Every parent of a special needs child has moments where they feel overwhelmed, worried, and regretful. They feel like they’re not doing enough for their child, don’t have enough support from other family members, or even understand their child’s needs and pains. The situation gets worse when there are other children and a partner who needs your attention. How do you balance your time? How do you make everyone happy?
Take Time to Understand Your Child’s Condition and Needs
Adequate information helps you better take care of your child. For instance, if your child has a hearing problem, you may want to learn how to use the hearing devices, know when they need to be replaced or checked by a specialist or when there is a problem. It’s impossible to ask young children, ‘does your hearing aid need repair,’ so it’s up to you to make sure it’s working well. Information will help you get the right medical care, assistance, and plan your family life accordingly.
Don’t Neglect the Other Children
It’s quite normal to find yourself putting most of your effort and attention into taking care of the special needs child, making the other children feel neglected. Start by explaining to them their sibling’s condition and why he/she may need more of your time and attention. If it’s not a noticeable need, your children may not understand unless you explain to them. When they know the condition, it encourages them to be more willing to care for their sibling.
Besides this, make sure you spend enough time with the other children. Each child is different and has their needs, which they would like you to meet. Some need time with you to talk about their day in school or do the homework together. Make sure you attend their school events and support them when they want to venture into hobbies they love, such as playing music, taking up dancing lessons, or playing football.
Also, include the special needs child in the family activities. You may not play or relate like other parents or homes but understand what works in your home. If they can play and comprehend instructions, let them handle manageable house chores and craft play ideas that include them. If your child is deaf, let everyone learn the sign language and use it when speaking, making the deaf child feel part of the family conversations.
Have Time for Yourself
It may seem like you don’t have enough time to take care of your special needs child, other family members, and work or home obligations. You, too, need care and rest. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the energy to do all you have. Eat well, exercise, and rest well. Every day, spend some time alone where you focus on yourself. It can be as little as ten minutes but make sure you have the time to yourself. Also, don’t forget to have and live your life to the fullest. If you love going out, do so once in a while. Buy something nice for yourself, make time for friends, and, if possible, occasionally spend a few days away from home pampering yourself.
Hire or ask for help from other family members when you feel overwhelmed. If you are co-parenting, request your partner to chip in any way they can. Let them handle the tasks they are good at. If your partner is good at bathing the kids or helping with homework, let them do it as you relax or take care of other chores. Don’t feel guilty asking for some time away to relax and reconnect. Hire an assistant to help when you want to spend a few days alone.
Don’t Neglect Your relationships
Your life shouldn’t stop just because you are a special needs family. You need to build and nurture healthy relationships with your children, partner, relatives, neighbors, and friends. Spend quality time with your partner talking about anything but not the children. Call your friends for lunch or go out with them once in a while. Invite the neighbors to your home and let the children play and get to know each other. Having a special needs child is not a disgrace or a weakness. Let the child feel he deserves and is welcome to do what other children do when he can.
With the right arrangement and knowledge, you can bring up your child in a healthy and fulfilling environment and create a home where everyone feels loved and appreciated.