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Banish First-Day Jitters: Tips for Heading Back to School

tildaWho doesn’t love the magic that only summer vacation promises? However, as those relaxing summer days come to an end, it’s never too early to talk and listen to your children about their hopes and concerns for the first day of school. First-day jitters are normal for kids and their parents. Often, it’s the fear of the unknown and those “what-ifs” that jangle the nerves. Incorporate these suggestions as the summer’s end marches closer.

Out with the Old  

Set aside a day or two to go through last year’s clothing and supplies to see what works; make piles of items to keep, toss, and donate. Check with local churches or other organizations to find back-to-school supply and clothing drives; donate your child’s outgrown and gently used things.

Plan and Adjust Those Schedules  

Many kids scale back extracurricular activities during the summer. As late August approaches, tackle logistics by sitting down with everyone to coordinate each day. Use a dry-erase weekly calendar to track activities. Discuss educational nuts and bolts like homework routines so they’re kept consistent. For older kids and families, synch everyone’s calendar apps so you’re all on the same page. If your kiddo plays a sport or has a job, make sure to account for the time those activities require while also ensuring your child gets enough sleep.

Easier (If Not Happier) Mornings  

Elementary-aged kids need at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Before school resumes, start your kiddo on a regular bedtime and wake-up routine to reduce first-day stress. Pack lunches and backpacks, and lay out outfits the night before. Plan breakfasts ahead of time, too.

Back-to-School Prep  

Not much trumps the excitement of shopping for brand new school supplies. Get the kids involved! Schedule a date day to take your kiddo shopping for new clothing and shoes; make it extra-special with a “just the two of you” lunch or ice cream treat to celebrate a new beginning — and all those new supplies and clothes!

Many school supply lists include a request for headphones. Many over-the-ear options, which are better for little ears, are relatively inexpensive; you can find a good pair for less than $100. It’s a worthwhile investment your kiddo can use while listening to music, playing online games, or completing online exercises for school.

Help Calm Anxiety  

When your child’s a bit anxious about his new teacher or new school, stay positive. Attend an open house, especially if it’s scheduled before the new year starts, so you and your child can meet the new teacher and get acclimated to the school. Encourage your kiddo to get excited about the new year by reminding him about past trips, projects, and fun events — and upcoming opportunities to learn cool stuff this year.

Know other kids in your child’s class? Set up a few playdates before school’s back in session so that the kids can reconnect. It’s a great way to rekindle friendships, especially if the kids haven’t seen each other all summer.

Smoothing the Transition for Younger Students  

Younger children who are moving to a different school or starting school for the first time have other fears and anxieties that you calm with these suggestions.

If your kiddo attended the same school last year but has moved to a new grade/new teacher, remind her of the routine, and invite her to share the differences and fun changes to anticipate. If it’s her first year, visit the school a few times — check out the playground and see if it’s open and whether you can take a tour, even if you’ll attend orientation. The more she sees the school, the less she’ll worry on the first “official” day.

Create a goodbye routine that may include a special goodbye phrase. Plan something special to celebrate the end of the first day — a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies waiting at home or dinner at her favorite restaurant.

Although it’s still too soon time to trade swimsuits for backpacks, remind your kids that the upcoming school year promises a different kind of discovery, exploration, and fun — and that nerves are normal, too!

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

 

Tips On Finding Summer Programs For Children

Summer is here and the yearly dilemma for parents can be what to with the children. Many single parents rely on school and after care while they are at work. When school is not in session, this can be a challenge. Non-profits can offer summer programs at low cost to fill this gap. An accountant mentioned that summer programs can be eligible for a “Child independent care credit” when a working parent has an income. This means that some of the money spent on programs counts as child care for a tax break.

A rabbi whom I interviewed, suggested calling one’s local synagogue or Jewish Community Center (JCC) to see what is being offered for children. She said that there were sleep-away camps, particularly in the Northeast. A woman at the JCC, said in larger communities there are day programs. The JCC can also be a resource for what else is available where one resides. The Protestants and Catholics have Vacation Bible School which gives parents a break when they need some child care.

There are non-religious options, such as The Boys and Girls Clubs. The one I contacted charges $700 for the entire summer or $350/month. This is all day sessions which includes food and many activities. Local community colleges and recreation centers have their own programs which can be a little less than other day camps. There are programs for special interests, such as chess camp, with a low fee so that all can attend. These people do it for the love of chess (or whatever it is) and to get youngsters excited about it too.

