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Essential guide to being a great single mom part 3: Quality time and fun

Little League
Little League
Photo by: Matthew_Hull on morguefile.com

In the Essential Guide to Being a Great Single Mom parts 1 and 2, we discussed teaching characters and morals as well as how to take care of yourself. In part 3, we are going to discuss the importance of spending quality time with your children, and some fun activities you can do with them. We will also discuss the importance of having downtime.

Sometimes, you have to wonder how many single moms find the time and energy to do so many things with their children, or to run their children here and there and everywhere. You sit there asking yourself, "How am I going to keep up with all of the activities my child decides to take part in?" Especially when you have to work and/or go to school.

While it is wonderful if you are a mom who can do a lot of things with and for her children, we each have to be happy with what we are capable of doing. Not every single mom will have the time or means to have their children participate in many activities. This is fine. It is okay to limit what your children do. To tell them they can choose only one or two activities per year. It is also not necessary for these activities to cost anything (Or, much.)

Summer recreational programs are a good place to start. They often take place at a local park, and are generally day programs. While this is not necessarily a program where you get to spend time doing something with your child, it does provide them with an activity while you are working or taking classes. The cost is minimal, in that you send meals and snacks, and pay for field trips. It is okay for parents to have lunch with their children at the park, and they often ask for volunteers to help chaperone field trips, meaning you can get in some quality time with your children and and their friends, to see what they are doing. It is also possible for parents to do activities with the children, perhaps an afternoon of crafts or story telling.

Many children enjoy sports, so allowing them to join one or two teams a year will provide them with some fun. Try to make it to as many games as possible, and make it a point to talk to them each day about the practices, games, other children, and coaches. Also, even if you are not fond of playing sports, practice with your child one or more times per week. Remember, it isn't about that you like or don't like. It is about what is what is important to her. Throw the ball. Pitch the ball. Play a little basketball. Whatever it takes to show your child you are interested in what she is doing. Talk about their lives. Listen to their problems.

There are so many other types of activities your children might enjoy, that provide you with quality time spent with them.

  • Perhaps your daughter enjoys fishing. Why not take an afternoon every so often to go fishing with her, or to sit and chat while she fishes.
  • Or, if your son likes to play Frisbee, take him to a place where you can play with him.
  • Maybe your daughter would really like mother-daughter card-making sessions, and you can cut costs of the activity by using the scraps from your scrap-booking hobby.
  • If your son likes playing boardgames, pick a few new ones up at a yard sale and make dates with him to play once a week.
  • Get all of your children together once every week or two for a card game.

Being a great mom also means getting to know your child's friends. This can be done in a variety of fun ways.

  • Real life 'tea parties' with little girls.
  • Keep crafting scraps on hand for crafting parties with your children and their friends. Ornament making parties in December are a lot of fun. As are gift making parties.
  • Invite your children's friends, and their parents and siblings, over for a picnic, and a friendly game of baseball.

With your work and school schedule, as well as your children's school and activity schedule, it can be difficult to find the necessary quality time to spend with them. You do not always want friends and family around. Setting up a family routine will aid you in staying close.

  • A bedtime story on nights you are home.
  • Prepare meals together, and clean up after each meal as a team.
  • Walk them to school and home whenever possible.
  • Make it a habit to pack lunches with them at night, to aid in getting everyone out the door quickly the next morning.
  • Instill the importance of family time by incorporating a family night into your week. Turn the phones off. Turn the computers off. Concentrate on each other. Boardgames, the occasional movie tied to a lesson, crafting, cooking. Whatever your children will enjoy.
  • Be sure you are also spending time teaching important life skills. Do something weekly, and let children continue to learn while living at home. These should be things not taught to their full potential (Or, at all.) in school, such as menu planning, couponing, shopping for necessities, freezer cooking, maintenance tasks, cleaning, wants versus needs, and more.

Downtime is important as well, for you and your children. In this hectic life, it may seem like the only time you have to relax is when you go to bed at night. However, you can make downtime a priority for your family.

  • Sit out on the porch in the evening, stargazing and talking about all that happened during the day.
  • Sit outside on Saturday mornings, sipping iced tea and chatting about the upcoming week, or what your children want to do with their lives. Lounge chairs are great for this.
  • Picnic under a tree, talking about whatever is important to your child that day.

Share with us the activities you and your children enjoy, and how you spend downtime as a family, in the comments below.

The next article will discuss further how to be a great single mom.

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