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Because family life matters

Top tips for single parents

Tried and tested advice compiled by single parents for single parents.

Mum and daughter

  • Always remember that you are doing a fantastic job. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  • Pace yourself, and remember tomorrow is another day. The housework will always be with you, but rest and energy to enjoy your children is important.
  • Find some way to relieve your stress. Go swimming, bake bread, sing, paint a wall, yell at a chair, clean out cupboards, or talk to someone you trust.
  • Maintain your boundaries and house rules. Be consistent – set rules and stick with them. Choose your battles wisely!
  • Be honest and apologise when you get it wrong. Children learn by our example – by our actions rather than our words.
  • Don’t make your children feel guilty for going to see their other parent. And don’t criticise the other parent in front of your children
  • Resist the pressure to spend on children to make up for them having only one parent. Having you is more important than having things.
  • Encourage children to help in the kitchen. If they’ve contributed towards the meal, they’ll be proud to eat it with their family.
  • If your child won’t eat anything green, take heart – you’re not alone. It’s not going to hurt them, long-term, and by the time they reach their early 20s, most of them will be tucking into broccoli and green beans as part of a balanced diet.
  • Encourage your children to help in the home each day. Even toddlers can put toys back in the toy box. Older children can help with meals, laundry or cleaning. A five-minute job prepares them for growing up and living alone, or having their own family.
  • Recognise your needs, consider them important, and find ways to fulfil them. Don’t be afraid to admit your feelings, especially when you’re feeling low.
  • Try something new! Losing weight and having a new hairstyle can work wonders for your self-confidence (and take years off you!)
  • Accept you are a single parent, even though it’s hard. Don’t be ashamed of your status. Be open about the limitations you have – for example, if your employer requests you work away for a few days, don’t hesitate to refuse and detail the reasons why.
  • Remember that you are absolutely the best person to nurture your family.

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For more top tips, why not download the Top Tips for Single Parents booklet