Summer provides the chance to take advantage of the special family events around town. Go to street fairs and festivals to enjoy the lively atmosphere, music and great food. This is almost like being on vacation in Greece, Africa or other exotic locales. Many parks have concerts which is a nice opportunity to have a picnic with the kids. Some cities show movies outside with food carts nearby. Play tourist in your own city. It is amazing how many people have not been to museums, the planetarium, zoo or other attractions right on their own door step. Go to a larger metropolis nearby or the countryside for a change of scenery. There is an artist colony on the periphery of our city. My sons and I feel as if we have been on vacation after browsing through the offbeat shops and indulging on homemade ice cream plus other treats.

Get away, whether it is to the shore, lakeside cabin or a farm nearby. My mother took me to Wildwood, New Jersey every summer. Swimming in the ocean and walking along the boardwalk created lasting memories for me. When parents and other relatives live out of town, going for a visit can be an affordable adventure. There are new places for the kids to discover. My sons were thrilled to visit a farm near the city where my mother lived. The tractor and fabulous milkshakes were an extra bonus. They picked blueberries and strawberries which is not possible on their home turf. What may seem like a mundane activity to you can be a unique experience for your child.

Some single parents send their children to their parents for a chunk of the summer and use that time to work extra hours. They accumulate more time off to spend with their youngsters upon their return. Or, when their offspring is with the other parent, they put in overtime and have more days off with the little ones. My mother sent me to sleep away camp for several weeks every summer and worked during that period. I had a blast and she was off when I was home. Camps can be pricy, so perhaps make them a special treat and not the main course for their summer break.

A young teenager may be too old for summer programs and too young for employment. Parents in this case recommended a membership to the local pool or recreation center. This gets them out of the house and interacting with others. Some children’s museums and other program invite this age group to be a junior intern and entertain the young campers. My sons did the summer reading programs at our library with other activities, such as magic shows. Young teens were on hand to make this program a success. These individuals can be volunteers for various charities during their summer break. My sons volunteered with a cat rescue group and that encouraged me to become one too.

Make the most of each moment during the summer, because one day your little ones will be in their twenties just as my sons are now.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities - Copy (2)   Ways To Bond With Your Children

Did you know the number of divorces has gone down since the 1990’s? It’s true, there are fewer divorces now in the United States than there have been in two decades. But that is little comfort to families who go through it and you might be feeling as though your bond with your children has been compromised in the face of the emotion and stress even the most amicable splits bring.

It is important to nurture your family with quality time. Not only will it help to keep your family close during hard times, but give your children the support they need to adapt and grow. It brings positivity to their daily life (and yours).

Here are five easy, fun activities that you can do with your family to help bring you closer together.

Cook a Meal

Every week my family and I spend the evening making individual pizzas with our favorite toppings, then after dinner we watch a movie. It is the perfect weeknight activity that gives us a chance to spend time together, talk, and do something relaxing at the end of a long day.

Cooking a meal is such a simple way to connect and a lot of fun, too.

Take a Hike

Living in Utah, I consider myself so very lucky. We have trails everywhere, gorgeous mountains, endless lakes…it is an outdoors lovers dream. We try and get out once a month to hike a new trail all together.

It is an adventure each time and my kids love taking pictures on their phones to post on Snapchat to their friends. It has even gotten a few of their buddies involved and hiking with us!

Find the natural beauty where you live and explore it as a family.

Game Night

Whether it is video games or board games, a bit of friendly competition is a lot of fun. There are so many options, as well. RPG tabletops, card games, multiplayer video games…you can find several that will tickle your family’s fancy.

You just might find that game night becomes the favorite night of the week!

Volunteer Together

A less popular, yet amazing, option for bonding time. Volunteering is a way of helping a cause, doing some good, assisting others and still spending time together. All while teaching lessons of empathy and gratitude.

Soup kitchens, nature cleanups, animal shelters…you can find something that works for your family.

Find Local Meetups

Families will often get together for fun activities as a group a few times a month. That might be potluck dinners, park days or local events. It is worth checking websites like Meetup.com for information on what is happening in the neighborhoods around you.

All it takes is a bit of time and creativity and you will be overflowing with ideas on how to spend time and bond with your kids!

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution Tactics

Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution TacticsIt goes without saying that divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Even when it is as civil and cooperative as possible, it is disruptive to the lives of both the divorcing parties and those around them. Children are especially affected and a divorce can lead to emotional and behavioral issues that are difficult to address.

