Even in the best of situations, raising a child these days is tough. There are more demands on your time and finances than ever before. Adding childcare to the mix can tax even the strongest soul. And when you are a single parent, those challenges can seem insurmountable.
Thankfully, there are tips out there to help you raise your kids well while avoiding burnout. To start, it helps to be aware of the kinds of challenges you can face as a single parent. Sometimes, just knowing what to expect helps you prepare.
Challenges of Being a Single Parent
Being a single parent is rewarding, but there are some unique challenges you will face. The Child Development Institute has a list of typical challenges for single parents. For instance, there is still a social stigma to being a single parent, and you can sense people trying not to sound judgmental. Also no matter how much you earn, it can be a struggle to find childcare and take care of your children’s needs. All of this can make you feel like a bad parent—even when you’re actually succeeding.
As Explorable details, you also have to be careful about your children playing you against your ex. This is the dreaded, “But Mom/Dad said I could!” routine that makes you feel like you’re the unreasonable parent. Even if you have a solid relationship with the other parent, communication isn’t always possible, including when your children have a meltdown over something they claim the other parent allowed.
Creating Routines That Help
One way you can help is through setting up routines. As The Art of Simple explains, this isn’t the same thing as a tight schedule. Rather, it’s a set of tasks that help you and your kids start the day right and end it as well. One possible evening routine is dinner, play time, taking a bath or shower, brushing teeth, and then reading a book before going to sleep.
You don’t have to obey a clock. Instead, just do the same things in the same order. This helps create predictability while making sure the right things get done. This also takes some work off your shoulders, as you won’t have to remind your kids what to do each morning and night.
Your routines should be developed with your children’s input. This helps them feel respected while ensuring they buy in. Of course, you have to stop anything silly or counterproductive from entering a routine. These should also be age-appropriate. Reading to your kids is a great bonding experience but not if they’re in middle school.
Keeping Organized Is Key
To help your routines get established—and to make sure you get done what you need to each day—it helps to have a plan to get organized at home. Having some cubbies and drawers for toys and other items can help your kids remember where things are so they don’t have to keep asking you every time.
The same is true for your kids’ rooms. Help them create a system of organizing and tie it into your routines. If your kids know they should put their dirty clothes in the hamper every night before brushing their teeth, it’s much more likely to happen.
You Can Do This
Being a single parent will not be a walk in the park, but then again, no parenting experience is easy. To help you stay sane and raise your kids well, create some routines that focus on needed tasks. Then organize your home so your kids can find what they need. While being a single parent can be difficult, these tips should help you and your children along.