As a single parent, you will face many trials and triumphs over the years as your child grows into an adult. It can be difficult raising a child on your own, but it's definitely possible. Raising a happy and healthy child starts by finding a good balance between work and home life, and knowing when to ask for assistance if you need it. If being financially successful is important to you, you can make a budget to control your spending.
Method 1 of 4:Balancing Your PrioritiesDownload Article
1Work with your employer to find a schedule that works for you. Talk to your employer about organizing your schedule so that you have enough hours to make a suitable amount of money, but also have time to be with your kid. Aim to work the same hours most days to make sure your child knows when you will be home and when you'll be at work.
If you work irregular hours, try to negotiate with your employer to ensure that you're home either in the mornings or evenings. That way, you'll be able to help your child get ready for their day or prepare for bedtime.
If your employer isn't understanding of your situation, talk to your coworkers about swapping shifts whenever possible to fit your schedule.
2Set aside one-on-one time with your child whenever you can. When you're home, set aside time to bond with your kid by reading with them, eating a meal together, playing games, or helping with homework. Talk to them about school and how they're doing, and remind them that you love them. Remember to praise them for working hard at school and show support for their interests.Trustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
This will also help you to confirm that they're doing well with their new situation. If you suspect that they aren't doing well in school or they're losing interesting in their hobbies, you can use this time to talk to them about what's going on.
For example, you can aim to spend 30 minutes a day doing an activity with your child that they enjoy, like playing a board game or kicking a soccer ball.
Remind them frequently in your time together that you're there to talk to them and that you love them unconditionally.
3Establish a routine to create stability for your child. Go over the daily schedule with your kid, and let them know what you're doing, what they're doing, and who they will be with. Remind them when they should be at school, what time they'll be picked up from practices, and what time you think you'll be home with them.Trustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
This can also help to ease a child who's nervous about being away from you for long periods of time.
If you have a hectic schedule, make it a goal to establish a routine during the week. For example, you might go to breakfast with your child every Sunday morning, or read with them every night before bed.
4Schedule time for yourself every week. Having time for yourself is just as important as having time for your child. Pick a time each week to spend doing an activity that you like, such as reading, watching a TV show, cooking, or even just taking a long shower. Sometimes, enjoying something small can help your mood throughout the week.
If you want to, you can even include your child in your “me time.” For example, if you like to read, you can have reading time while your child plays nearby with their toys, or reads silently with you if they're old enough.
Method 2 of 4:Getting HelpDownload Article
1Request and accept help when you need it. One of the most difficult things about being a single parent is recognizing when you need help. If a family member has offered to babysit whenever you need time to yourself, or a friend has asked to set up a playdate, don't be afraid to take them up on it. Remind yourself that it's okay to lean on other people when things are hard.
Remember not to take advantage of other people's kindness. Don't be afraid to ask them for help, but don't expect them to always be available.
2Ask your child to help with household chores if they're old enough. Once your child is old enough to walk, talk, and follow directions, they can help with simple chores. Assign them tasks like walking the dog, cleaning up toys, emptying the dishwasher, or folding laundry. Be clear with your child that every member of your family has to help out because that's what families do.
For younger children, you may want to create a chore chart so that you can keep track of what they're doing.
Remind your kid that if they don't do their chores and help out, there will be consequences.
3Pick a childcare method that works best for you and your child. As a single parent, you may not be able to be with your child all the time. Decide whether you'd like to send your child to daycare or hire a babysitter for times when you can't be at home. Consider the cost of these options, and ask family members to step in whenever possible to save money.
Daycare has the added bonus of allowing your children to socialize and having a set structure. However, it can be extremely expensive depending on your location and the amount of time your child will be there.
If you're planning to go with babysitting, it can be helpful to have 1 babysitter and 1-2 backup sitters in case your usual sitter is busy or sick.
4Find positive role models for your child. If your child's other parent isn't involved in their life, they might feel lost without the extra guidance. Be on the lookout for trustworthy individuals who can be an example of a good person for them. Point out some of the good qualities that they exhibit, and talk with your kid about what makes someone a good person.
For example, if you're recently divorced, you might ask a brother, sister, or one of your parents for help. When they're around, talk to your kid about what makes them an awesome man or woman.
If you don't have a lot of family, you can use TV shows and books to talk with your kid about what it means to be a good person and a good parent. For example, if your kid likes Harry Potter, you can talk to them about how Dumbledore was a father figure to Harry.
Method 3 of 4:Being Financially SuccessfulDownload Article
1Use an app or spreadsheet to find out how much money you're spending. First, keep track of your spending for an entire month, and make note of where your money is going. Add up how much you're spending for housing, transportation, groceries, bills, utilities, childcare, and any other expenses. Break them into categories to see where you're spending the most money.
There are many apps to keep track of how much money you spend, including Mint, LearnVest, and LevelMoney.