But in spite of its difficulties, a divorce can be the perfect time for a teaching moment. Your teen is facing a lot of stress in their life, not only related to the changes happening in your home and family. Teaching them coping strategies can help them along the way. Also, as you are going through the process of conflict resolution, you can teach them right alongside you.

Why Young People Fight

Listening to your teen or adolescent talk about their day, you may have noticed a trend – there is a lot of drama. Welcome to the world of developing minds and social skills. Young people are prone to fighting and even outright cruelty.

Why is that? Part of it is the underdevelopment of certain areas of the brain, which includes risk assessment, emotional control, and impulse control. As they age and gain more experience, these parts of the brain will also grow and start to more impact their decision-making skills and ability to manage difficult emotions.

Until then, you can teach them alternative strategies for conflict resolution that help them avoid fighting, whether that is emotional or physical.

Effective Conflict Resolution Tactics

When teaching teenagers conflict resolution tactics, there are a couple tactics which are more effective than others.

  • Encourage communication. It may sound over-simplified, but most conflicts can be resolved through communication. Encouraging them to sit down and talk about their feelings and what they think is happening is an effective way of promoting a peaceful end of a fight. It also teaches how important listening can be, given how many conflicts are started from a miscommunication in the first place.
  • Ask them to consider the other point of view. “How would you feel if you were in their position?” This is one of the most powerful questions when dealing with a conflict. Children can become very focused on their own feelings and miss the fact that the other person has their own to deal with. By making them consider the other person, teens have a chance to build empathy.

While teens may have hot tempers due to a variety of circumstances, with patience, it is not impossible to teach them how correctly deal with conflict in their lives.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Ways to Help Your Teen Get Their First Job

thumbnail_WaystoHelpYourTeenGetTheirFirstJob - CopyMoney can be a touchy topic in any household, especially if you’re a single parent who’s been through a divorce. So nudging your teen to secure gainful employment can work out well for both of you.

As a parent, you can use your teen’s first job to prepare them for adult life, encourage their independence, and impart some lessons on life and personal finance. All these will serve your son or daughter well as they embark on becoming successful adults. Additionally, you’ll get some reprieve as your teen starts funding their individual interests and hobbies, easing the strain on your purse.

Your teen, on the other hand, will enjoy the freedom and independence brought about by earning personal cash. Securing a job and performing well could also give them a leg-up on their college applications, making them stand out from other applicants.

However, you should avoid pushing your teen to take a job that they’re unhappy or uncomfortable with just for the sake of a paycheck. This approach is likely to backfire and foster a negative attitude towards work.

So how do you go about helping your teen land a job? Start with these three tips:

1. Help your teen with their job search.

Sit down with your child and discuss their interests then compare that with the jobs that are available. Many teens are often disappointed to learn that entry-level jobs differ greatly from their dream jobs. Let your teen know that first jobs don’t necessarily have to be in line with their future careers and they won’t be stuck there forever.

Also don’t just assume that it’s easy to land a job or that your tech-savvy teen will know where to start their job search. Give them a helping hand to trawl through online job boards and pointers on how to correctly fill out any job applications. Remind them to respond promptly to any job offers they receive.

2. Help them get ready for their interview.

It is a good idea to hold mock interviews to practice interview skills with your teen so they become comfortable answering common interview questions. Also go over their expected body language (i.e., firm handshake, making eye contact) as well as their dress code. The latter is especially important because first impressions matter and your teen should make the most of it.

Additionally, encourage them to ask questions of their own to clear up anything they haven’t understood during the interview. This indicates their level of confidence and interest in the job.

3. Encourage a positive attitude and strong work ethic.

Your teen’s first job can be a drag sometimes, but they can still make the most of it. There’s always something they can learn, e.g. how to handle cranky customers professionally, how to work with people from different backgrounds, etc.

Encourage your teen to keep an open mind and positive attitude at work. Things like arriving promptly to work, being respectful to everyone, filling in for others when required and meeting work expectations will help them stand out and show their boss that they have what it takes to succeed.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Divorce Changes Relationships – Both Family and Friends

Divorce brings all sorts of surprises which includes how much it changes relationships. Ones you took for granted may collapse or end up being the foundation of your support. Keep in mind that those close to you are processing their own feelings and may not be able to be an immediate pillar of support. Your parents may genuinely be fond of your spouse and are sorting through their mixed emotions. Family does not have to go into mourning when they realize that their ties are not being severed, but can see your former spouse at holiday get-togethers.

