March is officially here, which means that it’s time for a shiny new #GetKind theme! (Hooray!) While we’ve dedicated the past few months to nurses, doctors, medical workers, and mentors, we’ve decided to shift gears and get back to those in our lives who have done so many of those things while raising a family all on their own. This month, Random Acts has chosen as its official #GetKind theme, “Single Parents” — because no matter how heroic they are, all parents can use a helping hand every now and again.
A report by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015 showed that there were nearly 14 million single parents living in the United States. The report also revealed that those single parents were raising a sum total of over 21 million children, and that a portion of those families were struggling to get by on a single income. While many single parents today do, in fact, have the means to live comfortably, the undue burden placed on them emotionally and mentally can also take a toll.
How can I #GetKind for single parents?
There are plenty of ways you can help single moms, dads, and guardians — and no matter how big or small your act of kindness may be, it will undoubtedly leave a positive impression. Here are a few ways you can accomplish that:
- Ignore the myths. There are plenty of falsehoods out there surrounding the notion of single parenthood — ones that paint them as “broke”, “unemployed”, or “desperate”, according to these single moms. Instead of sitting back and letting society dictate how the world sees single parents, do your very best to ask them what they need, or what their struggles are — then lend an ear and hear them out.
- Lend a hand where they need it! Of course, as mentioned before, you should always ask single parents what they need help with specifically, but there are a few areas in which all parents can use assistance. Whether that means offering to babysit so they can have a night off or running a few errands for them if they’re busy with the kids, every little act of kindness matters.
- Tell them you care. Sometimes we assume that our actions speak for themselves, but a little handwritten note or email message to say “I’m here for you if you need me” can seriously brighten someone’s day, even if you don’t think it will. Not good with words? Draw something, put together a crafty card, or leave sticky notes on their door with simple messages of love.
- Offer to tutor their kids or help with big school projects! Single parents have plenty of things on their plate — and the last thing on their mind might be gluing together a school science fair project for a little one that may have procrastinated (it’s okay kids, we’ve all been there).
- Throw a picnic or family date for them! Kids love playing outside, so the next time the weather turns around, offer to put together a day of fun activities at the park, complete with healthy snacks, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk. Live in a place where it’s still snowing? Plan an outing to the local aquarium or museum and give mom or dad a little break from having to be in charge!
- Get involved (and get active)! Plenty of new, single parents are left with the unpleasant reality of not having the same luxuries that other parents do — especially when it comes to maternity/paternity leave or family medical leave. Do what you can to get educated on the laws, then get active for the people you love by speaking out. Everyone deserves an equal shot at a healthy family life, after all.
- Brighten their day. Flowers on the doorstep? Balloons at school? Homemade soup and biscuits? Go for it! Take a sweet surprise to the single parents you know and warm their heart and yours.
There are a myriad of ways you can help Random Acts #GetKind for single parents this month. Will you join us?