How to Manage a Single Parent Household

Housekeeping Tips for Single Parents

Staying on top of the housework can be difficult for any parent, but single parents, who have to manage it all on their own, may find it especially tough. Assigning chores to the kids is one way to help lighten the load, as long as you give them age-appropriate tasks. For example, kids as young as 2 and 3 can start contributing with simple jobs such as picking up toys, putting dirty clothes in the hamper or helping to put away groceries.

Having your kids pitch in is not only an appropriate way to help keep the house in order, but also an opportunity to teach personal responsibility -- and the subsequent rewards that may come with following through, too. If you can't afford to administer a monetary allowance as a reward on a regular basis, try creating other incentives, such as a system in which your child earns "points" for every task completed. The points could later be cashed in for something that matches his or her particular interests, such as tickets for a sporting event or concert.

Here are some chores to consider when making a household chart for your family:

  • Picking up and putting away toys
  • Making the bed and/or changing the sheets
  • Sorting or folding laundry
  • Dusting and/or polishing
  • Doing the dishes
  • Taking out the garbage and recycling
  • Vacuuming
  • Yard work, such as raking and lawn mowing

You could also break up chores by area by putting each child in charge of tidying his or her own bedroom, but switching off duties for shared places such as the living room.

With or without the help of the kids, try to break up household chores into daily, weekly and monthly segments. For example, though it might be tempting to let the dishes sit overnight, waking up to a clean sink can help you start the day off on the right foot. On the other hand, making laundry a weekly event probably makes the most sense both time-wise and economically. Consider waking up even just 15 minutes earlier a few days a week to make time to get some of the smaller items out of the way. Also, if you already enlist the help of an at-home childcare provider, you might explore the possibility of a slight wage increase to have him or her cover some of the more basic tasks on your behalf.

Between work and managing a household -- plus everything your kids have going on -- it can be tough to remember where and when you have to be at your next stop. Read on to learn some tips for keeping your schedule in order.