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Most parents need to have a plan of action when it comes to dealing with their lives once children enter them, and single parents often need to be more regimented when it comes to organising their and their children’s days, meals, free time and rest time.
Here are 6 Tips for Single Mothers
- Get enough sleep
As a single parent, sleep can often be the last thing on your mind, especially when you have to clean, cook, pack, do laundry, and generally do everything possible for yourselve and your kids. But sleep is the one thing that you cannot do without, and a sleep-deprived mom is a very unhappy mom, which leads to very unhappy children. So when the kids nap, or you can spare an hour or two a day, lie down and relax. And get to bed early, especially if you have to get up early!
- Stick to a routine
Children thrive on routine, especially toddlers and babies – if too many different things happen too often then they get confused and upset and can become little terrors. Stick to mealtimes, bathtimes and bedtimes, and make sure that your kids know what must happen when – like getting up in the morning, getting ready for and leaving for school, and especially being fetched at the end of the day and brought home. As a single parent, routine can be your best friend.
- Eat meals together
Whenever possible, it is better to eat meals together as a family than to split everyone up. Not only does this mean more family time, but it also means that you and your kids will eat healthier and choose the right foodstuffs. A cookie or piece of fruit here or there cannot take the place of a good cooked (or bought) plate of food eaten with family. Of course, as a single parent it is not always possible to cook a perfectly nutritious meal, but if you at least get to eat whatever food is available with your kids then your life will become that little bit easier.
- Read to your kids
Reading aloud to your children helps them to develop their language skills and forces them to use their imaginations. They pick up the subtle nuanes of language much easier that way, as they respond to your voice as well as the story, and when they are able to they are also more likely to want to read, as opposed to giving up on books altogether. It is also a great bonding experience, and more well-earned family time.
- Limit TV time
The television is arguably one of the best inventions ever, but it is also one of the most anti-social things in any household. Try to limit TV-watching to one or two hours a day, and allow this only after dinner has been eaten and the family has had a chance to bond. Young children don’t need TV: so long as they have active enough imaginations and their own toys, they are quite capable of entertaining themselves. However, as a single parent nobody would ever fault you for letting the TV take over now and then!
- Make time for outdoor play
Whenever possible, kids should be outdoors and not cooped up inside. If the weather is good and time and your schedule permit, let the kids out into the garden if you have one and make sure that lawn care is regularly maintained, or take them to the park. Let them run around, play with balls, chase each other, or even just sit quietly under a tree having a picnic or reading a book.