3 Simple Ways to Spend More Quality Time With Your Kids When You’re a Single Parent
Congratulations on surviving single parenthood thus far! There’s no question that raising a child or several children on your own is a feat of wonder. Even if you do have enough resources to fully take care of your children’s needs, there never seems to be enough time to just be with them. And this can be a very unhealthy and highly frustrating situation for both children and single parents. If it’s becoming harder and harder to balance your career with your parenting duties, you need to make some changes in your life before you burn yourself out.
What can you do to make time for both parenting as well as pursuing your career? Sometimes, the solution to complex problems like this can turn out to be simple:
Do Household Chores With Help from the Kids
Assign household chores that your children can handle. Don’t just confine them to chores that only revolve around their own rooms. Often, parents automatically assume that their kids are lazy when they refuse to cleanup their own bedrooms; it could be that they’re just bored. Picking up toys can get really old, really fast, especially if you’re a smart and/or athletic kid. Let them do a variety of relatively safe chores in and around the house and explain to them that taking care of your home is everyone’s responsibility. If they get a splinter or a scratch, that’s okay; it’s a good and controlled way to teach them about the world. Just teach them how to properly do whatever chore you assign to lessen the risk of injury.
Let them do some lifting by helping you do the laundry, shovel snow off the driveway, collect leaves in the backyard, or vacuum the living room. If they’re old enough, you can teach them to use a knife and help you prepare food in the kitchen. Find a way to do some chores alongside your kids; there’s no reason you can’t have a bit of fun and bonding while fixing up everyone’s supper.
A good way to motivate your kids is to establish a reward system for a certain number of accomplished chores. For instance, if everyone commits to doing all their chores for the next two weeks, take them out for pizza and ice cream on the weekend. If they don’t finish all their assigned chores but have done a good job with some chores anyway, reward them accordingly. This allows you to cross off chores on your to-do list while also making time to bond with your kids.
Commit to a Regular Fitness Routine for Both Parent and Children
This is a good way to keep yourself physically fit while still being there for your kids. While it may seem impossible to find a physical activity or hobby that both you and your child can enjoy, activities like that do exist. The world of martial arts alone offers plenty of possibilities. Find a gym that teaches karate, boxing, wrestling, muay-thai, jiu-jitsu, or judo – just some of the martial arts that can be taught to both children and adults. Some gyms even offer free trial periods or family-package discounts so you can try out a bunch of different classes to see which one your kid likes. As an added bonus, if you actually get a good instructor, your children might just learn a thing or two about respect and discipline.
If you don’t want to learn any martial arts, there are other activities that you can do with the kids. Take up biking and make it a family tradition to bike through a gorgeous trail twice a month. If you live near an olympic-size swimming pool, race your kids around the pool to add a bit of friendly competition. Certain team sports like soccer is a good way to give you and your kids some cardio and agility. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, teach your kid how to use a skateboard or a longboard (or ask your kid to teach you).
Apart from bonding with the kids, regularly engaging in physical activity keeps your energy up, lets you sleep better, and gives you the cardio and endurance you need to survive being a single parent.
Prioritize Sleep By Committing to A Strict Sleep Schedule
Sleeping at the same hour every night is one of the most effective ways to promote regular and healthy sleep. It’s also a good way to consistently wake up at the same time every morning without help from an alarm clock. By committing to a strict sleep schedule, you’re actually strengthening the biological clock that governs sleep and wakefulness. While it may be hard to do at first, you’ll soon find that a consistent sleep schedule will help a lot in making you sleepy when bedtime approaches and keeping you up and awake during daytime. And the more energy you have while awake, the more you can be there for your kids.
Make it easier on yourself to stick to your schedule by limiting caffeine intake throughout the day, not eating anything heavy hours before bedtime, and replacing your old, beat-up mattress. According to Psychology Today, your immediate environment can greatly affect how well you sleep, and that of course includes the very surface you sleep on.
Reducing visual clutter in the bedroom can also help ease anxious thought before bedtime. Read all about sleep hygiene – habits that promote regular and healthy sleep – and apply those habits to your life. The better you sleep, the better you can be at accomplishing all your duties as the single head of the household.