During the school year, single parents have to face the difficulty of
keeping the kids out of trouble and making them conscious about their
studies. But the most challenging part comes when the school break arrives. Many single parents are happy about getting extra time with their children but are also concerned about what to do with them while they are at work.
The best solution in such cases would be to, give your child the opportunity to contribute when plans are being made for summer time. Make sure young children have lot of interesting people to spend time with. Grandparents or an aunt or uncle who really love kids are the best option. A parent of one of their friends, who would love to take care of your child would also be a good option as they can provide peer interaction as well as adult supervision. The other good option is to send your child to summer camps wherein school teachers or camp counselors can bring positive interactions to your children. Find organizations that have activities during the summer time, such as Recreation Centers, camps, churches or temples, university programs for children, YMCA camps, health club day camps, etc. Groups that are accustomed to planning activities for children can help make your school break go more smoothly, and provide fun memories for your children.
If children will be spending part of their time home alone, make sure you feel comfortable with leaving your child alone. There are no hard and fast rules about at what age it is OK to leave a child alone. Some children are mature enough to spend some time alone at age 9, others may be very impulsive and high energy and need constant supervision until their teen years. Ask your child how he or she feels. Ask what their concerns are and how these might be addressed. Talk to your friends with children of the same age as yours.
Teach them as to what to do in case of emergencies or times they might feel scared or unsure of what they should do. Ask them specific questions such as, "What would be the first thing you would you do in case of fire?" "What would you do if a stranger came to the door?" etc. Leave a number where you can be reached. Instruct them how to use it (how to dial in a pager number or reach your extension,
etc. Leave kids a list of possible food choices for snacks or lunch. Make a list of possible activities so they will have more to chose from than just TV and video games. Create a list of incentives for helping out with specific chores or helping out around the house. Make sure you follow through with what you promise when they help out. Have children help you create a "menu" they can choose from of things to do. Check out books and tapes from library, or video rentals.
Set aside time to spend with each child individually, if you have more than one, so that they have the opportunity to process their feelings and thoughts with you without the interruptions of siblings. Each child needs to feel important and special. Individual time with each of them alone can help accomplish this. Writing a short list of accomplishments at the end of each day can help a child learn a habit that will provide them with good self-esteem for the rest of their lives. Give your child something to look forward to. Having some fun time with you, a vacation or special event to look forward to, can help a child get through the time when you have to take care of other responsibilities.
Even if the situation during the school break cannot be changed, make sure that you are open to hearing your child's feelings. Children need to feel that the adults who love them understand when they are feeling sad or disappointed or even angry. Accepting your child's feelings can help the difficult times go more smoothly.
Be good to yourself so you have energy for your children. Make sure to take some time for yourself during school break. Even taking a few minuets alone after work before you start with the evening activities can help you in having more patience and enjoy the extra time in a productive way with your children.