Raising children is hard when there are two of you doing it. When you are a single parent, whether you have the kids full-time or you are sharing time with your ex, it can be even tougher. Below, you will find some helpful single parenting tips that can help to make life easier for you and better for the kids.
Make Time for Them When You Have Them
Yes, your life is busy, and it can sometimes feel like you don’t have enough time to get everything done that you need to do. However, you always need to do your best to make sure you are prioritizing the kids when you have them with you. The time you have is precious, so if you aren’t working, find a way to engage with the children.
It might be helping them with homework, talking with them about their day, fixing a meal with them, etc. Spending time with them is the important part. It doesn’t always matter exactly what it is you are doing.
Consistent Rules Are Needed
You might want to be the “fun” parent, but that can’t mean you don’t have any rules. You need to have some sort of rules that you are consistent with across the board. This might be for bedtimes, brushing their teeth, taking care of their homework before YouTube, etc.
If you don’t have any rules, you will end up getting chaos in return. It’s going to be harder to wrangle the kids in when you aren’t consistently implementing the rules.
Start Making Lists
Lists are your friend as a single parent, or as anyone for that matter. You can create a host of different types of lists to make your life easier. Post them to your fridge, put them on your computer or phone… just keep them somewhere handy.
This can be a list of appointments and meetings, lists for groceries, lists for pickup and drop-off times, etc. If there is a chance you will forget something, put it on a list.
Take Better Care of Your Budget
Kids aren’t cheap, and you need to make sure you are properly budgeting for them. It’s going to be different now that you are single, and you don’t have another entire income to help take care of the kids. You might just be getting child support for them. On the other hand, you might be the one paying child support, which means when the kids are with you, it’s all coming out of your pocket.
You need to make sure you are budgeting for the kids when they will be with you. It’s also good to have an emergency fund just in case it is needed.
Learn How to Say No to the Kids
Kids are wonderful, but they sometimes have requests that you just can’t meet. It might be a financial problem. They might want to have a new phone, but you might not be able to afford one right now. It might also be a matter of safety. They might want to do something dangerous, and you need to put your foot down. Maybe they just want to have dessert before dinner, and you have to say no.
The important thing is that you learn how to say no—and mean it—to your kids. If you give in on the little things now, it will become a lot more difficult for you later with the big things.
Kids Can Do Chores
You already have a lot to do at work and around the house. Your kids, depending on their age, are perfectly qualified to do certain chores that will make everyone’s lives easier. It will also give the kids a sense of responsibility. Of course, the chores need to be age-appropriate.
Cleaning their room, helping with the dishes, dusting, and vacuuming are all relatively easy to do, and they can help to save some time for you, so you can handle all of the other jobs of running the house.
Just don’t make the chores the only activities you have for the kids. Some parents go overboard, and that usually ends up as a bad idea.
Rely on Family Members
As a single parent, it can be hard to do it all on your own. You have a lot going on, and sometimes, you need some help. If you have the luxury of living near family, and they are willing to help, don’t be afraid to take that help. They can help out around the house, help with cooking, etc., to help make life a little easier for you.
Create a Routine
You will find that setting up a routine will be good for you and the children alike. Having a schedule that you can stick to will make life easier. You will get into a rhythm of knowing what you need to do and when you need to do it. That’s not to say that you can’t step outside of the routine occasionally, of course.
Don’t Badmouth the Other Parent
You might dislike their mom or dad, but they shouldn’t feel that energy coming off of you. Regardless of your relationship with your ex, don’t badmouth them in front of the kids. Not only could it get back to your ex, but it will set up a weird family dynamic where the kids aren’t entirely sure what to think.
Take Care of Yourself
Although you need to make sure the kids are taken care of, you can’t forget about yourself. Make sure you are getting enough rest, eating right, and getting exercise. If you aren’t careful, you can start to deteriorate physically and mentally. One of the biggest single parenting tips you can take away is to always make some time for self-care.
Although there are tons of handbooks out there for raising children, none of them will be 100% right. You have to learn how to navigate the path on your own and do the best you can. Single parenting tips like those above can help to make it a bit easier for you.