Find your tribe. It is hard at first when you realise friends and family are living a different reality, so find the right tribe for you. We all need community around us. You need to create your own family for you and your child(ren). That can be through sport, art, religion, business or single parent groups. Find the right people for you. If you can combat loneliness and isolation you can enjoy the journey and have strength with the struggles.
For lots of single parents, the biggest thing is isolation. How you make your house feel like home, and how you make your home feel part of a community, are really important.
Your friends and family
Keep in touch with your friends and family if you’ve had to move area. That will keep you feeling ‘grounded’ in your new place and can help if you’re feeling lonely.
Invite them over if they are not too far away.
Phone or Zoom or Facetime them if not – at least that way they can be in your living room with you (sort of).
Social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp mean you can still chat and share things with people. That can really help you to settle in. You can share all the new things in your life with them, so they still feel a big part of your family’s life.
If you can be kind to someone (for example, by offering to take the bins out), or just say hello, it can make you, and them, feel better.
This works in the reverse too: don’t be afraid to ask your neighbours for help. This could help you on the way to becoming good neighbours – if not friends.
If you’ve recently moved, why not ask for advice about the area to let them know you want to be friendly and are interested in them?
Be approachable and visible so your neighbours have a chance to say hello – for example by spending time in the front garden, sitting on the front step, or walking round the block or local park.
If your neighbours have children of a similar age to your own, why not encourage them to get to know each other? This could be a good way for your children to make new friends, and for you too. It could be your chance to meet other parents and families in your neighbourhood.
Sometimes, neighbours can make your life feel more difficult. It’s worth getting help to resolve this before it gets out of hand.
There are ‘good neighbour’ schemes across the UK to help people support one another. The Good Neighbours Network is an example.
It’s good to get involved in activities in your area. Local social media sites are a good start. Check out if there is a neighbourhood Facebook page or website or community council.
Local councils often have local news and information on their pages along with info about other organisations.
Get to know your area and what’s on: check your local community centre or library or newspaper for information about local activities and ideas of how you and your children could get involved in the local area and meet people with similar interests.
There may be ways of volunteering in your neighbourhood. The thought of this might seem a bit scary but volunteering has many rewards. You can meet new people and make new friends. You gain experience that you can put on a CV, and people who can give you a reference, if you are ever looking for a job.
If you volunteer for something that you are interested in such as a charity shop or animal shelter, you will get a lot of satisfaction from knowing you are helping others. You are also giving something back to your community.
Make new friends: take the opportunity when you can to chat with neighbours or parents at the school gate, or join a parent and toddler group.
Get support if you need it: meeting new people and getting out and about can be daunting. Have a look to see if there’s support in your area. Organisations like ours can offer support.
See our tips on connections and opportunities. These could help if you’re feeling lonely or aren’t sure how to go about meeting people.
Our local services in Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, and Lanarkshire arrange activities throughout the year, and they can also tell you about other activities in your area.
On Meetup.com you can choose from different categories and find groups near you and details of upcoming events.
You may not want other people to know that you’ve been searching for information or help from OPFS.
When browsing the internet whether on a mobile phone, tablet or computer, you leave a ‘history’ trail of pages and sites you’ve visited.
It’s impossible to completely avoid being tracked online but if you’re worried about someone knowing which sites you’ve been looking at, there are some things you can do to help cover your tracks.
If you’re using a laptop or desktop computer, try keeping another document or website open in a new tab or window while browsing. If someone comes in the room and you don’t want them to see what you’re looking at, you can quickly switch to another window or tab.
Deleting browsing history
You can delete the history of websites you’ve visited, but it’s important to know that if you delete your browsing history, someone else using the same device may notice.
If you share a tablet, mobile phone, laptop or computer with someone, they might notice that passwords or website addresses have disappeared from their history.
Find out how to remove your browsing history and other data from some of the most commonly used browsers: