Single parent families have unique needs that vary from family to family, but many of the things that people can do to help make our lives more enjoyable are universal. Some of those things include:
Befriend or mentor the children. Children of divorce need to see examples of healthy marriages, so that they have a higher chance of having a successful marriage in the future. A friend or relative can offer to take a child with them on their family fishing trip, shopping or other favorite activity. It is also important for children to see and spend time with healthy, mature singles so that they can more easily transition into adulthood.
Provide an occasional meal for the busy single parent. This will really help the weary mom or dad who is working full time or more then picking up the children at daycare to just come home and enjoy a home cooked or fast food meal that he or she did not have to prepare or purchase.
Give gift certificates for a fast food restaurant, supermarket or clothing store. This gift need not be expensive and could make a significant difference in meeting the needs of a financially strapped family.
Include the family in your special celebrations or casual events. Many single parents live away from their families of origin and would love to be invited over for a family bar-b-que or Christmas celebration. This can help instill a valuable sense of belonging in a family that does not feel like much of a family after living through the pain of divorce.
If you are handy you could be a valuable asset to a single parent family headed by a mechanically challenged person. I remember trying to figure out how to do something as simple as fixing my son’s bicycle chain. It turned into a six hour drama, and I ended up taking it to a bike shop and paying someone to fix it anyway. Many times if someone shows me how to do something, then I can do it myself, but there are still other things like changing my kitchen faucet that I was not willing to try myself even after researching it on the web, talking to a plumber and the helpful hardware store man. A handy man or woman can really be a blessing to a time and cash strapped single parent family.
Offer emotional support especially for a newly separated or divorced person and his or her children. Send an email, write a letter or make a phone call for no special reason or just to let them know you are thinking about them.
Finally, just ask how you can help meet the unique needs of the family you know. Don’t feel like you have to help meet all of their needs, as this is impossible for one person to do, but do try to find out what you feel most comfortable doing to meet their needs.
Single parent families can help each other with the above items or send the list to someone that might have asked how they could help in the past. Don’t forget to add your own needs to the list.