Raising a Family

Alone but Together: Raising Children by Yourself

Learn ways you can succeed as a single parent.

Just as with a partner, when raising children on your own, you want to provide them with a happy, healthy home. The number of single parents has grown in recent decades: Between 1960 and 2016, the percentage of children living in families with two parents decreased from 88 to 69.1 If you feel you need support, you may be able to connect with others in your situation. Here are a few tips that help other single parents.

Create a daily routine

Every family, regardless of the number of parents in the household, can benefit from creating a daily routine.2 Your schedule can include chores, homework, meals and what time the children wake up and go to bed. Be sure to incorporate everyday activities that are fun, too, such as reading a book together.

Give your children role models

If you’re raising children without a co-parent, such as after a spouse passes, you may be concerned your child is missing someone else to look up to. However, there are other ways to provide positive male and female figures in their lives. Look to extended family members, close friends, community leaders or even inspirational celebrities to help fill the void. Sites such as SingleParents.org or ParentsWithoutPartners.org could also be good resources.

Stay strict on your finances

All families can benefit from tracking their monthly expenses so they know exactly where their money is going. Next, find opportunities to improve your spending habits, such as making shopping lists before you head to the store to help stay on budget. Apps that can help you save and track your finances include Mint, PocketGuard and Acorns. Covering your financial future is also essential, particularly if you are your household’s only income provider. Make sure that you carry adequate life insurance to help protect your family.

Seek outside help

Divorce or the loss of a parent can be an emotional and confusing for children, so it’s only natural they’ll have a lot of questions. When they come to you, be honest about the situation and give answers in a manner appropriate for their age. If your conversations need more guidance, you can look into family therapy, whether it’s a co-parenting coach or a grief counselor.

Take it easy

As you work to maintain a healthy lifestyle for your children, keep in mind that some things are just out of your power. It’s OK if you get off schedule, the laundry piles up or your child has a fit in public. Don’t be too hard on yourself: Parenting is difficult, but you’re being the best parent you can be.

Being a single parent comes with unique challenges after splitting with a spouse. If you are newly divorced, learn how you can work toward financial stability.

1 The Majority of Children Live With Two Parents, Census Bureau Reports, United States Census Bureau, 2016.
2 10 Ways to Reduce Single-Parent Stress, Parents, 2018.

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