Having a child with special needs comes with a unique set of responsibilities that only parents in the position and experts understand. The journey can be highly rewarding at times and extremely stressful at others. It takes emotional resilience, a drive to nurture, and a level of dedication that few individuals possess.
Taking care of your child is a full-time job, leaving most parents lacking the time to take care of themselves. However, self-care is a vital part of your ability to care for your special needs child. Here’s how to ensure you’re keeping up on your wellbeing at the same time.
Have Support Systems
Support comes in three varieties for parents. The first is community, which includes surrounding yourself with individuals that make you feel accepted, supported, and safe. At the same time, your community support should peak your interests.
For instance, you might join a book club if you love to read. Attending religious functions, taking painting classes, or finding a workout studio where you can make friends is essential to your wellbeing. This first group should be combined with the second, which is professional support.
The stresses of raising a child with special needs can be intense, which is why speaking with a therapist or life coach is highly recommended. They can help you work through the anxiety, anger, and depression that often results from stressful days. Plus, you’ll learn how to focus your energy on being an effective parent.
Finally, you can seek additional support from a group of parents who share in your joy and struggles. These groups exist online and in person, allowing you to talk with other parents who face similar issues ranging from education system challenges to working with a family law attorney. Combined, these three support systems can see you through the toughest of times.
Find Time for You
Parents are well known for putting their children first, but those with special needs require an extra level of care and vigilance. This added level of attention can lead to parents forgetting to do the things they love, which is ultimately unhealthy.
You need to find ways to recharge, relax, and enjoy yourself. If you’re unsure about what that might be, make a list of the things you would do if you had time. Your list might include activities like bike riding, going to the gym, playing games, or going out with friends. Whatever your perfect “you time” looks like, incorporate it into your life.
Respite Care Services
If you honestly can’t find the time to do what you love as well as take care of your child, this would be a good opportunity to take advantage of local respite care services. Trained caregivers are well-equipped to work with your child, giving you both a healthy break from one another. ADA attorneys at Karlin Law recommend conducting thorough research before selecting a caregiver to ensure compliance and safety for your child.
Most parents feel as though they cannot accept respite services out of guilt or the need to do it all on their own, but these services are beneficial for everyone involved. It give you the time off you need to recharge, making you a stronger parent and replenishing your emotional resources. It also gives these trained individuals work while working on your child’s socialization around other adults.