What challenges do single parents face?

7 challenges for single parents

Raising children as a single parent doesn't mean you have to do everything by yourself. We introduce you to the seven biggest childcare challenges and give you advice on how to solve them.

1. Building a good network

Many parents are not quite sure how to fill the gap between the end of the day at school or daycare and the working day. If you have school-age children, find out whether there are any activities nearby that your child can take advantage of after school or whether the school has an after-school care center. Make a regular schedule during the week so your child knows what to expect.

Carola Baumgarten, parents coach from Offenbach and advisor for Lob-Magazin, gives helpful tips on how this can look like: “A well-functioning network is the be-all and end-all for all educators. Team up with other parents, with other single parents, to support one another. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and neighbors can also be part of this network. Divide up the delivery and hold services, e.g. for sports or other leisure activities. Arrange a fixed day on which your child goes to their best friend after school, after school. In return, you might simply take over the care of several kids at the weekend or let your girlfriend sleep with you. Free evenings without an expensive babysitter are in great demand.
Functioning private networks also have the advantage that your child has other trusted caregivers and you can therefore fall back on them in emergency situations. "

2. Dealing with unpredictable emergencies

Even the most detailed plans can be thwarted by unforeseen events. Who hasn't received an urgent call from the school management that the child suddenly fell ill? Life is full of surprises, especially when you have children. It is therefore necessary that you have an emergency plan for childcare at hand, taking into account your workplace. To do this, schedule an appointment to speak to the HR office or your boss about certain emergency situations in which you have to leave your workplace quickly. Let them know that your job is important and ask if it would in any way affect your position. Make suggestions on how you can systematically complete tasks faster so that your workload doesn't suffer and your boss isn't concerned. It is also advisable to have the phone numbers of various people ready to pick up your child in an emergency. Make sure that the day care center or school has their name and that the people are not unknown.

3. Conduct business trips

Even if your job doesn't involve regular business trips, there may be occasional conferences or multi-day seminars that you have to attend. A good plan for such cases can reduce your and your child's anxiety.
If the trip is during the week, arrange for care in your own home so that your child's weekly schedule is not disrupted. If you have a family member who can stay the night, that time can be well used to strengthen the bond. Another option would be to arrange an overnight stay with a classmate. Offer the parents the same in case they have a shortage of care.
Before you go on a business trip, arrange a time with your child at which you can talk by phone or via Skype, for example. Small children are often interested in the place you are traveling to. Tell someone about the area, take photos or bring a souvenir.

4. Modify plans

A sick child is bad enough, but a sick babysitter or sick nanny can turn everything upside down. The workday has just started and your childcare worker will call in sick just when you have an important presentation ahead of you. Make sure you have a replacement care plan in place. Some employers reimburse this service or even make it available. Find out beforehand.

It is also advisable to ask one or two neighbors who have flexible working hours about emergency assistance. You could take care of the children until the supervisor arrives. Of course, show your appreciation for this.

5. Find time for yourself

Single parents always want the best for their children and try to build family structures so that the child can grow up well.
While you take care of the household, work and children, and no longer take time for yourself, this behavior can quickly burn you out. They need - and deserve - a break, be it just 15 minutes a day. If your child is old enough to understand, let them know that their body needs a break. To do this, retire and take a bath or read a book in peace while your child does homework or plays in another room. If your child is still very young, use their bedtime to relax a bit.

"Get rid of the desire for perfection, advises parent coach Carola Baumgarten," - that simply doesn't exist. Enjoy the peace and quiet when your child is in bed and asleep and use part of this time just for yourself - you won't lose your chores. Relaxed mothers and relaxed fathers are certainly more important for your children than a super clean apartment. "

6. Find suitable childcare

You are sure to look forward to spending free time with your child on the weekends every time. Nevertheless, a little time for your preferences and hobbies should also be on the plan. If you have an evening date, get in touch with friends or acquaintances who are looking after your child. If you want to go out regularly, find a babysitter, whether in the neighborhood or through an online provider.

7. Pay the childcare worker

It's no secret that childcare costs a lot in the long run and, if you are living on just a salary, the costs are often too high. The perfect care of your child should always come first. To do without well-trained supervisors would therefore not be an option.
You may find it a little uncomfortable to ask your neighbors or friends too often for help. If so, create a return arrangement so that you can assist others when they need help. Rotating childcare or sharing a babysitter are great ways to save some money.

With single parents, life can sometimes get out of balance. Still, don't lose sight of the fact that you are family. It may not always be easy, but with support and good planning it can sometimes be easier than you think.

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