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Guest Blog – The Single Dad’s Survival Guide

Guest Blog by Daniel Sherwin of DadSolo.com

According to the National Center for Fathering, the rate of single dads is growing 6 percent a year. Even if you were already an active parent, chances are being a single father is a completely different experience. Here are some tips and advice from Thrive After Birth on going it alone and becoming the best dad you can be.

If you’re preparing for young children to enter the home, there are a ton of easy hacks when it comes to proofing your living space. First, you’ll need to go through your house and make a thorough list of everything that could potentially be harmful. You’ll want to place a lock on the fridge door and various doorknobs in order to keep specific rooms inaccessible. You’ll also want to lock cabinets and drawers so they’re not opening them and using them to climb up.

With that in mind, you’ll also need to secure any heavy items to the wall so they don’t topple over. Keep an eye out for floor vents as small toys can get stuck in them, and be sure to place corner softeners on counters or furniture that may have too sharp an edge. There are tons of dangerous chemicals in common household cleaning supplies that you’ll need to make sure are out of reach.

In the bathroom, make the faucet in the tub safe with a cute spout cover so children don’t bump their heads on it, add a tub mat to prevent slips and falls, and fasten a rubber band around the toilet paper so they don’t unravel it excessively. You should get a toilet lid lock and hide any and all medications as well. Think about simpler window covers other than blinds, as they are easily pulled down and destroyed by tiny hands. If you have a fireplace or stairs, get protective gates so children don’t get hurt, stuck, or fall down. Perhaps most importantly, cover all your electrical outlets and place pool noodles on the doors to keep their little hands and fingers from getting jammed.

Being a single parent often results in added pressure, stress, and fatigue because you are often expected to fulfill all of the most important roles in your child’s life. Being emotionally supportive and acting as the primary disciplinarian can be a tough line to tow. However, it’s crucial that there are consistent and fair consequences if your child misbehaves. Define and model acceptable behavior, enforcing any rules you may have as well as your expectations.

Doing so is easiest when you’ve created a routine. Kids thrive on structure, so try to keep a regular meal and bedtime so they feel stable and know what to expect. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Join a neighborhood carpool to make school drop-offs and pickups easier, find a friend to vent to, and remember to take care of yourself. And keep in mind that an organized home promotes positivity and lessens the likelihood that your children will argue and complain.

Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty or worry about their lack of female role models. Instead, make sure you set aside enough time every day to bond with your children. Embrace the opportunity to raise them and show love in your own unique way. Reading them stories, letting them help you cook and fold laundry, or taking them to the park are all ways of cultivating meaningful relationships between you and your kids. Remember that it takes time to heal, so cut yourself some slack and embrace your newfound definition of fatherhood.

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash.