10 tips for helping the single parent whose kids are on an extended visit to the other parent





Have you ever noticed that when summer rolls around, some regularly attending kids in your ministry seem to disappear? You begin to notice that along with the kids’ disappearance, the single parent is not active.

You might have heard the children talking about visiting the other parent for an extended vacation, but what happened to their single parent who attends your church on a regular basis?

It could be that the single parent is simply exhausted and taking this opportunity to sleep in on Sundays. Or it might be that the single parent is depressed and missing the children to the extent that by the time Sunday rolls around, the parent can’t force himself to get up and get ready for church services.

Whatever the reason, it’s time for someone to contact the single parent. It might be another single parent, a pastor, a children’s volunteer, or a children’s minister. This single parent needs to know he matters to the church family.

Suggestions to pass on to the single parent

  1. Take this time to renew and refresh your spirit, mind, and body.
  2. Pick out a chapter in the Bible, and read it in a different version than the one you normally use. (BibleGateway has many versions and is free.)
  3. Make it a point to rise a little earlier than usual and spend some quiet time with the Lord. If your children are gone for several weeks, this is a good time to add prayer time to your normal schedule and get in the habit of going to the Lord first thing in the morning.
  4. If you are going to school, take the time without kids to get caught up or take an extra class online.
  5. Take an exercise class such as water aerobics or an activity you wouldn’t normally do when the kids are with you.
  6. Take a cooking class, or look online for recipes that are quick and easy to fix.
  7. Invite another single parent to go to the movies with you. If you are still healing from a divorce, concentrate on same-sex friendships during the healing process.
  8. Find a free concert you can attend. Personally, I like the free concerts in parks that many communities are now offering.
  9. Volunteer one Sunday in the children’s class at your church. This will give you a good opportunity to connect with your children’s leaders and volunteers.
  10. Ask older church members, perhaps widows or widowers, to dinner. This will give you a chance to get to know people outside your group. And who knows? They might become a substitute grandparent for your kids later on.

Even though I said ten tips, I’d like to add one more very important tip: if your church has the video-based Single & Parenting series, then encourage the single parent to get connected with it. If your church doesn’t host the Single & Parenting series, find a group near you, and pass on the information to the single parents in your church. This series will help your lonely single parent grow and mature in his walk while the children are away for that extended visitation time with the other parent.

What other suggestions do you have for the single parents in your midst?


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on July 22, 2014.

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