5 Amazing Things Single Parents Can Do With Their Kids – Patheos | Wonder Mind Kids

While all parents have faced the challenge of raising children, many single parents have had to adjust to working from home without a spouse to share responsibilities, lack of resources, feeling overwhelmed, and new routines to adopt amidst insufficient support.

For example, Paula, 42, a three-year single mom and mother of two elementary school kids while working full-time, put it this way: “I get up at 5 a.m. to make breakfast and get ready for the day and I feel I owe myself that I can’t be home anymore. My children’s girls go to an afterschool program. When I pick them up at 5:30pm they are grumpy so they usually play video games when we get home instead of doing their homework. As you can imagine, her grades have suffered.”

What Paula is becoming more aware of is the importance of routine in her children’s lives. After a divorce, when parents are stressed and short on time, they often resort to permissiveness and routines go out the window. Remember that if children follow routines most of the time, it will help reduce their stress and anxiety. It can actually help them self-regulate their emotions and feel more secure during times of uncertainty.

Also, there are many ways you can build a positive relationship with your children by inviting them to participate in activities that interest them and introducing them to some of your hobbies. For example, inviting your kids to share your love of hiking or biking over the weekend can help build a deeper bond and allow you all to get some much-needed exercise and fresh air.

5 things single parents can do with their kids:

  • Find and explore the great outdoors such as hiking trails or nature trails, bird sanctuaries, beaches, bike paths or zoos. Children and teenagers usually love nature. Even in winter it can be invigorating to visit and experience new outdoor adventures – even on a chilly or cold day if you put your mind to it!
  • Set up routines for your kids to follow. This includes homework, meal times, bath or shower time, TV time, and screen time. For example, Paula told her children, ages six and eight, that after they finish their homework, they could spend 30 minutes in front of the screen or in front of the TV. Then they showered after dinner and had 30 minutes of reading time before bed. By eliminating screen time before bed, she found her sons slept better and woke up refreshed and ready for the rigors of a school day.
  • Try out new recipes or preparation methods together. Make cooking together a family tradition and your kids will look forward to something special. A new pizza or pasta recipe (with different vegetables and sauces) can also add variety to your menu and spice up your dining table. My personal favorite is the Thai Chicken Pizza, made with leftover chicken and peanut sauce, combined and spread on a pizza crust, then topped with mozzarella.
  • Start a weekly game night and unplug electronic devices. Buy some inexpensive games and/or cards and set aside one night a week for sandwiches or pizza and let the fun begin. Children of all ages usually enjoy simple games like Checkers, Connect Four or UNO. Some children even love to play more complicated games like chess or monopoly, and teenagers often enjoy word games like Scrabble. If your kids are initially reluctant to unplug their phones or iPads, persist and they will likely get used to it.
  • Listen with the intent to understand and validate your children’s perspectives. Firstly, it is a given that your children are likely to have a relationship with your ex-spouse and try not to take it personally if they prefer to do some activities with him or her. Be flexible and understand their needs and wants. Divorced families are complex, and even if your kids are reluctant to try something new like game night, it pays to be persistent. Validate her feelings by saying things like, “I understand checkers aren’t fun, but maybe give it a try.” You are very smart and you can enjoy it.”

In recent years, parents around the world have been faced with unprecedented and unimaginable concerns about their children’s health, emotional well-being and education through the introduction of distance learning. We have also experienced the stress associated with reduced resources in schools and communities, which is a particular burden for single parents.

Many single parents, like Paula, are looking for new ways to entertain their children and relieve their stress and anxiety. Even with limited resources, it’s possible to create new traditions like game nights and a fortnight hike or brisk walk that can help you bond with your kids and keep everyone mentally stimulated and physically fit as we move into the future and look to better days!

Find Terry Twitter, Facebook, and, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award-winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. your new book The Remarriage Handbook: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True on February 18, 2020.

I would love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks very much! terry cloth

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