It might also be helpful to compare what you're spending to what you're making currently. This will help you see if you're spending more than you're making, and will show you where the bulk of your money is going.
2Consider ways that you could make more money or spend less money. Look at where your money is going and identify what things aren't essential for you and your child. Come up with cheaper alternatives for some things, and consider taking on a part-time job or selling items that you don't use if you aren't making enough money to support your spending on essential items.
For example, if you find that you spend $70 per week eating out at restaurants, you might want to lower that amount to $30, or cut it out completely. Otherwise, you will have to pull money from somewhere else in your budget.
If you find that you still have less money than you need, consider talking to your boss about getting a raise or moving into a higher-paying position. You may have more responsibilities, but it will give you more space in your budget.
3Adhere to a budget that includes all of your monthly expenses. Create an ideal budget with all of the necessary categories, and set a limit for your spending that is lower than what you're already spending. Try to stick to the budget as closely as possible, and leave a little bit of space for unexpected costs, like car repairs, house maintenance, or replacing worn-out clothes.
If possible, start saving money to build an “emergency fund” to cover 3 months of expenses in case you aren't able to work or lose your job. This will ensure that you have time to get back on your feet without having to worry about money during those months.
4Keep a calendar that includes due dates for bills. If you find yourself frequently forgetting to pay your bills due to a hectic schedule, get a cheap calendar and circle the due dates for each month in red. Write the name of the expense on the day, and check the calendar every day before you go to work.
Some people like to set up automatic bill pay from their bank account. Check with your bank to see if you can do this for your bills, and make sure you always have enough money in the designated account to cover the money that is scheduled to come out.
5Involve your child in the budgeting process if they're old enough to understand. Talk to your child about how you manage your finances and what it means to be financially responsible. Include them in the process by talking about how much money you plan to spend on groceries, and give them a small allowance when they're responsible enough to handle it.
Grocery shopping is a great way to introduce younger children to the idea of budgeting. If you take them with you, talk to them throughout the store about the prices of items, and why you choose one item over the other.
Keep in mind that talking too much about financial problems can cause your kid to feel stressed out. If you're in a bad financial position, tell your child that you might have to spend less money on fun things for a little bit.
Method 4 of 4:Handling Emotional ObstaclesDownload Article
1Stay positive even when things get hard. It's easy to feel guilty or worried about your success and your child. However, it's best to redirect your thinking to things that you can control. When you become overwhelmed, take a step back and remind yourself that you're doing the best that you can. If you're worried about something in particular, try to find a solution for that problem first.
For example, if you're worried that your kid is doing poorly in school, you can schedule a conference or phone call with their teacher to talk about ways that you can help them at home.
On days where you feel in over your head, don't be afraid to ask for help from friends and family.
2Establish rules, rewards, and consequences, and discuss them with your child. Talk with your child about how you expect them to act, and outline what will happen if they break the rules. Then, ask them if there's anything they'd like to change or adjust. You can also ask them if there's anything that they would like you to do for them in return for their good behavior.Trustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
For example, you can talk to your child about setting up a reward system for good grades. You can say something like, “If you get all As and Bs this semester, I'll let you get a cell phone. If you get a C or lower in any class after that, I'll take the phone away until you get your grades back up.”
This will help to create an environment that's respectful and healthy for both of you. You should be able to trust that your child will follow the rules as long as you're meeting your end of the deal, too.
3Avoid talking badly about your ex-partner if you're separated. Try to stay positive about your co-parent if you're not together anymore. Give your child time to form their own opinions of their other parent, and be a role model to how to handle breakups respectfully. Telling your child that one of their parents is “bad” can cause them to feel confused and insecure.
Even if you're angry with the other parent, avoid talking to your child about them. Instead, look to a close friend, a trusted family member, or even a therapist who you can confide in.
For example, if you're not speaking to your child's father, you can say something like, “Dad is going to pick you up from school today. He and I are having a disagreement right now, but we both still love you.”
4Befriend other single parents who you can talk to. It's nice to have friends who you can talk to about your struggles and triumphs. Try looking into joining a single parent group in your neighborhood, or find an online community of single parents to ask for advice. Participate in activities and talk to them about what's going on in your life.
It's also important to make friends with parents who are couples, as well. They can help to show your kid that there are many different ways to be a family, but the important part is that a family is loving and caring to one another.
5Let go of the past and focus on the future. It's easy to feel guilty about a failed marriage or financial problems. However, dwelling on these problems doesn't help to improve the situation. Channel your energy into something productive, like making a budget, improving your self-image, and taking care of your child.Trustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
For instance, if you're having financial issues, instead of saying something like, “I can't even keep my finances in order. This is why my wife left me,” you can say something like, “I can't wait to stick to my new budget and gain financial independence.”
If you're overwhelmed by feelings of guilt or feel like you can't move forward, consider talking to a therapist about finding coping techniques that will work for you.