Single parents, summer, tweens, and teens: Why your church should help and how it can



Teen Texting

Many of us adults envy little children who don’t have to go to school or work every day during the summer. We wish we could have the summer off like the kids out of school. Maybe you imagine kids playing in a pool all day long or going to the beach.

For many children in single-parent homes, however, summer proves to be a very lonely, boring time. It can also be a very stressful time for the single parent who must work and leave the children at home alone.

Most single parents can find child care for younger children, but by the time children enter their tween or teen years, most want to do something exciting with their daytime hours.

A few areas have recreation programs that older children can attend. However, many single parents can’t afford these programs, so their kids end up with hodgepodge care or spending the summer days alone at home.

This is where churches and the Lord’s family can step in and assist the single parent.

  • Educate single parents about the dangers of children being home alone. With children’s easy access to many Internet sites, parents desperately need controls in place to protect their children.
  • Holding a short workshop on Internet safety procedures and controls might be possible for your church.
  • Having a church family that periodically checks in on children would set the minds of many single parents at ease while they work.
  • Including children from single-parent homes in church projects would be helpful.
  • Special daytime events, such as putting on a play at an assisted-living facility, would brighten up the day for older people and help tweens and teens feel like they are serving the Lord.
  • Hold cooking classes, and teach tweens and teens how to cook healthy snacks and meals.
  • Host a daytime field trip once a week. Remember these kids will need to arrive early as their parents must work, and they will need to stay until their parents can return to pick them up after a day at work.
  • Include kids from single-parent families in your church camps, and find people who can give them scholarships or provide a way for them to earn funds.
  • Offering to take a child from a single-parent home with you for the day could deepen relationships within the church family.

One note of caution about children’s church camps: some children might feel nervous about leaving their single parents alone at home for a week. Help single parents address this issue before camp, and assure the children their parents will survive one week without them.

I know I used to panic when I realized that school was almost out, and it was time for summer. Both my kids went to work when they were sixteen, but those few years before their sixteenth birthdays were stressful. One summer, my son ended up painting all of the equipment in my child care. Another summer, he worked on a farm for a friend.

For ideas and activities for the single-parent family, see the article School’s Out! Now What? Print out this article, and share it with the single parents in your church.

What will you do to help a child in a single-parent home this summer?

Me? I recently took a young lady to the mall and the beach. We are working on building a relationship. She lives with her dad and two brothers, so I figure she can use some female companionship. 

So, what are you going to do? Share your ideas in the comments section.


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on June, 20, 2013.


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