All parents feel overwhelmed at times. After all, you have a huge responsibility, especially as a single parent. However with some good parenting strategies in place you can overcome the challenges life throws your way.
Without a partner sharing child-rearing duties, you not only carry all the burden of decision-making and caregiving, you also carry all the weight of what is at stake. You may worry that your choices and methods aren’t up to snuff since you don’t have anyone to help bounce around ideas or balance your choices. Because of these pressures, it’s important that you develop a support network. Open lines of communication with your family members and friends, and enlist their help when you need it. Allowing yourself to become isolated can lead to burnout from stress and fatigue, so it’s vital that you gather your tribe. Some experts suggest reaching out to other single parents for help. You might even be able to participate in a cooperative arrangement; if there isn’t one already started in your area, you can get it rolling yourself.
If your ex isn’t in the picture at all, experts at Parents recommend engaging some members of the opposite gender to be good role models to your kids. This could be family members, such as aunts, uncles, or grandparents, or you might reach out to an athletic instructor, teacher or neighbour. It’s healthy and important for your child to interact with trusted members of both genders.
Make sure you take downtime with your children every day. That means time not tending to their needs or running errands, but quality time spent playing, doing crafts, or even listening to music together. Also, make sure you take time for yourself. Keeping a routine of self-care is important to your well-being, and will allow you to maintain your energy levels for meeting those daily challenges of parenting. Eat healthy foods, exercise, get enough sleep, enjoy your hobbies, and engage with your friends without any children at times, just for you.
Both you and your children will benefit with some rules in place, with set parameters and consequences. The experts at Mayo Clinic advise that clarifying expectations such as being spoken to in a respectful manner, limiting television and internet time, and maintaining discipline, in general, helps children know what to expect. Rules can be changed as your child’s behaviour warrants, so that mature behaviour is rewarded with easing rules and bad behaviour receives more stringent restrictions.
Children need routine in their lives to feel secure. Anything unusual in life is a warning flag to children, from a vegetable they don’t recognize to enrolling in a new school. While change is inevitable, it’s important to provide children with a set daily structure. Some professionals feel that when facing changes if the changes happen within the fabric of an existing routine the adjustment is much easier for children to handle. Children feel safer and more able to take on the adjustment.
Keeping on top of your home will help maintain that routine you’re working so hard at establishing. By getting organized you can keep better control over your busy schedule. According to some experts, you should find places for everything in the house, declutter counters and tabletops, and sort items you use and don’t use. Those items without a place should be discarded or donated.
Even though being single presents special challenges, you can incorporate great parenting strategies. Engage your support network, find good role models, and make sure you and the kids get downtime. Establish rules and routines, and organize your home to help you stay on top of them. With the right methods, you’ll meet the challenges of being a single parent successfully!
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I’m Daniel. I’ve been a single dad to my daughter (9) and son (6) for three years now. I’ll admit I don’t always know what the heck I’m doing, but every day is definitely an adventure and a blessing. And for that, I’m truly grateful. I noticed that there aren’t a lot of resources out there for us single dads so I thought I’d share some of what’s worked for me.
Read more from Daniel on his blog Dad Solo.