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11 March 2021 (updated)

Single Parent Survival Tips and Financial Assistance

Parenting is never an easy job but being a single mother or single father comes with some extra challenges. Fortunately, there are some helpful ways to make daily life a little bit easier for a single parent!

With approximately a quarter of children in the United States living in single-parent households according to a Pew Research Center study, the financial or emotional struggle is real for many American parents.

There are several added pressures involved in being a single mom or a single dad. Especially during COVID quarantines, it's easy to feel alone. But whether you’re divorced, widowed, or recently split up, there is help available for single-parent families.

What Are Some Tips for Single Parents?

While living in a single-parent household or experiencing co-parenting and shared custody can be tricky, here are some tips to manage single parenting. 

1. Speak Their Love Language

All children need to know that they are loved. So make sure you're available to support them when they need it. This could be as easy as saying, "I love you," every so often, writing them a little note, or taking extra time to cuddle during bedtime. Share your ideas with other moms and dads on your favorite family app! We've benefited from some of the ideas in Gary Smalley's book, "The Five Love Languages of Children."

2. Stick to a Schedule

Creating a routine for your kid means that they will have a sense of stability. This can include scheduled mealtimes, homework, and bedtime, especially when they are young. As a parent, you can benefit from it as well with improved time management.

3. Maintain Boundaries

One of the most important things for children of single parents is knowing what they can and cannot do. Also, assign them age-appropriate tasks and chores. By sticking to the rules, your kid will understand their responsibilities within your family and be accountable.

4. Ask for Help

"It takes a village to raise a child." - Whether it’s your best friend or the grandparents, being able to rely on other adults is key. As a single parent, make sure to build your "village". It’s also very important for your child’s well-being that they know their family can count on others.

5. Connect With Other Single Parents

Having friends and family around you for support is great but sometimes you might have things on your mind they can't relate. Find a single-parent family support group near you or connect with adults in the same situation on social media.

6. Try Counseling

Asking your parents for help or having a support group sometimes just isn't enough. Especially those who are newly widowed or going through a divorce might need some more qualified help. Whether you choose a life coach, therapeutic help, or pastoral counseling, there's plenty of professional help out there.

7. Prioritize Self-Care

Many parents struggle with taking time for themselves, especially when you're a single mom or dad. However, self-care is important to boost your energy levels and resilience. When you make time for yourself and recharge your batteries, it will be easier to stay calm when things get hectic.

What Kinds of Benefits Can Single Parents Get?

If you are a single mother or single father, there are also many financial assistance options available to you. Many of them are not for single parents exclusively but for all low-income households.

  • Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) - This single parent assistance program is run through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If a woman is pregnant or has children under 5, she may be able to acquire financial assistance.
  • Pre-Kindergarten Programs - Some states offer pre-kindergarten programs that are suitable for children before they enter school. They can last between 2.5 and 6 hours and are often free, though after-school child care may cost money. 
  • Federal Pell Grants - These grants given by the United States Department of Education provide single dads and moms with funds for getting their bachelor’s degree. Students can receive approximately $6,195 for 2020 which can be used at 5,400 schools around the country.

Do you have any other tips for single parents for getting support or juggling work and household responsibilities?  A little added support and advice can go a long way towards raising a happy child.



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