Raising kids can be stressful. Raising kids alone can be STRESSFUL. Here are some tips to reduce your single parent stress.
1. Get Your Finances Under Control
Raising a family on a reduced income can be one of the the most stressful aspects of being a single parent. That’s why one of the first things that you should do is understand your expenses, and make a budget. Controlling your cash flow by sticking to a budget is one of the most important things that you can do to reduce stress and move forward with your single parent life.
2. Set Up a Support System
All single parents need help — whether it’s someone to watch the kids while you run out to do errands or simply someone to talk to when you feel overwhelmed. While it’s tempting to try to handle everything alone, ask friends and family members for help. You could join a single-parent support group, or, if finances allow, hire a trusted sitter to help out with the kids or someone to assist with housework.
3. Set UP and Keep Daily and Weekly Routines
The more routines you have in place, the more smoothly your house will run. Schedule meals and chores on a weekly calendar. Have a set bedtime for the kids, along with a bedtime routine (bath, brush teeth, lay out clothes, quiet reading time before bed). Once in place, these routines will be comforting to your children because they will know what to expect each day. Consistent routines will help your kids feel more secure, and your household will run much more smoothly.
4. Maintain Healthy Boundaries with Your Children
When you become a single parent there tends to be a big void where your partner used to be. Many times it’s tempting to rely too heavily on children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But relying on your children to act as substitutes for an adult partner is unhealthy for both of you. Instead of relying on your children for emotional support seek out other adults for your emotional needs. If you don’t have family or friends to rely on, many churches have single parent support groups to help. Different churches offer different kinds of support, but you might be surprised at how supportive they can be. Or seek counseling if necessary.
5. Carve Out Quality Time with Your Children
As a single parent there is always going to be something you need to do around the house; but don’t let that stop you from connecting with your children in a meaningful way every day. Use your routines to connect – a quick bedtime story; or family breakfast catch up with your children will keep you connected daily. Then find larger chunks of time, perhaps on the weekends to do fun things together – bike rids, crafts or baking can provide the fun bonding time you need with your children. And it doesn’t have to cost anything. As long as you focus on love and connection, your time as a family will surely be quality time.
6. Take Time for Yourself
I know it sometimes seems impossible to carve out any time for yourself, but it is so important. With your budget, routines, and rituals in place it will be much easier to accomplish. Remember, if you’re not at your best, nothing in you single parent household is going to be running at its best. Even if it’s something as simple as a warm bath, or 15 minutes of reading before you go to bed. Setting aside personal time for you to refuel will do wonders for your whole family.
7. Stay positive
As a single parent it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all your responsibilities every day. On top of that, you may not have wanted the divorce. Or maybe you are grieving the death of a spouse. It is true; you do have to go through the grieving process. And you do have to deal with your feelings regarding a divorce; but you can still cultivate a positive environment in your home. The key is to move through and process the painful event that has happened in your family. Don’t get stuck in the pain. Don’t let negativity and sadness become what you and your family is now about. If you’re feeling sad, it’s okay to share some of your sentiments with your children, but always try to help them see that for every ending there is a new beginning.
8. Dream About and Plan for the Future
This really needs no explanation. The way to make a great future is to dream about and plan for a great future. Do this, and teach your children how to do this, and things will turn out just fine.