Single parents face situations that can give even the most serene person a splitting headache. Yet the rewards of parenting make the hard work and sacrifices worthwhile, as we all know. This post can help steer you around pitfalls, so you can make the most of your opportunities. Use the ideas below to supercharge your child-rearing skills all while keeping your sanity intact.
Find Your Tribe
You hear the term “tribe” bandied around a lot in today’s media. The term conjures up all sorts of images, but in modern usage, it refers to any group of people united by common values, ideas, and interests. Here’s how reaching out to your tribe of fellow single parents can benefit everyone involved:
- It gives you someone to offer moral and emotional support. It takes a single parent to understand and appreciate the struggles you deal with daily. Such a person can offer both a sympathetic ear and some helpful suggestions, just when you need them the most.
- It helps you to shoulder the load. Are you unable to pick up your kid from band practice tomorrow because of work obligations? Perhaps a trusted friend whose schedule differs from yours can help out.
- You can work together on common concerns. Is your city government cutting back on daycare services? Band together with other single parents and approach the mayor as a group. This can make your common voice heard.
See what we mean? Being a single parent doesn’t mean you’re all alone in the world. Reaching out to others can reveal possibilities you never knew existed.
Structure, Define, and Limit
Raising emotionally healthy kids in today’s world requires giving them structure and boundaries, according to writers for The Spruce. Here are some ways to create a coherent, nurturing environment for your kids:
- Use behavior modification to cultivate positive routines and actions. For example, you might take your children on a trip to the zoo or give them a favorite food, but only if they brush their teeth every night or earn passing marks in school.
- Establish a “no go zone” that defines certain actions as unacceptable no matter what. Using profanity, defying parental authority, or disparaging an ethnic or religious group are all possible candidates for such a list.
- Keep to a daily routine as much as possible, with set meal, study, bed, and play times. Children need structure in order to develop basic living skills, according to sources cited by Daily Mail.
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Organize and Optimize Your Time
Time is limited, especially when you’re a single parent. Here are some ways to make the most of this vital resource:
- Prioritize. For example, you may be a fastidious housekeeper who refuses to tolerate a single dusty corner or unmade bed. But, if keeping your home spotless means missing your kid’s ball game, then you might need to let minor messes stay put for a while. Redfin offers a helpful guide on some easy and effective tips for organizing your home.
- Keep vital information within easy reach. Apps and other high-tech tools are fine, but an old-fashioned filing cabinet can be your best friend in this regard. Keep a file for each of your kids with medical records, report cards, and other essential details on hand.
- Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis from time to time to head off potential problems. While you normally hear about this technique in business circles, it offers enormous potential for mastering all aspects of your life. For example, you can use SWOT to remind yourself that, while your child is doing great in math (“strength”), her grammar skills need work (“weakness/threat”). One potential response is to access the tutoring resources available in your community (“opportunity”).
Single Parents + a Game Plan = Success
Achieving any goal means going in with the right game plan. So use the tips in this post to forge your strategy for single-parenting success. You’ll appreciate the edge these ideas can give you, and for that matter, so will your kids.
Daniel Sherwin is a Single Dad and Blogger at DadSolo.com, a website for single parents. Check him out and drop him a line in the Comments Section!