Oxford Dictionaries Online defines a strategy as "a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim." It's reasonable to believe that single mothers aim to maintain their sanity while raising children who go on to live successful lives. Single mothers need effective strategies for managing stress, their finances, their households and children's behavior. Having strategies to keep your mental and emotional health intact, according to Helpguide.org, allows you to handle many of life's challenges, including those associated with single parenting.
Organization and Time Management
An important element to add to your parenting strategy is getting organized and managing time effectively. Mark bill due dates and doctor's appointments on a calendar. Keep your environment clean to facilitate clear thinking. Manage your time more effectively by creating to-do lists, prioritizing your tasks and saying "No" to nonessential tasks, says the Mayo Clinic. When you're organized and unforeseen circumstances arise -- such as your child's impromptu trip to the emergency room -- you'll be better able to adapt to these changes and get back on track. Being organized also helps to minimize stress so that you don't feel overwhelmed with tasks.
Prioritize Time with Children
It's important for single mothers to carve out time from their busy schedules to spend quality time with their children, recommends the Mayo Clinic. Even if you only have a few minutes to spend with your child each day, use that time to connect with your child, and to show him that he is an important part of your life. This will help him feel valued in your eyes, which will increase his self-esteem. Read to your child before he goes to bed, or allow him to help you cook dinner in order to spend time with him. Try to make plans at least once or twice a month to go on a family outing -- even if it's a trip to your local park followed by a picnic lunch -- to create more opportunities for bonding.
Using an effective disciplinary model is an important part of your parenting strategy. Effective discipline techniques will help your child learn and display appropriate behavior, which will minimize behavior problems at home and school. It's important that you're consistent with discipline and follow through with consequences, say KidsHealth. For a school-aged child, use time-outs to let your child think about the effects of his inappropriate behavior, and be sure to teach him how to display the behavior that you desire, such as using his words instead of hitting others when he's angry. KidsHealth says school-aged and older kids will benefit when you impose consequences for inappropriate behavior, such as removal of television privileges if your child fails a test because he didn't study like you'd instructed him.
One of the most significant components to your parenting strategy is stress reduction. If you constantly feel tense and overwhelmed and fail to use effective coping strategies to manage your stress, you'll be minimally effective in your parenting duties. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you incorporate a healthy diet and regular exercise into your routine as a preventive measure against high stress. Other stress reduction strategies include having a support network, using self-care techniques such as a bubble bath or listening to calming music. Mindfulness techniques, such as yoga and meditation, also help to reduce stress. Whatever techniques you choose for stress reduction, be sure to use them often to encourage happiness in your life.
- Oxford Dictionaries: Strategy
- Mayo Clinic: Children's Health: Single Parent: Tips for Raising a Child Alone
- Mayo Clinic: Stress Management: Time Management: Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Productivity
- HelpGuide.org: Improving Emotional Health: Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health
- KidsHealth: Disciplining Your Child
- Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images