Welfare reforms forcing single parents to look for work or risk losing benefits are "family friendly", Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper said.
Lone parents whose youngest children are aged 10 or 11 will be switched from Income Support to the tougher Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) which is paid at the same rate but requires them to attend fortnightly JobCentre interviews and show they have applied for jobs or lose benefits.
Ms Cooper said: "What we want to do is help more parents in to work, but also to do so in a family friendly way."
She said under the new regulations, parents would only have to look for part-time work.
She told GMTV: "They may also be able to look just for work that fits with school hours if they're lone parents as well because I do think it's important often to be able to pick the kids up from school and as a mum I know how important it is to be able to spend time with the children."
She said single parents would be able to access other benefits and that even part-time work could help lift them out of poverty. She added: "I do think it's right that as the children grow older there are more responsibilities on parents to start looking for work. We know that is good for both the parents and children as well."
Single parents' campaign group Gingerbread has accused the Government of failing to provide the necessary support to help them find work.
Parents of children aged 12 or older were switched on to JSA last year, and the change will be extended to all single parents with children aged seven or over in October next year. Plans to remove 300,000 lone parents from Income Support were announced in 2007 as part of a drive to achieve an 80% employment rate, which some critics say is no longer feasible in the light of rising joblessness caused by the recession.
The Department for Work and Pensions promised then the increased obligations to look for work would be matched by "personalised help and support", with greater flexibility for JobCentre staff to respond to individual circumstances.
But Gingerbread released a report suggesting the lone parents who moved on to JSA a year ago did not get the support they needed. Many did not get the meetings with a New Deal adviser to which they are entitled, said the charity. And others felt under pressure to find work and demoralised by repeated rejections.