A majority of single parents never imagined being forced to raise their children on their own. Many of them were forced to step up to the plate and raise their children as a result of their circumstances, such as abandonment, divorce, or even the death of their significant other. How can you help a single parent today?
Single parents are responsible for daily care, nurturing, juggling activities, chores, financial support, sacrificing their career, giving up their own needs, giving up vacations for sick kids, and everything they have for the sake of their commitment to the kids. It takes a village to raise a child and single parents don’t usually ask for help but they need it. If you know a single mom or dad, take the time to get to know them and help them whenever you are able to.
What Are the Best Ways You Can Help a Single Parent?
Watch Their Kids
What happens when you don’t get enough time to yourself? Do you find that you are grouchy or short with your kids? The amount of time that single parents are able to take time for themselves is pretty slim especially if they have young children. The only opportunities they have is after the kids go to bed but even then they are usually catching up on housework, trying to go to sleep early, or get ready for the next day. If they are lucky, they have a couple of days a month if the other parent comes to get the kids for visitation.
Offer to watch their kids for several hours. This will give them an opportunity to get in some quality “me” time or catch up on things that need to get done. Even if you can’t watch their kids, offer to pay for them a babysitter. We promise they will appreciate it.
Treat Them to Dinner
Juggling work, chores around the house and parenting duties is challenging when you have a partner at home to help. Think about how single parents feel when they don’t want to cook a meal because they are tired. But they can’t afford to eat out either. Giving them a night off from cooking would be a huge burden taken off their plate and they will appreciate it. You can invite them over for dinner with your family, take them to dinner, or even give them a gift card to use. This is a huge burden to take off the plate of a single parent, it will help a single parent significantly.
Be a Listening Ear
Single parents who don’t live near family often long for adult conversation and friendship. Next time your kids want to play with his or her kids, go sit over there and talk while the kids play. Just being there for them and showing them that you care provides them with an outlet to vent, laugh, talk, or even have a shoulder to cry on. Being a single parent is usually a huge adjustment especially if they are newly single or divorced.
Next time you are at the grocery store or gas station, pick up an extra $20 gift card (aff link) to give to a single parent. As a single mom, I relied on my income to pay all of the bills, including those unexpected bills that crop up from time to time. Even though I would put my tax refund into a savings account and do my best to stretch it as far as it could go, there were a few times when I struggled to have enough money to pay the bills or put gas in my car in order to get to work. An extra $20 can make a huge difference to help buy food, and necessities, or to put fuel into my car to last until payday.
Offer Carpool Services
As a single parent, there were times when I needed help getting my kids to and from doctor’s appointments or after-school activities. Thankfully, I lived near my family and they were able to help me from time to time when I was a single mom. Had they not been there to help, having a neighbor or good friend to rely on to help get them to and from school on occasion or to after-school activities, would have been super helpful.
Be an Emergency Contact
Offer to be an emergency contact for a single parent. As I mentioned previously, there are single parents who don’t have family around to rely on in the event of an emergency. But having a trustworthy neighbor or friend to be able to pick up my child in the event of an emergency would have been a huge blessing.
Randomly Bring Necessities Over
As I mentioned earlier, being a single mom was one of the hardest things that I have done in my life but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything. Even with the best planning, it is possible to run out of diapers, wipes, toilet paper, feminine products, soap, shampoo, laundry soap, dish soap, and other necessities that most of us take for granted. So next time you notice a sale on necessities, pick up a few extra supplies and pass them along to your friend. They will greatly appreciate the gesture especially if they were running low before payday. Don’t forget a surprise bottle of wine or something for mom/dad too.
Celebrate with Them
Does your friend have a child graduating from kindergarten? Have a class play? Offer to attend these events with your friend and help them celebrate their’s child’s achievement. If they are unable to attend a class play or party, offer to go and take pictures for them. This allows them to be a part of their child’s special moments even if they can’t attend.
Pass Along Things Your Kids No Longer Use
Buying clothes and toys for children can be a huge burden for a single parent just barely scraping by just to pay the bills. The next time you clean out your kid’s dresser drawers or closet, look for clothing, toys, and books that your children may have outgrown and pass them along to your friend in need. We promise they will appreciate the extra help.
Volunteer to Help with the Chores
The household chores seem to be never ending when you have kid and there is always something that needs to be done. Next time you go to visit your friend, offer to help with any of the chores on the to-do list. Helping with the chores will help free up some of the time that they could spend on themselves for a few minutes after the kids go to bed. Even if you don’t have time to help around their house, you could offer to pick up a few things for him/her while you are at the grocery store.
Most single parents are fairly self-sufficient and won’t always ask for help even if they desperately need it. Paying attention to their cues to help determine which of these ideas that you can do to help them meet their child’s immediate needs.