Raising kids in a low-income family can be stressful especially to single parents. When you can barely support yourself with what you get to take home each payday, it becomes an even bigger challenge to raise a child or two. But then, many kids who came from low-income families grew up to be healthy, happy, and well-adjusted adults. Kids who can from a rich background have more in terms of material things. But kids don’t necessarily need the best and most expensive things just to experience a good level of well-being.
According to reports, 23% of kids live in single-parent households in the U.S. While some single parents managed to land good-paying jobs, many were not so lucky. The good news is, there are things one can do to stay on top of your finances despite the minimum wage and raise happy, healthy, and emotionally healthy kids.
Learn How to Manage Your Finances
Raising kids is nowhere cheap. They need many things plus more considerations if they have special needs. Regardless of the number of children, financial planning and strict budgeting are both the key and challenge to raise them.
Start by crafting a budget, stick to it, and update as needed. Dedicate one day each week to understand your finances, reduce expenses on things your kids don’t necessarily need, and use the money for the necessities. Learn when to say no to your kids but make sure to teach them why food, shelter, education, and bills payment matters more than new toys and expensive clothes.
It can be heartbreaking to say no to what your kids want. But teaching them what matters more and how delayed gratification works will make them appreciate the value of every dollar spent. If they really want something, you can teach them to save for it or wait for a special occasion like their birthdays.
Don’t take saving for a rainy day fund for granted. If you often find yourself skipping your savings or forgetting to make payments on time, automate your finances. This will help you have enough funds to cover for emergencies like if you need to take your kids to a trusted dental clinic for toothaches or even the hospital in case they get sick.
Don’t forget about taking advantage of the tax breaks available in your area. There are also several government assistance programs for single parents. Check if you are qualified and you might receive house, medication, child care, and even education grants for your kids.
Get Yourself and Your Kids Organized
It is so easy to give in to a messy schedule and try to fit everything within a day. Most single parents have more than one job just to bring more money back home. But if you take the time to organize your day, you will find it easier to get things done and still have enough time to spend quality moments with the kids.
You may be lucky to have a family member, friend, or even a neighbor watching over the kids while you’re out working late. But remember that your kids need your presence and guidance more. Ensure you spend time with your kids each day to eat at least one meal, help them with their homework, and if possible, tuck them to bed.
Make time to listen to their stories, hear their problems, and be there especially when they need you the most. Create a routine so that the kids will know what to expect on weekends and weekdays. The consistency of a predictable routine gives kids a sense of security which is important for their well-being.
A routine will also give you peace of mind. This will help you go on autopilot and stop forgetting important things planning your meals for the week, packing your kids’ lunch for school, and keeping up with the housework.
Don’t forget to give your kids age-appropriate responsibilities to make childcare and household chores a lot less stressful. This will help them become independent and learn the value of hard work and responsibility while they are still young. This will also eliminate the need to hire additional help or babysitting services.
Make Time for Yourself
You have lots of responsibilities to take care of and bills to pay. But that does not mean you should already forget about taking good care of yourself. Your mental health also matters or else everything else will end in vain.
Make time to spend a few minutes each day to do things that make you feel good. This can mean taking a short walk to the park, grocery shopping or even watching your kids while they sleep. With a bit of me-time each day, you will have more energy to take on everyday challenges and more love to give to your family.
Single parents with low-income often end up being stressed up out. But this does not mean you can no longer raise your kids well. With the right financial decisions and creating a schedule that works well for both you and your kids, you can raise them well to become happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adults.