1. Take care of yourself.
Single parenting is tough work. It can often feel like you have no life. Try to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet and get enough rest. Part of being a good parent means feeling good about yourself, so don’t neglect your own needs.
2. Accept help.
You simply can’t do everything by yourself. Have your family and friends help when they have time to help. Or, trade off baby-sitting time with other single parents. Try not to feel guilty about things you can and can’t do without a partner in your life. Accept that you are doing the best you can. Look for groups in your area.
3. Hold on to family time.
One of the best things you can do for children is to spend time with them. Even if you are busy juggling work, school and home, try to take time out every day for children no matter what. Try to give them a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Sit on the floor and give your undevided attention. Your dishes, your phone calls and errands can wait.
4. Listen to your children’s feelings.
Give them one-on-one time to talk to you. Be honest with them and let them know what’s going on with the family. Provide a loving, supportive home. It is the most important thing you can do to help children grow up well-adjusted and happy.
5. Be happy about having children.
Parenting is a hard but rewarding job. Even if you are single, you can still be excited to have children to bond with, to love and to watch them grow. Teach your children that happiness comes from within yourself and to have a good attitude.
6. Keep structure in your lives.
Children thrive on routine which makes them feel secure. So, have a regular daily routine as well as a regular bedtime. Stick to your rules, and set a good example yourself. Assign chores and let your children help as much as they are able. Don’t give in to your children because you feel bad you are a single parent. Eat regular meals together. Turn off the TV and talk to each other during mealtimes. Your child needs your attention.
7. Discipline your children.
Discipline means to teach, not punish. Discipline is good for kids and makes them feel safe. Be consistent, and set limits. This will ease the stress for both you and your children. Do not give in to tantrums. If you share discipline with other adults or ex-spouses, work together and use the same discipline methods. Find parenting classes or a child hotline phone number in your community. Find out how children develop and what expect at different stages. If your children are in school, get to know their teachers and stay in touch with them.
8. Let your children be kids.
Children need to have a childhood and to develop naturally. Don’t push them into being little adults because you need them to be. Get them involved in community activities. The “Y” might be a great place to start.
9. Be optimistic.
Children are affected by your moods and attitude. If you are sad or lonely, try to believe that things will get better. Don’t take frustration out on them. Don’t “dis” or “pu down” the child’s other parent or family members.
Take a day or week at a time, and deal with immediate issues. Don’t worry about everything all at once. By taking a more optimistic attitude you can better deal with the frustrations you are facing.
10. Manage your money.
Lack of money is often stressful for single parents. Write out a budget and see exactly what you need to live on. Consider renting out a room if you have the space.