7 Tips for Single Parents
According to Pew Research Center, the United States has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. Almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with a single parent. If you are a single parent, you are not alone. Parenting alone can be challenging and lonely at times. However, there are plenty of things you can do to enjoy life, embrace parenthood and raise an amazing child.
- Have a support system. It’s important to have a support system to help whenever you are feeling overwhelmed. Ask someone you can trust to watch your kid or to simply be a listening ear to vent. This can be a close friend or a relative. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join parenting groups or show up to community functions. Remember it takes a village to raise a kid.
- Create a routine. Creating a schedule provides structure and security in your child’s life. It also makes your life easier and less stressful by having a set routine. For example, you can schedule a set time for homework, dinner and bedtime, which will help you to stay organized and keep your child disciplined. It also decreases arguments while increasing compliance when there is a set routine and expectations in place.
- Spend quality time with your child. As much as possible, it’s important to set time to enjoy with your child. This creates a special bond and love between you two. Showing your child praise, attention and affection helps them with development, and it improves their outlook on relationships. Quality time can include playtime, helping with homework, watching tv or even going on a walk. Research shows that 20 minutes of quality time improves the parent-child relationship and your child’s self-esteem. These moments will create memory-making experiences that they will never forget.
- Be honest. Your child may eventually ask questions related to their family dynamic. It is important to be open and honest with your child while still speaking to them at their developmental level. Let them know you are here to talk to them about anything. If they are having a difficult time coping with their family structure, you should seek professional counseling to help them understand their emotions.
- Don’t feel guilty. Do not blame yourself for not being able to provide the same family structure or resources as a two-parent household. Finances and material objects will be forgotten as time passes. However, the love and attention will stay in your child’s memories forever. Be proud of the things that you accomplish daily for your family.
- Practice self-care. It’s important to schedule “me-time” and take time for yourself. Your mental well-being is crucial in raising your child. If you are stressed and unhappy, this can affect your child’s mood and energy. It can be as simple as taking a bubble bath or watching an episode of your favorite tv show before bedtime to unwind. Remember, put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Self-care helps you be responsive during challenging times, as opposed to reactive.
- Stay positive. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs. However, just by being present and active in your child’s life, you’re already doing an amazing job. Reflect on the past few months or years and give yourself the recognition that you deserve. It’s important to stay optimistic because your child can be easily affected by your mood. A positive outlook can be amplified by practicing a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a well-balanced diet, exercising and practicing self-care.
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