• Structure, Routine, & Exercise: A Single Parent’s Guide to Success

    If there was one word many single parents would use to describe their life, it would be “chaos.” Life doesn’t seem to stop for a single parent; there is always something to be done, whether it’s work responsibilities, house cleaning, helping with homework, or cooking. Read on for some single-parenting tips. 

    Establishing Structure

    Children not only crave structure, but they thrive in it. The best part is that by establishing good habits early on, you’re not only setting your child up for success, but your work as a parent gets a little easier. 

    According to Psychology Today, structure can actually improve your child’s brain. As children get a little older and develop some impulse and emotional control, you can instill organizational thinking. Setting up a routine and calender is the best way to stay on top of a busy parenting schedule.

    Morning Rush. Using a structured start to the day will set the tone and help children begin on the right foot. Have your child follow a morning routine. A morning routine can include getting dressed and ready, eating breakfast, and brushing teeth. 

    Calendars. Using calendars is a great way to keep your kids on a schedule. Have your children help you fill out important dates and reminders. For example, if baseball practice is Tuesday evenings, make sure to write it down and include a reminder about preparing their clothes ahead of time. 

    Playtime. Leisure and playtime are important for a child’s development. Establishing some rules and discipline around this not only ensures you have quality time with your kids, but that they learn the importance of earning rewards. In other words, show your child that playtime happens after homework and cleaning duties are completed. 

    Bedtime. The end of the day is a great time to establish routine and organization. Teach children to prepare for the next day at school to avoid morning chaos. Have them prepare their outfits and backpacks for the next day.

    Financial Tips

    Another challenging aspect of single parenting is of course financial. For most single parents, every dollar has to go a long way. Efficiency, planning, and organization are key in staying afloat financially. 

    Assess your income. CNBC suggests that before anything, knowing your budget is vital to being well organized and ensuring you don’t go over it. Set up automatic payments for necessary bills and avoid late fees and falling behind.

    The rainy fund. Setting aside a small percentage of your income a month can be a lifesaver when unprecedented expenses arise. 

    Money lessons. Use the importance of budgeting as a teaching moment. Establish good habits of money saving with your kids by getting some piggy banks or working out fun games to encourage kids to save and learn the value of money.

    Don’t Neglect Yourself

    As a single parent, it is easy to get lost in the chaos. Your physical and mental health, however, are necessary to maintain your demanding schedule and be the best parent you can be. 

    Find workout time. Plan ahead to include exercise time in your day. You might not need a fancy gym membership but only to set your alarm one hour earlier. Learn about functional movements to get you in shape, and get in some quick workouts at home. 

    Work out with the kids. Use some of your playtime to put in some exercise. Take the kids on a hike, for a swim, or for a run or walk in the local park.

    Find a support group. Single parents often struggle with asking for help. However, joining a support group can help, as there are many other single parents dealing with some of the same issues.  There are plenty of good resources online, like Parents Without Partners, that can help single parents build community, find advice, and look for valuable information. 

    Your children will be less stressed when a familiar routine is established. Setting them up for success is setting yourself up for success, too. Use some organization techniques to achieve this, and watch how your children blossom under the positive structure you provide for them. Your love and support are most important, but routine and organization also matter.  

    Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Single Parent Success: Ways To Carve Out Alone Time To Reboot

    Single parents oftentimes find it difficult to keep up with everything on their plate. The kids will typically come first, along with work commitments and household tasks, and at the end of the day, there may be little downtime left. While single parents may always feel as if there is something else they should be doing, embracing downtime and practicing self-care is important too, and there are many great ways to utilize those precious free moments that will give you a major boost.

    Carve out time alone to reboot

    Even if your finances are stretched thin, there are plenty of ways as a single parent to have a bit of fun when free moments become available. Many single parents enjoy the opportunity to do things like get massages, pedicures, or manicures, or head out for a night out with friends. The Spruce suggests heading out for a long walk, getting care for the kids and hitting a movie solo, or even getting up a few minutes earlier in the morning to enjoy a few minutes of quiet before the preparations for the day begin.

    It is not always easy to carve out time away from the kids outside of work when you are a single parent, but a little bit of creativity goes a long way. When your kids are at dance rehearsal or sports practice, head to a local cafe for some quiet moments to read or catch up on connecting with others. If the kids are playing at the park, take the opportunity to squeeze in some exercise yourself. Nothing makes you feel young again like swinging or sliding down a slide, and many parks have trails or sidewalks that you can walk or jog around as the kids play.

    Utilize downtime to start a new venture

    You may want to even consider leveraging your free time to start up a venture like dog walking. Something like this can give single parents the chance to get some active time to themselves away from the kids while even earning a few extra dollars.

    As Pet Sitters points out, if you have a love for animals, starting your own dog walking service can be a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, meet some new people, and earn some extra cash. A bonus would be that you could get your kids involved and give them an opportunity to bond with some great dogs as well, which is an especially fun opportunity if you can’t have a dog of your own.

    Make yourself a priority even when your to-do list is long

    As Parents points out, it is important as a single parent to both set aside time specifically for your children as well as carve out time for yourself. The daily demands of a single parent can oftentimes take over, but it is OK to sometimes ignore the dirty laundry or dishes in the sink to focus on your kids or yourself.

    The anxiety associated with being a single parent can sometimes be overwhelming. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make your mental health a priority, as high anxiety levels can lead to additional issues in the long-term besides just stressful days. Refueling is important, and different strategies work for different single parents. Some embrace time to themselves to take a bath or read a book, while others prefer to connect with other adults or even throw themselves into a new adventure. As Universal Class notes, making time for self-care is essential, even if it is difficult to make room in your schedule.

