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The "Dos" and "Don'ts" of Dating With Kids

Erica Loop
Jan. 5, 2017

Have a little one at home, but eager to get back into the dating scene? Here are some dos and don'ts of dating for single parents.

Are you a single mom ready to find that special someone? Whether or not you were recently in a relationship, dating with kids isn't exactly simple. "Time is the biggest obstacle," says Honoree Corder, the blogger behind The Successful Single Mom and author of a book by the same name.

"There are already so many demands on a single parent's time, taking time out to date can feel like a luxury they can't afford. But I believe dating -- spending time with other grown-ups doing fun activities -- is a necessity they can't afford not to do!"

Before throwing yourself back into the dating ring, check out these do's and don'ts for dating with kids!

Do:

  • Slow It Down
    "My top 'do' for dating as a single mom is to take things slowly," says Alexa Mason, the blogger behind Single Moms Income. "While new relationships can be exciting, rushing a relationship can be a major mistake."
     
  • Know Yourself and Your Needs
    "Know why you're dating and view it as fun (and have fun!)," says Corder. "If you're dating so you can get out of the house, say that. If you're dating because you're ready to find a new relationship, say that. Better to call a spade a spade right from the start, rather than spending time with someone who ultimately isn't the right fit."
     
  • Wait to Tell
    "I don't think you have to tell a potential boyfriend you're a single mom right away," says Mason. "I think this fact will quickly come out in conversation so there's no need to shout it from the rooftops."
     
  • Prep Your Partner
    When you've found that special someone and are 100 percent ready to introduce them to your child, your kid isn't the only one you need to prepare. Prep your date about your child's interests so he can start an interesting conversation with your son or daughter and get their new relationship off to a good start.
     
  • Have Fun
    Like Corder said, you should view dating as fun. You're not drudging back to school to do algebra homework. You're going out, getting social and hopefully meeting someone who'll bring joy into your life!


Don't:

  • Force It
    "When it comes to dating as a single mom, never try and force a relationship between your potential significant other and your children," says Mason. "Take things slow and let bonds naturally form."
     
  • Make Everyone "The One"
    "My top don't: Think every guy might be 'the one,'" says Corder. "Dating is supposed to be like shopping for new clothes -- you have to try on lots and lots of outfits to find the one that is the perfect fit for you."
     
  • Keep Things Secret
    Though it's important to wait until you're sure your new relationship is serious before you start making child-partner introductions, "you shouldn't hide the fact either," says Mason. "Being a single parent is only one aspect of a person."
     
  • Do Anything Dangerous
    Don't go crazy over all the online match-up sites. These options can connect you to a new pool of potential partners, but you should be wary of getting "catfished" or putting your family in a scary situation. Scammers don't just steal your heart, they can also take your money, too.
     
  • Parade a Stream of Partners in Front of Your Child
    "Kids get easily attached and you don't want to have a constant revolving door," says Corder. After a break-up, your child may not understand why your partner no longer comes around or may think she is responsible for the end of the relationship, so avoid introductions until you know it's turning into something serious.

Pre-mommy dating never required a special schedule and child care considerations. But dating with kids means that you may need to find a sitter to watch your child while you take time for romance.

And when you do decide to post a date night job, make sure your post is as thorough and detailed as possible; you want to make sure that your candidates know exactly what you're looking for in a babysitter, and when you'll need them.

Not sure what to look for when it comes to a date-night babysitter? Find out what the best child care options are for you.


Erica Loop is a mom, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. When she's not teaching, she's busy creating kids' activities for her blog, Mini Monets and Mommies.

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