Coping with lockdown as a single parent

Looking after yourself, the family and a home can be a lot to juggle on your own, especially during lockdown. It’s easy to feel like you’re failing, but be gentle with yourself: you don’t have to be perfect. Taking small bites can make even the biggest challenges more manageable.

Rearview shot of a young woman and her daughter having a conversation on the porch

Managing behaviour

There’s lots for children to feel worried about right now. They’re also good at picking up anxiety from adults. Either way, it can leave them feeling less secure, and more likely to act out. These tips can help:

  • Routines help children feel settled, so have some set tasks or timings every day. Bed, bath and mealtimes are a good starting point. If they’re old enough, let your child help design the routine.
  • Schedule some quality time every day. This is space for your children to have your full attention, to play with you or talk about their day.
  • Set and stick to boundaries. If they’re old enough, let the children help choose the house rules and consequences.
  • If your child ignores a rule, don’t jump straight to the punishment. Use tell, warn and act stages to give them a chance to self-correct.
  • Give short and simple instructions. Then ask your child to repeat them back to you.
  • Give choices rather than demands. An either / or choice means they have to pick one option rather than saying no.
  • Reward and model the behaviours you want to see more of, and give lots of praise  when they do well. Say please and thank you to your child, too.

Home schooling

Teaching your children at home may sound daunting, but it’s fine to make things as flexible as you need to. If it’s an option, ask your child’s other parent for support, or try these home schooling tips.

Looking after yourself

You may have others to look after, but it’s so important to make time for yourself as well. Schedule time to put your feet up, relax or unwind with your favourite activities.

You can also try talking to your employer if you need flexibility or support to balance childcare.

It’s quite normal to feel fed-up, overwhelmed or unappreciated from time-to-time. When that happens, voice your feelings: phone a friend or post a message to a forum. You can also talk to us, using our live chat service.

Go back

How can I cope with feelings of parental loneliness?


Keeping your family healthy during lockdown


Looking after your mind in lockdown


How can I keep my children entertained at home?


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