LindaJacobs_SingleParentingSummer

How Can Single Parents Overcome Unique Summertime Problems?

Parenting //

Upon reading the post “Dreading the summer as a single parent” a Single & Parenting leader responded with some of the concerns single parents had shared with her about the summer months.

  1. Daycare costs go up dramatically, one mom said that she usually pays for after school care and now will pay full daycare amounts. Her expenses went from $250 to over $800 a month. How can they keep costs down?
  1. Many of the parents are without their children for a month. They seem to be lost and don’t know what to do. Some parents need that time and are very refreshed by getting the break. Others are heart broken and really struggle. What ideas do you have for those who struggle when they have a month without the kids?

Childcare arrangements

Local and state Resource and Referral agencies can help you find childcare in your area. They also describe and educate you on the various types of childcare arrangements you can access as well as funding to help defer the cost of expensive summer childcare.

Mainly there are four different approved arrangements

Federal agencies such as the Child Care Development Fund can help you find resources in every state.

One thing to keep in mind is the law in your state regarding childcare. To date there are no federal childcare regulations. Each state develops its own regulations and licensees. Before you leave your child with anyone make sure that person, agency or program is approved and monitored by the governing agencies where you live.

Other childcare suggestions

  • Informal arrangements on a short-term basis might include having a neighbor watch your child one or two days a week.
  • Ask grandparents or other relatives to provide for your child one day a week
  • Access the senior/boomer population at your church. Many older people will welcome an opportunity to pour into a child’s life during the summer. Perhaps older people in your church whose grandkids don’t live close by could help out a week or two during the summer months
  • Ask a teen from your church family to help you out a couple of days a week and send your children to a formal program such as the YMCA, Salvation Army or church programs the rest of the week
  • Ask the children’s minister at your church about stay at home mothers or fathers in your church who don’t work during the summer months. Ask if they would be willing to allow you to walk their dogs, water their plants, mow their yards, etc. in exchange for them watching your children during the summer
  • If your child’s other parent is on the scene ask for them to help with child care arrangements over the summer
  • Some companies will work with single parents by allowing them to work 4 ten-hour days instead of five days a week during the summer months. It doesn’t hurt to ask
  • Access church camps during the summer months. Here is an excellent tip from the article, Schools Out, Now What? “Check camp ratings, state licensure and safety standards — and make sure day camps have procedures in place for dealing with restraining orders and unplanned visits from the other parent.”

Single parents alone during the summer

Many single parents will struggle with their child being gone for an extended length of time. Some single parents might go through a kind of withdrawal when their children are gone.

The church can step in and help many single parents during this time. Contact the single parent and ask what you can do to help them survive their summer without the kids.

Set up a movie night where single parents come together to watch a movie. Ask one of the single parents whose kids are gone to be in charge of this event or serve on a team to get a couple of evenings of movie watching.

If your church hosts Single & Parenting encourage the lonely single parent to join your group. If your church has a weekly bible study or small group, let the single parent know about that group. In other words get them connected to other single parents in your church family.

More ideas for the single parent

  • Go on a one-day outing on the weekend. Invited other single parents to join you
  • Tackle a project you’ve been putting off
  • Take time to clean out closets and reorganize your home
  • Read some books this summer not related to your job or parenting issues
  • Get involved in a single parent forum where you can exchange ideas about parenting alone

For more ideas on summer and children of divorce see

10 tips for helping the single parent whose kids are on an extended visit to the other parent

Question of the week: How do I help kids of divorce transition into their summer visitation schedule?

Got Missing Kids this Summer? How To Stay In Touch with Them and The Single Parent

Summertime and the kids of divorce– how you can help

Single parents and summer: why your church should help and how it can

When children leave for visitation: the first few times are the hardest

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About the Author

Linda has been a children’s ministry director, developed DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids, dc4k.org), operated a therapeutic child care, and has extensive experience at successfully accommodating challenging behaviors. She currently serves as the DC4K Ambassador and Professional blogger at http://blog.dc4k.org.