong for your kids. Remember, they’re young only once. Give them the best possible outlook on life for their best possible outcome as adults.