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3 non-monetary ways to be good to your kids during a divorce

Raising a child with an ex but separately is not easy. Parents who share custody often doubt themselves or feel inadequate as a single parent; they also worry about their kids not having enough of the things they want and need. Because of this, parents might overcompensate by buying toys for their kids or making every day feel like their birthday.

However, you do not need to shower your kids with gifts to make them feel loved and secure. Below are three ways you can show your kids love and support without spending money.

  1. Listen to them. When kids are going through a divorce, it can be easy for them to feel like they are not being heard. Parents often do plenty of yelling, discussing or venting, but kids don't get these same opportunities. Because of this, it can be incredibly valuable for parents to stop and listen to their kids. Things like talking about their day at school, asking them about their emotions and really listening to what they are saying can be invaluable.
  2. Focus on experiencing things together. Money cannot buy the emotional and psychological benefits of quality time with your kids. Cooking dinner, playing at the park and sharing hobbies with each other can all be very effective ways to reinforce the bond between parent and child and allow the child to feel supported.
  3. Reinvent the "old." Kids obviously enjoy getting new toys, but old things can still be fun when parents put in a little effort to reinvent them. Old stuffed animals can become guests at a tea party; blocks can be the hidden clues in a basement treasure hunt; balls, bats and other sports equipment can become stations in a backyard obstacle course. Giving older things a new life can make them just as exciting as if they had just been purchased at the store.

Divorce is hard on parents and kids, but spending a lot of money on kids is no match for spending quality time with them. As custody laws in New York remind us, there is more to a child's best interests than financial resources. Focusing on the non-monetary ways to support your children can help you and them gain something positive from such a difficult experience.

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