Parenting is hard. Single parenting is much harder.
When one is a single parent, priorities which are important in a two-parent relationship become even more important.
Try to keep the focus on the following priorities, which will help to ensure that your single-parent household is run in an organized fashion, and your family is strong and united.
- Focus on Children – Successful single parents make the family their highest priority, which can translate to sacrifice. Focus on being the best possible single parent, which can putting the needs of your children before your own.
- Positive and consistent discipline structure – Even if you don’t feel calm and strong, try to assert your discipline in a non-emotional, and assertive manner. Ensure that your discipline is consistent and ensure that your children are away of the consequences of their misbehavior. Threatened consequences have to be acted upon.
- Open communication. Successful single parents foster open communication – Ask your children how their day was. Ask them to identify the best part of their day, or maybe the worst. In any event, focus your energy on ensuring that they feel comfortable talking to you about their feelings and their activities.
- Organization of Home and Finance – Successful single parents manage the family needs well. If you don’t keep a calendar, you better start! Plan your week’s activities, and for every event, plan ahead. As for your home chores, again, planning is key! If cleaning the house in one day is not feasible, organize your week so that the cleaning is spread out in a realistic manner. Children should be assigned their own home chores, which will differ depending upon their age. Make them responsible for a task that is age-appropriate. It will teach them responsibility (and it will make your life a little easier). Follow-up to ensure that these assigned tasks are getting done. Once the tasks are ingrained into a habit, you wont have to worry about the “follow-up”.
- Make Time to care for yourself – the children are a priority. However, there are ways in which a situation can be a “win-win”. For example, substitute a night out with friends at a party for an after-dinner bowling party with friends and their children. You will all have a good time! Sometimes, however, you just need a break. Enjoy it, and allow the time to refresh your spirit.
- Try to maintain stabilizing forces such as bedtimes rituals, religious traditions, or other.
- Try to maintain a positive relationship with the children’s other parent, and, so long as it is feasible, encourage the children and the other parent, to be involved in each other’s lives.
- Even when you are faced with a challenging outlook, try to keep a positive outlook. Your perspective will color the attitude of your children, remember that!
- If you express anger or sadness in the presence of your children in a situation which did not merit those reactions, recognize the shortcoming and explain it. For example, if your children saw you lose your temper badly! in a traffic jam, take a moment and explain to the children the situation. Take a breath, and acknowledge to them that sometimes adults lose their temper, just like children, but that there is a better way to handle the situation, and tell them that you will demonstrate that “better way” next time you are in the same situation. Accept that you lost your temper and… move on.
Enjoy a Single-Parent Family Vacation
If you are feeling burnt out and your finances are in healthy condition, it might be time to take a vacation. If you have children, and their schedules permit, it might be a good idea to take a vacation together.
On the face of it, a “single parent vacation” may not sound particularly inviting. However, you can have a really great time with minimal stress, if you plan your trip properly, taking into consideration the age and disposition of your children.
Below WDS has set out tips to consider, when taking a single parent vacation.
- How difficult (time-consuming, etc.) is the trip to and from the destination site? For example, if you are travelling with an age 4 child, a flight time in excess of 4 or 5 hours might be challenging.
- Form a realistic budget for your spending money on the trip.
- Ensure that you have adequate medical insurance.
- Are there any supportive family members / friends that can join you? If your parents wish to join you on your single parent vacation, perhaps you should be pleased instead of disappointed- a doting grandmother can give you some much-needed down time, during which you can stroll on the sunny beach while your child bounces on grandmother’s lap, in the shade. The trade-off is that your trip will be held at a leisurely pace, but simply envision the vacation as an early-night, restful, and tranquil time, and you’ll be okay “with it all”.
- Research the destination site including the hotel, and general destination site, to make sure it is what you are wanting, and to make sure that all of your needs, safety and otherwise, are met. If you are researching a hotel, you might want to check out traveller reviews.
- Pick the vacation destination with your children, and involve them in the decision-process.
- Prepare for the trip. For example, pack toys that you know will keep your children busy and happy on the airplane as well as nutritious and portable snacks. If your children are small, prepare drink containers which may help their ears adjust to the change in cabin pressure, when the plane takes off. Read up on the peculiarities of your destination so that you know what to expect. For example, query your physician or a traveller’s clinic whether any immunizations are required or recommended.
- Bring your sense of humor and patience. Also, bring a camera and take unusual pictures. You might want to buy a particularly unique photo album from the country that you are visiting, to house your photos.
- Make sure the length of the vacation is reasonable. You don’t want the vacation too shortly, but neither do you want it too long- there is such a thing, particularly if you’re travelling with extended family.
- If you haven’t done so before the actual trip, try to make a plan within the first day or two, as to any tours or shows that you want to attend and make the necessary reservations.
- If you are travelling alone with children, you may want to consult with a travel agent regarding “single-parent vacations”. You may find, for example, that a beach resort or cruise has a week blocked off during the year, especially reserved for single-parent family vacations. This could be a great environment in which both you and your children can mix and mingle in a fun and safe social environment.