Tips for Single Parents
It’s certainly a challenge bringing up children as single parent. Here we share some simple tips to help reduce the stress and increase the fun.
Look after your health
When the kids are finally in bed, you’ve managed to tidy up, and you’re exhausted, it can be tempting to skip meals and neglect your health. But this won’t help your children. Make sure you eat properly and take regular exercise.
Take time for yourself
If you have an ex who looks after the children, use that time for yourself. Avoid the temptation to catch up on cooking or errands. Try to keep a bit of the time for yourself, to have coffee with a friend, shop for your own clothes, or have a weekend away. And allow yourself some me-time, whether it’s indulging in the fresh invigorating of Sunny D or enjoying a long hot bath.
Start early with chores
Even the younger children can help around the house. Allocate a task to each member of the family and make sure that everyone knows when it is time for chores. Little children can put toys away. As they get older, they can help with food preparation. And why not make it a rule that everyone, no matter how young, clears their plate away after they finish eating.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but do ask the right people, and delegate whenever possible. There’s probably no point in asking your 17 year old nephew to babysit. But he can help find a good mobile phone deal for you, or reprogramme the tv.
Be ‘good enough’, not ‘the perfect parent’
Some single parents become very stressed trying to match up to standards set by families with two parents. Accept that you are a ‘good enough’ parent and that inevitably, for a few years, some things have to take lower priority. Concentrate on the important stuff.
Admit when it’s tough going
Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re finding it difficult or you are lonely. It’s hard raising kids on your own, there’s no doubt about that. Do talk to family and friends about what you’re going through. Or if you find it difficult to open up about your feelings, talk to your GP. They may decide to refer you for counselling.
Make plans with friends
When you’re single and responsible for home, work and kids, it can all seem too much sometimes. Make sure you make some plans with your friends for a night out. If you can’t afford a babysitter, choose child-friendly activities that you can all enjoy together – there are lots of ideas from the Sunny D team on the website.
You’re not alone
There are an estimated 1.9 million single parents in the UK. Why not get together with some of them? There are lots of different ways to find support but Gingerbread, a charity for single parents, is a good place to start.