So you’re a single parent. Think about what this sentence means for a moment. Single, without a spouse, who has children. It simply means you are raising your children on your own, most of the time. You have to be a nurturer and a disciplinarian. Let’s look at some Creative Ways For Raising A Child As A Single Parent.
Every child has 1 basic need and that is to be loved. If you love a child, you will provide the rest of their needs, food, shelter, and education as well as discipline.
1. Meal Time
When raising a child, meal times can be chaotic! If they are hungry, feed them. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, or on a strict schedule, since most kids prefer simple meals. Ask what they like to eat and prepare it. They will eat it. Most kids have a dislike for many foods, but if you continue to introduce or include these in your daily meals they will become accustomed to it and start to enjoy it. While growing up, we were forced to eat everything on our plate no matter what it was. I have found this causes more fear and tension at dinner time. Kids even start worrying about the meal before it happens.
It is way better to establish the taste or try it rule and let it go. Of course no child can live on candy or sweets, but if he likes is a peanut butter sandwich, what harm can it cause. He will not continue to eat only peanut butter for ever, his tastes will change! (Peanut butter is equal to a serving of protein like meat). As children mature, they change likes and dislike frequently and forcing will only cause more resistance. So my rule for peace at the dinner table is, take a small taste you may be surprised that you actually like it, Surprise! Your time is better spent talking to your kids about their day and not causing food fears.
Part of raising a child also includes disciplining them. If they are breaking the rules, do they know what the rules are? Make a chart and hang it up. We have found if the rules are stated and easy to follow, they will follow them!
Be respectful of each other and others property.
Hands are for helping not hurting (no hitting, etc.)
Homework before TV time or what ever your house rules are.
Punishment should be quick and fit the crime. If someone, let’s say, hits a sibling, a time out may give them time to cool down and think about how it feels to be hit. Of course, no one likes to be hit and it’s painful.
Give Your Child 2 Choices
If you are dealing with a 2 year old or around that age, there is a great easy way to handle difficult situations such as you are in a hurry to get out the door but the little one insists they are not going! This age child needs choices, simple limited choices. They also need a 5 minute warning. Say the child’s name first to make sure he or she is listening and understands what you are saying. For example, Isabelle, it will be time for us to go in 5 minutes, do you want to bring your teddy bear or your dolly? Now you have taken away the decision about going and the choice is now what do you want to bring. Notice you gave your child only 2 choices, make sure they are choices you can live with.
Lets say she decides to bring her hugest stuffed animal, you simply say that is not one of the choices, do you want to bring your teddy bear or your dolly, and then move on to something else. Don’t give the opportunity to discuss further. Tell her, it is time to get in the car now, grab your dolly and let get going, make it fun go, go, go, hop to the car, this can be another choice, do you want to hop or skip to the car.
You will be amazed how quickly the decision about going or what to bring goes away. This is a very powerful tool. Use it frequently. You will become a wizard at redirecting and distracting. Children need to be a part of the decisions about their lives and to anticipate what is happening next. It eases anxiety and stress and makes for a happier better balanced child.
3. Redirection: The calmer road to following rules
Raising a child involves redirecting. This sets limits, but allows the child to feel they are a part of what is happening. If your child is involved in an undesirable behaviour, it is easy to get sucked into the vacuum of reacting and getting angry or punishing based on your feelings or mood at that minute. If you can take a step back and take a deep breathe, you can handle almost anything without causing more discipline issues and reassignment. Let’s say your son is jumping off the couch onto the coffee table, or running around the house screaming. This usually means he has some pent up energy or anxiety from his day at school or day care. Take them outside. This is the ultimate redirection.
Observing the behaviour will tell you how he is feeling and what activities he needs at that time. If it is raining, we still go out rain or shine. If a child is grumpy, put on a rain coat, grab the umbrellas, and go walk in the rain. It doesn’t have to be a soaking wet excursion. It can be a simple: let’s see how it feels to let the rain fall on our umbrellas and step in some puddles.
Special Quality Time
There is not a child in the world that wouldn’t enjoy this. Special time with you, peaceful quiet rain drops, enjoying nature in a way they usually avoid! When you come back inside, make some hot chocolate (let them stir) and put in the marshmallows. Watch a favourite movie together. If they need more activities, do a craft. Break out the markers and some shaving cream. Shaving cream craft is big fun and clean! Build a fort out of sheets and chairs.
When you kids spend quality time with you, it doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Watch your discipline problems go out the door. If it is not raining, running at the park is a great way to run off steam. I have mine run races or just run as fast as they can, they love it. Kids love to be the best at something, so encourage and praise their success, no matter how small. If you catch them doing something good, praise them lots!
As a single parent, hopefully you have or can develop a network of support, so you won’t be in it alone. Your own family and friends can become your greatest support. No one should have to go it alone, and remember your kids are in it with you for life. Remember the children are in this circle too. You are never alone in raising your child as a single parent!