    Life can be crazy when you are a single parent, but it is important to carve out some leisure time to reboot and re-energize. You may utilize time while the kids are at rehearsal or practice to sit alone at a nearby coffee shop to read, or put the kids to bed a little early so you can relax with a yoga DVD. Whatever gives you the chance as a single parent to take a break from the daily demands of life and end up refreshed is the perfect approach, and your relationship with your kids will benefit from the effort.

    [Image via Pixabay]

  • Freestyle Your Fitness Lifestyle: Helpful Tips for Single Parents

    Most of the time, when we consider starting a workout routine, we think of aspects like drive, focus, endurance, and stamina. However, as a single parent, you also think of time constraints, stress, and exhaustion. You’ve got to get the kids to daycare and school on time, get them to their extracurriculars, make it through the work day, and perform all the necessary steps to wrap up the day and prep for the next. 

    The desire to get fit and start a workout routine can feel like a pipedream. However, we rarely consider that the journey to a healthier lifestyle can be as much of a blast as the end result. The secret to staying well-motivated is simply to design a workout that is fitting for you. As a parent, you know that fitting in “me time” takes a little bit of planning and creativity, and incorporating fitness is the same. Stretch out of the norm and do something new like run a 5k race, join a local recreational league, or find exercises to complete at home. Any of these new activities can position you on the fast track to a healthier lifestyle.

    Race Time

    Maybe it sounds a little too dreamy to be a workout, but 5k races are actually fun. Committing to complete a 5k race just four times a year is great motivation for year-round training. You will find yourself walking up and down the sidewalk on your street in preparation for each big day, and before long you may even amp up your speed to a run. Your training has the potential to become a part of your lifestyle, because of your commitment to complete the challenge.

    Try a Sport

    Joining a recreational sports league is the sort of thing that can help you achieve your fitness dream. For those who could benefit from a set practice schedule, coaching, and team camaraderie, joining a rec league might be the best opportunity for you. Nowadays, there are plenty of options to choose from, such as: baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and more. Keep in mind that taking up a team sport will probably require some gear and athletic wear, so be prepared to purchase necessary items like baseball or soccer cleats, an athletic supporter if you’re a dad or a sports nursing bra if you’re a new mom. 

    Get Creative

    As a parent, you’ve learned to expect the unexpected, and sometimes your schedule has to be put on the backburner. When you need to make the best of your situation, sometimes a home workout is the best option. Set yourself up with a jazzy Bluetooth speaker for your playlist (there are many affordable options with great sound regardless of the genre you love) and take a crack at bodyweight workouts, or look for some free fitness videos and pull out your dumbbells. If you fit in a workout while the kids or doing homework or the baby is sleeping, you can make the most of the time you have, even if it’s short. Something is always better than nothing. 

     Through ingenuity and a different approach, you can make all of the pieces of your fitness plan fall into place. And it can be on your terms and tailored to your lifestyle. Dare to make exercising worthwhile, and freestyle your fitness lifestyle.

     Photo by: Pixabay.com

  • Single-Parent Side Gigs Boost Income Without Cutting Family Time

    You need to earn cash to care for your family, but you need to be present and there for them, too. To complicate matters, you’re on your own. How can you be a provider and a nurturer when there are only so many hours in the day? First, answer these questions. Are you tenacious? Are you a risk taker? Are you adaptable? Do you like to solve problems?

    Welcome to the gig economy, where you make your own schedule and can be your own boss. Here are some lucrative side gigs that will help you bring in the money, without sacrificing any family time.

    Freelance Writer/Blogger

    It’s never been easier to get started as a writer. With the expansion of new media, you can make your voice heard and grow your audience like never before. Freelancers start around $20 an hour and go up from there. Some have even parlayed their writing into books and television. If you love to write, this could be a great way to make some extra cash. 


    This one’s a no-brainer. You’re great with your own kid, so hire out your expertise. In-home childcare can be lucrative, bringing in $21,000 per year on average. Startup costs are pretty minimal, but it’s a good idea to get CPR certification. Also, check with the authorities to see how many kids you can look after before you must get licensed by the state. 

    Personal Virtual Assistant

    You can make as much as $16 an hour answering emails, returning calls, and handling correspondence from your home. If you have basic office skills and own the necessary equipment, this could be the right job for you! 

    House Sitter/Pet Sitter

    If you just need the occasional boost to your income, check out local social media for people looking for someone to watch their home and pets while they’re away. You can make as much as $75 for an overnight job. Check Craigslist and Facebook for people looking for help. 


    There’s a booming business available for in-home tutors and English language instructors. Tutors can earn $50 an hour, working part-time from the privacy of their own home, online or in person. Usually, all you need is an internet connection. 

    Online Sales

    Turn a love of crafting into an industry and sell your creations on Etsy! Do you love yard and estate sales, thrifting, and flea market runs? Consider becoming an eBay reseller. Many people have turned their hobbies into their business by harnessing the web to create a customer base. 


    These days, a lot of companies hire contractors to do transcription and medical coding from home. Such positions usually require minimal training or equipment and start at around $15 an hour. They can go much higher with greater experience. 


    With the advent of Uber and Lyft, anyone with a good car can make money with ridesharing. Drive as little or as much as you want, and work the hours you want. The app lets you select routes and times you want to work and offers protections against poor clientele. For example, if someone trashes your car, their credit card will be billed for the cleanup. 

    There are as many ways to earn money as there are stars in the sky — all it takes is a little creativity and imagination. Wouldn’t it be great to bump up your income without having to be away from the kids? Work-at-home jobs mean caring for the kids while you’re earning a living.  Even jobs outside the home are getting better about allowing you to schedule your hours so you can limit the need for a babysitter. The sky’s the limit if you’re willing to try something new.

    Image Courtesy Pexels