07/05/2017 15:43 EDT | Updated 07/05/2017 15:43 EDT

5 Meaningful (And Easy) Ways To Help Single Parent Friends

They're used to being the only adult around.

Clarissa Leahy

The life of a single parent can be hard to understand if you haven't experienced this particular mode of parenting yourself; you know you want to help your solo buddy out, but what are the best ways to do so?

First off, on behalf of all the single parents out there, thank YOU for stepping up. You've heard of the saying "it takes a village"? Well, that particularly applies here. Your help is wanted and needed, so we've rounded up the BEST ways for you to offer it!

1. Listen

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Without a partner at home to lean on, one of the nicest things you can do for your single parent bud is offer a sympathetic ear or a supportive shoulder to lean on. You don't necessarily have to do or say anything, just be there and hold space for your friend to vent, laugh, talk, or cry as needed.

2. Babysit

Whether it's 20 minutes for a hot shower or a monthly sleepover date, giving your single parent friend a break from their little angels and the non-stop demands of parenthood is a true blessing. It allows them the opportunity to recharge and return refreshed to focus on their LO's needs. Debbie Pincus, author of The Calm Parent Am & PM, further explains why this is necessary in a blog post:

"It's important to remember that children naturally fight to get what they want. To not be worn down and give in to your child's demands and challenging behaviors can take a superhuman effort when you never get a break."

3. Bring supplies

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Show up with food, wine or even a couple of rolls of toilet paper, and you've probably saved your single parent friend from a momentary crisis and a potential meltdown. Without a second parent to assist, otherwise simple tasks like running errands can become monster undertakings, and you showing up as the Uber Eats guy can really help out a single parent in need.

Anything you can offer that a second parent might ordinarily do, will help your solo parent buddy feel cared for and far less alone.

Hang a shelf, fix a leak, help out with a late-night diaper run to the drugstore; anything you can offer that a second parent might ordinarily do, will help your solo parent buddy feel cared for and far less alone.

4. Treat them

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Fathers and children sitting at table

You know who often doesn't get a birthday/Christmas/Mother's/Father's day gift? Yes, you guessed it, single parents. Although once the kids are old enough to start school they'll bring home THE BEST DIY gifts (shout out to the teachers and macaroni necklaces everywhere!), but for single parents of pre-school age kids, a little something special on one of their special days can really make a difference.

You don't need to break the bank to show you care — some handpicked flowers or a morning cup of coffee can easily brighten someone's day, especially when they're used to being the only adult around.

5. Share their moments

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While single parenting is not without its challenges, there are so many momentous occasions to enjoy, and it can be a great pleasure to share some of them with your solo parent friends.

Have a bud whose kiddo just graduated from kindergarten? Hit up the local ice cream shop en masse and add to the celebration! Single parents don't just want someone to gripe to, they want to gush and glow with you too!

Remember, they're navigating all of the milestones and moments alone, so having you along for any part of the ride can be a particularly intimate way to create a warm, extended family feeling.

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