My experiences in raising my son single handedly are limited to the periods when my wife is travelling for work. It is then that one (read a father) recognizes the true value of the effort put in by mothers in raising children.
So, apart from missing the bus on day one and forgetting the lunch coupons and water bottles on another, it was not a complete disaster. My son did give me an 8/10 for looking after him whilst mom was traveling. I will only strive harder to get to the coveted 10/10.
Going by my experiences here is my survival kits for single dads:
1. Get your basics in place: Be organised and pre-prepared about food, medicines, essential clothing, toys, books… This will ensure you have ready access to what you need at a minute’s notice, especially if the need of the hour is to distract a tired and fussy child at the end of the day.
2. List of emergency numbers: Have all the important numbers, such as that of a doctor, grandparents, babysitters, other parents, and teachers, posted on the fridge, in your mobile phone, on your office table… wherever they are likely to be just a glance away. You would need them to coordinate pick-up and drop-off, homework, play dates… and save a lot of time this way.
3. Discuss the schedule with your child: Just as it is important to plan your day, it is important to help your child plan his/her day. Once you discuss and mutually express expectations about time to study, play, watch TV and go to bed, it is easy to close key deliverables for the day. You do need to adhere to the schedule and help the child adhere to his. This way you are also setting a great example for the future.
4. Recap the day: Make time to have a ‘How was your day?’ chat with your child. Let her share her little ups and downs; comfort her, laugh with her and where required, give advice. Share a few highlights of your day. Just bond. This is also a good way to keep tabs on incidents of bullying, etc. that may take place on the playground or in the school.
5. Encourage your child to be independent: Give him the confidence to do small things independently, be it just buying a chocolate from the corner store or describing his symptoms to the doctor. It lets a child become self-reliant and confident as he grows and faces various curved balls thrown by life.
This article was first published on http://www.parentcircle.com