In 2008, only 35% of children in South Africa were living with both their biological parents, while some 40% were living with their mother only.
Being a single parent can be really hard and sometimes it might seem that you have two jobs at the same time. It can be lonely and hard work but it’s ultimately very rewarding. We know how difficult being a single parent can be, and to try make things a little bit easier, we have compiled some great tips to help you become a successful single parent without giving up on your other personal interests:
Here are our favourite single parenting tips:
- Create a support system – you are going to need quite a bit of help being a single parent. Write down a list of dependable friends and family members who you can rely on in a time of need. You could also join a recognised single parents support group, which could only benefit you in the long run. When you have identified your support group, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- Make time for yourself – being a single parent means you may often feel like you are being pulled in 10 different directions, simultaneously. With all these demands on your life, make sure to schedule some alone time, where you can just ‘be’ and relax.
- Stick to a routine – part of creating stability and security in the home involves establishing predictable schedules and routines for your children.
- Save time – do little things to save time around the house, make bigger meals so the leftovers can double as school lunch the next day, do your shopping once a week or month and pay your bills on the internet so you can spend more time at home with your child/ children.
- Set boundaries – children need to understand when their behaviour is crossing a line. The house rules will help them remember what behaviour has been agreed as unacceptable.
Although being a single parent is a difficult job, you can make certain that you are the best parent you can possibly be. You can help your children feel secure by setting priorities, spending time with them and, above all, showering your child with love.
- Draw up a budget and stick to it: The most important thing about budgeting is to be realistic – you can only stick to a budget if it is realistic.
- Prioritise your spending: Start by critically looking at your monthly expenses and evaluate each expense, decide if it is an essential expense, a nice-to-have or a real luxury, and then prioritise your spending.
- Manage your debt: Pay off your debts as soon as you can. If at all possible, use cash rather than credit. Keep track of all your debt – know how much you owe and what the interest is that you pay on it. Also, try to reduce the number of store cards and other credit cards you might have.
- Have sufficient cover: You must take care of your and your child’s future financial well being. Make sure you have life cover and make sure that disability cover is also high on your list – remember that your child is totally dependant on you so, if you should die or become unable to work, they would suffer the consequences. Have an emergency fund, education savings and retirement funds.
- Speak to a financial advisor to help you decide what you can afford and what you need.