If you’ve recently become a single parent, you might be having a few issues when it comes to staying on top of everything. While it can be hard in the beginning, it will get a bit easier over time so keep on reading for some tips when raising a kid on your own.
Create a budget for your family
If you are the only one providing for the family, money is probably going to be tight. At least in the beginning, before you start keeping a budget and updating it regularly, that is. With that in mind, you should make a list of how much money you have coming in and how much you usually spend during the month. Whether you prefer pen and paper or Google Sheets, this is a great way to see where you can cut back. For instance, maybe you can downsize your mobile plan.
Use autopay to deal with bills
You will have a thousand things on your mind at any given moment so using autopay is a great way to never forget to pay your bills. If you’re sure that you will always have money in your account when the time for paying the bills arrives, you can avoid late fees and get some precious time you can spend with your little ones.
See whether there are government programs available
Something that many parents are not aware of is various tax breaks and government programs they can take advantage of. For instance, look into whether you are entitled to the Child Tax Credit or the Child Care Tax Credit. Then, there are government-funded programs and grants that are available for single parents. Do some research to see what is available in your area.
Know when to say no
It’s normal that you want to get your kids everything they desire but sometimes that will simply not be possible. Instead of getting their hopes up and working non-stop to be able to grant their wishes, you need to learn to say no. That way, you can teach them about priorities and help them develop a good mindset toward money early on. If you give them an allowance, they can start saving up and get it on their own.
Develop a daily routine
In order to stay on top of everything, it would be really helpful if you developed a daily routine. Not only will it be good for you but it will help your kids too. So, create a morning routine that will ensure everything from getting dressed to brushing teeth is done on time. Your kids should also know when to do their homework, when to expect dinner, and when they need to be in bed. You can even schedule TV watching and family activities. If you’re having trouble keeping track of everything, you can rely on useful apps like Google Calendar and Wunderlist.
Rely on your support system
You need to learn early on that there is probably no need to take on everything by yourself. You surely have people who care about you and your family and are willing to help in any way possible. For example, you can rely on your family members and close friends when it comes to picking your kids up from school, driving them to practice, or taking them out for ice cream. Of course, remember to establish boundaries and see how much they are able to help as you don’t want to overwhelm them.
Connect with other (single) parents
Other than your relatives, you should also do your best to make friends with other single parents. If your kid goes to the same school as their kids, you can probably organize carpools, pickups, and sleepovers that will make your day much easier. If you ever need an evening off, they might be able to step in and take care of your little one. They understand the situation you are in and will surely be willing to cover for you. Just make sure you do the same for them.
Find quality child care services
If your kid is still too young to go to school, it will be vital to look for a trustworthy caregiver or centre that will take care of them while you are at work. While you can have a person take care of your little one at home, it might be better to enrol them in a daycare centre as then they will have other children to interact with. Furthermore, a quality child care centre will also teach them various skills that will encourage them to grow, create, and discover everything that the world has to offer.
Give your kids chores
Even if you think your kids are too young for chores, there are things that even two-year-olds can do. For example, tell them to put away their toys or help you feed the family pet. Once they are a bit older, they can set the table, water the plants, make their bed, put away the groceries, and pack their schoolbag. Later on, ask them to help with the cleaning, putting away the laundry, and preparing meals. This will not only make it easier for you to keep your household tidy but it will also help them develop some essential life skills.
Plan family time
No matter how busy you are, it’s crucial that you schedule in some family time. Your kids want to spend time with you, even if you’re going out together to get groceries. Watch a movie together, play board games, or go out for a walk. Talk about your day and don’t worry about always showering them with presents. Quality time and being there for your kids is much more important.
Set some time aside for yourself
Finally, you need some alone time. Burnout is a real thing and if you don’t take care of yourself, that is exactly where you are heading. Besides eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of physical activity, you also need enough sleep. So, ask your support system to step in so that you can have a day off, catch up on sleep, take a relaxing bath, and read a good book.
From creating a budget to developing a support system all the way to taking care of yourself, these are the most important things to keep in mind when raising children as a single parent