IN-LAWS

The relationship with in-laws will be different. One woman decided to have a business-like one with her former mother-in law which focused only on the children. She contacts this grandmother about their school and sporting events and takes the youngsters over to her house. They are civil, but not warm to each other, which is okay.

MUTUAL FRIENDS

Mutual friends can be trickier and may choose sides. If having an amicable divorce where you plan to stay in touch afterwards, get the word out to others. Their inclination may be to drop one of you, so inform them that both of you can attend the same gatherings. When couples mainly socialize together as a unit, divorce usually puts an end to that. See if it is feasible to have individual friendships post-divorce. The women meet for lattes and the fellows at another time for a sporting event. Unfortunately most of the couples we socialized with, wanted to do so only in a group. That happens and I have made some great new friends post-divorce.

NON-SUPPORTIVE FAMILY MEMBERS

What hurts is when a few relatives or step-ones are firmly in your ex’s camp. Look at family dynamics and history to understand if there is something else to it, such as revenge. One woman who could not have children resented her sister-in-law’s daughter. The aunt had confided that this child should have been hers and was not close to the girl. When her niece later got a divorce, the aunt cut ties and stayed in touch with the ex. Luckily the niece’s sons understood the situation and felt it was the aunt’s loss only. When interviewing people, I heard more similar stories to this case. When a relative pulls away, see if in the long run it really is better. Are you putting a lot of time and energy into a relationship that is more on the toxic side, just because you are both branches on the same family tree?

Please read more:  www.divorcemag.com/blog/friends-after-divorce-how-to-deal-with-changes-to-social-circle

Children’s View on Divorce

Parents may feel that they are sailing through divorce, yet children can view it quite differently. As a part-time school nurse, I have listened to many children who end up in my nurse’s office with stress induced health issues. Here is what kids wish their parents knew:

  • We are not property that has to be divided equally. One youngster developed an eye twitch after his parents’ divorce. They tried to be fair splitting assets and this carried over to shared care 50/50. The boy did not like the frequent switches to each parent’s home. I spoke to the mother about this boy’s concern. The parents were able to negotiate that he would spend 75% at his mum’s and 25% with dad. His dad would be able to pick Aiden up at his mum’s for an activity and return him there afterwards. The twitch went away with this new arrangement and Aiden enjoyed time with each parent.
  •  Do not march into battle over us. It may be appropriate in a Victorian novel to fight over a loved one, but not in this era. I had one student who spent all morning in my nurse’s office while his parents went to war in court over custody that day. His teacher sent this lad to me, since he was incapable of learning in the classroom. Reassure the child that his custody wishes will be taken into consideration. Keep kids out of the divorce drama and do not share details with them.
  •  We want to know that there will be some continuity in our lives. Let the kids know that while divorce details are still being decided, the main points in their lives will remain the same. The children will attend their current schools and maintain contact with friends. They will still go to sports practices, dance classes, scouting, or whatever activities they participate in now.
  •  We want some say in our lives. Loss of control equals ending up in my nurse’s office with headaches or stomach aches. While kids do not set boundaries or make the rules – they certainly can have some input. Let them help with family decisions, such as do we want a summer holiday, or spread treats out during the year and have a staycation? Ask what their priorities are and work on a strategy together on how to reach them.• Listen to us when we try and get your attention. Do not let a small problem turn into a big one because you are barely able to keep your head above water. I have seen a few kids develop eating disorders after parents’ divorces.Check in with your children at least weekly to let them air their concerns. Some do this at family meetings to discuss issues and go over the weekly schedule and upcoming events. Kids who feel lost in the shuffle may turn to the comfort of drugs and alcohol. When busy, doing parallel activities side by side with the kids still counts as spending time with them.• Please do not talk to me about the other parent or your frustrations with them. Kids know our strengths and weaknesses and do not require having them pointed out by the other parent. I just tell my son that both of his parents have made mistakes and he can see what worked and use that when he becomes a parent.

    Do not make excuses about the absent parent which gets our hopes up and confuses us about reality. If a parent does not pick up the child for visitation or carries through on a promise, do not defend them. That can prolong agony or give false expectations when one parent wants to step out of the picture. You do not know what is going on in the absent parent’s heart or mind, so do not give reassurances. Instead focus on the child. Acknowledge the child’s feelings, saying that you can see she is disappointed/frustrated. Perhaps introduce a diversion, such as suggesting she call a friend now for a pizza sleepover.If you feel that your children are not adjusting to the divorce situation, then consider taking them to meet with a divorce coach or therapist.

    Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

Getting Along with In-laws

Your spouse may be under their parents’ control and this becomes more apparent after the wedding. Instead of putting you first- his/her parents may retain their position of being in charge of their life. There are ways to loosen those ties without severing them completely.

1. Get some clear boundaries. Robert Frost was correct when he stated “Good fences make good neighbors.” Set up your fences (boundaries) with your in-laws to make sure that you are all on the same page. They may be used to just popping in whenever they please with family and friends. Let know that your policy is for everyone to call first. If you have a health issue, that can be your excuse. One woman with lupus explained that she required naps and down time and even had a locked gate to keep out unwanted visitors.

2. Do not give your in-laws your house key for emergencies. Instead, give it to a neighbour or friend. Even if you are out of town, that can be an opportunity to snoop. One woman was stark naked when her in-laws walked into her house unannounced. If they have keys, have the locks changed, stating that too many people have access to your house keys.

3. Set up guidelines with your spouse regarding what personal information can be shared with others, whether it is financial or intimate subjects. If in-laws are nosey, be vague or say that is between Jerry and me.

4. In-laws may give unsolicited advice, no matter how loving they are. Have some stock answers ready for this barrage of suggestions. Some are: “I’ll check on that”, “I will get the pediatrician’s input” or “that is interesting.” Some savvy women pre-empted unwanted advice by asking specifically what to do in a situation. Some answers were actually helpful and it cut down on the amount of unwelcomed advice.

divorcedmoms.com/articles/the-dreaded-inlaw

Ways to Start New Holiday Traditions Post-Divorce

IMG_1410Divorce is a time to start anew with holiday traditions. Have a pizza party and ask your children what rituals they enjoy and what would they like to skip. You may be surprised with their responses. We get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season and our kids may just want to chill out next to the Christmas tree. When I was married, I annually threw a big bash for my husband’s colleagues and clients, not realizing what a dent it made in the time I spent with my boys. I tackled holiday rituals as if checking them off a “to-do” list, instead of being totally present in the fun moments with my sons. Now we watch Christmas programs on TV and have quick meals. They ditched making frosted sugar cookies and now decorate a gingerbread house from a kit. This is an example of giving a former tradition a new twist.

How To Build New Holiday Traditions After Divorce:

1. Streamline activities to free up more time for relaxation. Make two types of cookies instead of ten. Some moms go to a “Christmas cookie exchange” where each participant brings a lot of only one type of cookie and everyone goes home with a variety. Keep holiday meals simple, yet elegant. You do not have to cook everyone’s favourite dish, alternate them different years. I cook an already pre-cooked pot roast and do my veggies the night before. Then I actually enjoy Christmas Eve and Day with my small family, and not tethered to the stove.

2. Start new holiday hosting traditions with your family. Alert family members that with your divorce situation, you are unable to host Christmas dinner. Or have it potluck, with you supplying the place, utensils, and hot cider. Perhaps you would be willing to host a family get-together with soup, salad, cookies and board games a few days before or after Christmas. It is hard to say no, but offer suggestions for new Christmas family gatherings.

3. Do free Christmas activities on a tight budget. Go to your city’s tree lighting ceremony or check out Christmas light displays. We go downtown and walk amid the lovely Christmas lights and then get hot chocolate or lattes at a coffee shop which is open late. My sons and I go to a live nativity with a multitude of adorable animals. That church has carollers, cookies, and hot drinks which adds to the festivity.

divorcedmoms.com/articles/how-single-moms-make-christmastime-memorable-family-time

Short cuts during Holidays

IMG_1420The holiday season is sneaking up on us again along with endless to-do-lists and frenzied shopping. How to keep your sanity, good mood and stay ahead of the game? The secret is taking short cuts and doing tasks ahead of time. One may have court dates, mediation or collaborative sessions and feel too drained to join in the festivities. Pick the holiday celebrations that bring you the most joy and do not feel obligated to attend every one.

  • If you are usually the one hosting Christmas dinner or the family gathering, then it is time to have a frank discussion. Let others know in advance that you are no longer up to doing this with your divorce and offer some suggestions. The holiday dinner could rotate every year to a different family member’s house. Having it potluck makes it easier on the hosts.

