What makes a great parent? This is the million-dollar question parents have been asking since the beginning of time. It’s a basic instinct to want what’s best for our kids, especially children with special needs.
As parents of children with disabilities, we all hope our children can relish their younger years and thrive when they reach adulthood. But great parenting rarely comes naturally. Learning how to be an effective parent takes years of hard work — and a willingness to accept new ideas and strategies, some of which may conflict with your current parenting patterns.
Do you want to become a more effective parent? Parents of Children With All Special Needs shares some resources to point you in the right direction!
Prioritizing Self-Care as a Busy Parent
It’s common for many parents of children with special needs to let self-care become an afterthought. Most don’t have much time to take care of themselves, but carving out just a few minutes of “me time” every day can help you be a better role model for your kids!
- Organize your daily schedule and carve out time for yourself.
- Spend time on projects that are personally meaningful, like taking up a hobby or going back to school to earn your degree.
- See what you can outsource to others to free up your time. This could be hiring someone to clean your house, mow your lawn or shop for your groceries.
- Even if you only have 5 minutes, dedicate those precious moments to self-care. This can be taking extra time to put on comfortable clothes to five minutes of meditation.
Building a Strong Bond with Your Kids
Spending time with your kids and talking with them — instead of at them — will help you build a bond that will only grow stronger as your child gets older.
- Schedule distraction-free time to play or talk with your kids every day.
- Get your kid to help you with daily household tasks, like folding laundry or watering the plants.
- Learn how to talk with your kids throughout their development.
Effective Communication and Encouragement
While most parents have the best intentions, it can be easy to over-praise our kids or otherwise communicate in detrimental ways to their development.
- Overcome any parenting misconceptions that you may be holding onto.
- Learn how to praise your kids effectively.
- Empower your kids with compliments that focus on their efforts over their accomplishments.
- Use positive language to correct your kids and direct them towards appropriate behavior.
Parenting a child with special needs is a life-long learning experience. So don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake or say something to your kids that you regret. As long as you want to be the best possible parent for your kids, you’re on the right track!