There are a number of major challenges that a single parent will face throughout their life, and once of the main challenges that will rear its ugly head is how to maintain a balanced household. This is generally easier to do when there is more than one parent around to assist with discipline and chores and so on, but for a single mom or dad some single parent tips for a balanced house are necessary.
The Single Parent
A single parent is anyone that has a child under the age of 18 living with them for whom they are responsible. So a grandparent that has sole care of a child can also be considered a single parent. All of the responsibilities that would normally be handled by two parents will be handled by one, which often results in problems when it comes to maintaining a household that runs smoothly. The challenges are heavier and the stress is more when you have to deal with being a parent on your own.
There are a number of challenges that you will face as a single parent who is trying to run a balanced home. These include:
- Financial challenges, especially if you have no financial support from the missing parent
- Childcare challenges: as a single parent you will almost definitely have to work, and it is very difficult to ensure that your home stays balanced if you are not there during the day. In addition childcare can be expensive to afford.
- You may not be able to spend as much time with your child as you would like.
- Your child may be forced to contribute the household income when they are old enough.
These are major challenges, but most challenges can be overcome and a balanced home that runs smoothly can be achieved.
There are three very basic and non-governmental sources of help that you should consider:
- Get a friend to help you with the kids. Set up a schedule related to when your friend will take care of them for you.
- The same goes for family support structures. Family members may even be willing to move in to help you with the children.
- Look into living with another single parent as you will be able to split costs and responsibilities and your child will have a peer.
The important thing is not to be afraid to ask for help when necessary.
Single Parent Tips For A Balanced House
Maintaining a balanced house is not necessarily going to be easy and you will be required to work at it if you are to achieve success in your aims. There are a number of basic tips that you can consider using, but remember that not all of these tips will work for all single parents. For example the first tip mentions using lists to stay organized. For some people lists are simply not useful because they prefer different methods. Use the ideas listed here as guidelines rather than as rules that are set in stone. Think back to how you kept things organized when you were not a parent and see if you can apply those strategies that worked to your current situation.
To-Do Lists are a great way to keep organized, if it is, as mentioned previously, a method that works for you. A to-do list is a very simple concept. You simply write down the things that need to be done that day, week, or month and then cross them off as you do them. This means that you will not have to remember everything. Make overall lists for longer periods of time and shorter lists for the day. You can use this to remember:
- Meals for the week
- Which loads of laundry need to be done
- Which parts of the house need attention
- Extracurricular activities
- School and work commitments
Shop On A Budget
A major part of keeping your home balanced involves only shopping within your budget. There are two main things to remember here:
- Create a reasonable budget that can be spent on each category of items that you need to buy (e.g. clothes, food).
- Plan well ahead so that you know what you need to get and do not often come up against unexpected expenses.
Keep ahead of sales. Make sure that you have a good working knowledge about what stores in your area are having sales and on what items so that you can get what you need for less. This will mean a bit of extra money left over to spend on other aspects of maintaining a balanced home.
A balanced house required discipline. This is not the most enjoyable single parent tasks, but it is one of the most necessary ones. You have to ensure that you set the relevant boundaries from a very early age. As soon as your child is old enough to understand you need to ensure that he or she has a thorough understanding of the family rules and boundaries and knows what he or she can and cannot do. You do not have to be overly strict, merely firm on certain important issues. Discipline can and should be done in a warm and caring family environment in a way that demonstrates to the child that you feel with them and understand their point of view.
Prepare For Outings
It is important that you consider all aspects of family life when looking into single parent tips for a balanced house. That is what the word ‘balanced’ means: you need to pay appropriate attention to all aspects of family functioning. One of these aspects is outings and fun. When you want to take your kids on an outing be sure to plan ahead. This will make things a lot easier and will also mean that you’ll stand a higher chance of having a successful day. Take everything you need with you and have at least a rough idea in your mind about how you would like the outing day to unfold for you and for your children.
Count Your Blessings
Life as a single parent can get very repetitive and could even be described as mundane. When you feel like this, remember to count your blessings. If life is repetitive it means that:
- Everything is going according to your predefined plan and is therefore well balanced.
- You will have the opportunity to perhaps look at scheduling some “self time” into your schedule to spice it up a little.
One of the keys to keeping a balanced house lies in your ability to keep positive and see the good side of everything. If you are able to do this, half the battle is already won. Remember that you are blessed and that being a single parent can be a rewarding experience above all else.
Communication is of key importance in maintaining a balanced house as a single parent. Your children need to know that despite the fact that you are an extremely busy person, they can always come to you with any problem. Do you best to foster a home environment where people can discuss their thoughts and feelings openly and without fear of judgment and where they can be guaranteed of receiving the guidance and support that they need in order to develop optimally and get through life in an effortless way. Do not keep any major secrets from your child. Discuss your family situation openly and indicate that there is nothing wrong with being a single parent. Ensure that rules and boundaries are openly spoken about as well.
Promote Safety Talk
Part of maintaining a balanced house means a focus on safety. You should engage in conversations with your children that are aimed at getting them to think about what situations and scenarios are safe and what are not. Reinforcing safety in your home is clearly an important necessity and it will be your job as the responsible adult in the relationship to make sure your children have a working knowledge of what they can and cannot do safely. Make sure that you promote a relationship in which your child can come to you if they hear or see something that may or may not be safe, but that they are unsure of. This is related to the afore mentioned tip about communication.
You and your children will find it far easier to create a balanced house if you have a fairly strict schedule that you plan to adhere to at all times. This is something that your children may even resent, but in the long run it will be something that they will thank you for. The benefits are:
- Life becomes somewhat predictable if there is a regular schedule to follow, resulting in chaos.
- Everything that needs to get done will get done, some without any hassle and without anything being left out.
Schedules can be written out in full and kept in a place where everyone can refer to them, such as the refrigerator. Try to plan about a month in advance, although the core schedule should remain more or less the same.
Reward Your Children
A balanced home requires cooperation from your children. This means that you need to discourage any negative behavior that does not add to the balance while at the same time encouraging any positive behavior by rewarding them for the good and kind things that they do. The rewards needn’t be fancy, but be sure to at least give a verbal acknowledgement of the positive behavior that your child has demonstrated in order to reinforce the fact that that is the kind of behavior that you like and that you expect him or her to present as often as they possibly can.
Diligence is required in creating a smooth running and well balanced home. What we mean here is that when you find a method of doing something that works and that promotes the harmony of the home, stick to that method. Make sure that you maintain the structures within the home that keep the home running well. However you also need to be aware that as children age ad change there may be certain structures which are no longer appropriate. As children get older some methods may in fact cause discord in the home rather than promote smooth running. In these instances you need to be prepared to adapt to the situation.
Make Housework A Family Affair
Housework is an important part of keeping your family organized and maintaining a balanced house. This is not something that you can or should avoid. The best way to get the housework done is by involving the whole family. This will:
- Serve the practical task of keeping the house clean.
- Create a sense of family unity as you all work together to get the job done.
- Give your children a strong sense of work ethic that will stand them in good stead later in their lives.
This is perhaps one of the more important and valuable single parent tips for a balanced house as it is something that all single parents will face and the solution is one that is widely applicable.
Of course many of the tips given in this article are easier said than done. It will require a lot of hard work and motivation on the part of the single parent in the situation to create a home that is balanced in all regards. There are numerous challenges that present themselves to single parents who are living without another adult in the home, but there are also a number of things that you can do in order to make the situation far easier for everyone involved. Your children will thank you later in life if you are able to provide them with a balanced home by using some of single parent tips for a balanced house mentioned here.