One divorced mum decided that family holiday meals would be at a nice restaurant so no one was chained to the kitchen or on clean up duty.

  • Bundle tasks together to free up some time for relaxation. I write my Christmas cards and letters while enjoying a holiday movie on the telly with my sons. Have a wine party with pals while you each wrap some of your Christmas presents. You get a chore done while partying. Spend time with a godchild while you bake Christmas cookies.
  • Cheating is okay. Not every dish has to be made from scratch. Good Housekeeping magazine for example, has a meal or single product from a variety of stores which is blind tested and then judged. These tasters rate them on most like homemade or best flavours. Take the winner, dump the packaging, place it on your nice china, and wait for the compliments. I buy pre-cooked meat for some holiday meals and heat it up with my homemade herb marinade. My sons enjoy it. www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/coping-with-divorce-at-christmas/

Empty Nest article on Maria Shriver’s web site

It is that time of year, the kids are leaving for college and leaving us with an Empty Nest. After all the years of driving them to school, making dinners and having pizza nights, we will be having an eerily quiet house. Many of us wish we could take back those nights we worked too late or missed school plays, and turn back the clock. Some of us are still adjusting to a recent divorce and now have to face another life changing event…our children leaving home Remember the Empty Nest syndrome is a form of grief, as we are mourning the possibility that our children will never be living under our roofs full-time again.

How does one escape the empty nest doldrums?

1. Have a plan for an immediate adventure or fun event as soon as your child leaves for college. My friend took her youngest to college last August in New York City. After getting her daughter settled in, she stayed with her college roommate whom she had not seen in two decades. Her pal lived just outside the city and they had so much fun that she felt a little guilty for not missing her daughter right away. She then went on to visit her sister in a nearby state for more good times.

2. Nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge the pain that you are suffering, and seek some remedies. Mine was to meet a friend for a latte and get a blissful pedicure after my son left. I got a stack of favorite British magazines and dove into them while munching on high quality chocolate.

3. Reach out to others in the same situation. I get together with my fellow Empty Nesters for films and fun. I joined two MeetUp.com groups for a variety of activities. See if there are any groups that you might like, such a book club or a hiking one. Some women that I know became more active in the groups that they were already in. Please read more…
mariashriver.com/blog/2014/11/6-ways-to-transitions-from-single-parent-to-empty-nest-divorced-moms/

Balancing Work and Family Life as a Single Parent

It is possible to keep one’s sanity and sense of humor, yet still be a single parent in the workforce. The trick is to be extra organized and do as much as possible when the kids are with the co-parent. It is challenging stepping back into a career when being a stay-at-home mom, or changing to full-time. These tips make life a bit easier.

  1. Work more during visitation. I went to my father’s every other weekend and my nurse mother worked at a hospital during that time. She also picked up extra shifts for the two weeks that I was on vacation with my father and at camp. Another woman worked 8-3 without a formal lunch break. She then went into the office for five hours every Saturday while the kids were at visitation. Since the office was closed, it was peaceful enabling her to get ahead with work. See if you can build flexibility into your job. A dad might work extra on the weekend that he is not with the kids.
  2. Make a huge quantity of lasagne or another dish, and freeze single portions (your work lunches) and family size ones. When you are tired – reheat with a prepared salad. Do a cooking marathon when the kids are at visitation. I buy organic, but yummy prepared meals to give to hungry fellows in a hurry. My sons like Trader Joe’s pot pies and their frozen meat which is quick to cook.
  3. Team up with other single parents to have potlucks or share some tasks. Three moms decided to rotate cooking evening meals, each doing one night a week. One cooks enough for the other two families and packs up the complete meals into containers. They are delivered to those houses nearby and for the next two evenings, she is off the hook for providing dinner. These three have been doing this arrangement for years and treasure those blissful cooking-free nights.
  4. Nurture yourself. If you are frazzled, then you are less able to give your full attention to the kids. Pop in for a pedicure or an occasional facial. Indulge in high end, but low cost organic plant based skin care, such as Boot’s Botanic line. My skin is smooth and I feel heavenly. Sitting on the couch reading a magazine with a cat on my lap is so relaxing. Do what rejuvenates you. Some divorced dads got back into sports and enjoy the camaraderie as well as increasing physical well-being.    Please read more …  divorcedmoms.com/articles/balancing-single-parenting-and-work-10-tips-for-the-overwhelmed