Laila Al-Lamadani is an HR leader and single mom who knows how single parenthood can be a challenging, yet rewarding, experience when parents lean into the reality of their role.
According to Ms. Lamadani, almost a quarter (23%) of children in the US under 18 live in a single parent home, which points to the fact that it is important for these families to have outlets for support and guidance. Many sources of support can provide crucial tips to single parents, such as how to successfully overcome common challenges associated with this role in order to effectively build and maintain fruitful lives for their children.
Here, Laila Al-Lamadani shares a few of her top tips for single parents looking to foster safe, supportive environments that empower their children to succeed in life.
Be Engaged and Available
While it may sound simple, being engaged and available to your children is one of the most effective ways to be a successful single parent. With work and our numerous other responsibilities taking a toll on our time and energy, there may be periods when we are not as tuned in as we think—and this often has a negative impact on our connection to our kids over time.
Tools are available to help. ADHD parenting resources can be a life-saver says Laila Al-Lamadani. And developing a strong relationship with your child can be simple when you are putting in the work one day at a time. For example, just taking the time to do meaningful and fun activities together will go a long way towards fostering a deeper connection. Reading books with your child, playing games, and even allowing them to take an active role in household activities such as cooking are perfect ways to get quality bonding time in.
Experts find that single parents can especially benefit from investing time into prioritizing an emotional connection. Checking in on your child will encourage openness while giving them the freedom to talk about their feelings, challenges, goals, and aspirations. Remember that, while being a single parent is tough, being a child has its own set of challenges as well. Taking your child’s feelings into account and offering your unconditional support can ensure that, should anything come up, they view you as a safe person to be emotionally open and vulnerable with.
Make Time for Self-Care
Through no fault of their own, many single parents often forget about the importance of self-care. When you are always “on”, it can be incredibly difficult to make time to care for and feel good about yourself. Still, it is an essential part of remaining engaged, motivated, and supported on your journey.
Laila Al-Lamadani mentions that one of her favorite aspects of self-care is that there are plenty of simple ways to start the process. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and trying to get enough sleep are crucial facets of self-care regimens that can be easily worked toward over time.
Laila finds that another effective way to facilitate self-care is to occasionally schedule kid-free time to do something that you enjoy. As a single parent, it can be easy to feel guilty about taking time for yourself, but taking this time will help to keep you even more present during your regular parenting duties.
If you cannot get a trusted babysitter, friend, or family member to watch your child, simple self-care can be scheduled for times such as after putting your child to bed or early after you wake up. In times where you truly cannot get a minute to yourself, get your kids in on the action! Children benefit from and enjoy many of the activities that we associate with self-care, and introducing them to a few can encourage them to develop healthy routines of their own.
Find Your Community
Single parents get used to the feeling that they are on their own in terms of parenting. While they may be correct when it comes to routine parenting duties, this does not mean that they are truly alone in their journey to successfully raise a child. Laila Al-Lamadani recommends that single parents combat feelings that they do not have support by finding or building communities where they can thrive.
There are multiple ways for single parents to find a community for themselves. In the digital age, there are various online platforms that empower single parents to find other local single parents. These resources can be a great place to find support and advice from like-minded people who are living with similar circumstances. Have you looked into surrogate requirements?
It is also a great idea to not discount the many ways that single parents can connect with other single parents. Play groups, church, and extracurricular activities are all viable places to find other single parents who share the desire to learn from and spend time with others. Connecting with those who share similar challenges and successes can work wonders for helping you feel more supported.
Maintain Routines and Traditions
Any single parent will tell you that successfully managing a household is no easy task. Luckily, there are a handful of ways that parents can work towards streamlining their home lives and creating an adaptable sense of structure.
Routines for homework, mealtime, bedtimes, cleaning, etc. can be extremely effective for maintaining order within the household. Routines also help children learn what to expect while giving them a sense of control over their lives. Remember that these routines do not need to be totally rigid and strict to be effective, and pieces of the routine can certainly be changed pending a variety of factors.
Alongside routines, Laila finds that it is also effective to reinforce your own family traditions as well. Rituals for weekends, holidays, vacations, etc. can really help you maintain the connection between you and your child. If you can get their input on how they like to have fun or spend their free time, it can also provide the opportunity to make your time together even more fun and enjoyable for them.
Taking it One Day at a Time
Just as is the case with any other responsibility, single parents will have good days and bad days. What is most important is that you show up and do your best no matter what.
Laila Al-Lamadani finds that one of the most important things for single parents to remember is that taking things one day at a time is key. Staying on course, continuing the process of learning every day, and truly prioritizing the best interests of your child are cornerstones of successful single parenting.