Top tips from single parents

We've collected practical tips from the experts, single parents themselves, to give you advice and ideas. Filter by topic or find out more by following the links.

Keeping calm

Never call your ex-partner names in front of your children... tell them the best parts whenever possible and leave it up to the child to decide if the other parent is worth it.

Mum

More on communicating with your ex

Topics:

Try making a 'daddy days' calendar

I made sure that the kids saw him and that they didn’t see any anger between me and him - I tried to hide that fact. The kids need to see visual things so I put up a calendar of daddy days so they could see when they would next see him, because time doesn’t mean anything to them unless they can see it.

Mum, 2 children, age 7 and 4

More help supporting your kids through separation

Topics:

Always be honest

My son’s dad has spent time in prison and had no interest in contacting/seeing his son. I was always honest with my son and gave him as much information as was appropriate for his age. I was careful to never criticise his dad and always said it was the drugs that made him do the bad things and that he was a really nice guy when not on drugs. Now he is 12 he is finding out for himself what his dad is like. It is hard picking up the pieces but he knows that whatever happens I am here for him and that it isn't his fault his dad isn't interested
Supporting your child

Topics:

See it from both sides

It can be very easy to think everyone else is being unreasonable but not yourself, might be worth standing back and looking at the situation to see it from both sides

Mum

Communicating with your ex

Topics:

Go out of your way to make things work

1. Always try your best to play fair, it helps to view things as an unbiased outsider 2. Go out of your way to make things work, always be polite and smile 3. Remember why amicable is best, it’s in child’s best interests 4. Think of the long term, bigger picture. It does take time for everything to settle into a good routine 5. Keep a huge stash of haribo, chocolate and /or wine in :)

Mum

Communicating with your ex

Topics:

Being civil

I refuse to say bad things about [my ex] to my kids... I want them to have good memories of their father. They can make up their own minds about him in time.

Mum, 2 children

Communicating with your ex

Topics:

It gets easier

At the time it would have been helpful to know that there is an end to it, it does get better, and it does get easier to control. We’re both with other people now, my daughter's happy, we don’t argue anymore. He used to drop her off and wouldn’t go near me, give me evil looks. Standing 20 metres away and leaving her to run to me. It would have been nice to know that you will come through this.

Mum, 1 child aged 6

Information on communicating with your ex

Topics:

Let some things go

You may be strict on sugar and TV but they may not, which can create a very wobbly line for a child that is growing up and starting to push the boundaries. I have tried involving my ex-husband in conversations but it always ends in a disagreement or fight, so I have had to just accept and embrace that this is what happens in mummy’s house, and that is what happens in daddy’s house. Yes this is insanely frustrating, but honestly my advice would be to let it go. As long as your child/children are happy, being spoilt a few days a week isn’t the end of the world as long as they know the rules and boundaries in your house.

Mum, 1 child

More on making agreements with your ex

Topics:

Try syncing your free weekend with other single parents

At the weekends they’re with their dad. Then it’s for me to find things to do. That’s where the single mums at school have come in handy. They have their weekends synced so that they have their time off from the kids together. It means when you haven’t got the kids, you’ve got someone to ring and ask to do something together.

Mum, 3 children aged 1, 5 and 10

Meet other single parents at a Gingerbread group

Topics:

You can change contact arrangement as kids get older

No matter what’s happened between us, I want my son to have a dad. When my son was younger we didn’t have a set routine, but when he got older we needed a routine. We both just agreed to every other weekend. It works fine.

Mum, 1 child aged 6

Get more information on making contact arrangements

Topics:

Try to put your feelings aside

I try to be as calm as possible, talking to my ex about contact with my daughter. I have even invited him to her birthday. It’s going to be a really difficult period having him there but at the same time she wants him there, so you have kind of got to do the right thing by your child.

Mum, 1 child aged 3

Information on making contact arrangements

Topics:

Try not to blame yourself

The last thing you should do is blame yourself, you’re in no control over how somebody else behaves.

Single dad

Read more on supporting yourself

Topics:

Try not to influence your kids' views of your ex

Try not to call your ex-partner names in front of your children. Tell them the best parts whenever possible and leave it up to the child to decide if the other parent is worth it.

Single mum

Read more tips on communicating with your ex

Topics:

Focus on what you can control

I've learnt to accept that I can't control anyone else's behaviour and I focus purely on doing a good job when my little boy is with me.

Mum, 1 child

Read more about supporting yourself

Topics: