Being a parent entails a thousand of responsibilities. You will be in charge of raising an individual from birth until adulthood. You are to make sure that they get to live the best life you could offer them because all parents want what is best for their child. Parenting is very rewarding and fulfilling especially if everything is going well with the child’s development and well-being. However, this is not the reality because each parent is given a unique child. Some are typically-developing but some with special needs. If being a parent is tough, then being a parent of a child with special needs is even tougher.
We have heard a number of sentiments and experiences from parents with special needs kids. We are all aware that being a parent with special needs means having unique responsibilities, stressors and rewards. It requires having more emotional stability, patience and understanding. Every day is a challenge to these parents as they have frustrations and limitations which lead them to feel like they are isolated and most of the time, tired.
Parents tend to put their children and family first, leaving little time and effort to invest for themselves. Still, it is also important for parents to learn how to recharge making it more effective to raise a child with special needs.
Below are 3 simple self-care tips for parents with special needs kids:
- HAVE YOUR “ME TIME”
We are all aware that demands of being a parent is really never-ending. From waking up, to putting your child to sleep, these are all taking your time, and this can be very draining. You need some rest. Everyone needs rest so that you can face tomorrow with more energy and strength.
Having “me time” doesn’t have to an out of a country trip or a full day spa. Having me time means having an extra minute to do what you love. Do you like coffee? Have your favorite coffee every morning. Do you like photography? Pause for a few minutes, take your camera and capture moments. Do you like writing? Have a journal where you can write about your thoughts or emotions. These little things will allow you to disconnect from your care-taking routine so that you can recharge yourself.
- MOVE YOUR BODY, EXERCISE & EAT HEALTHY
This is no secret. Everyone is aware that exercise has many benefits not just for our physical well-being but also for our mental and emotional health. Exercises does not mean you have to be a member of a gym and do cardio activities all day. Being healthy does not also mean you just have to eat fruits and all day. This is all about balance.
If you bring your child to school in the morning, have a short walk after dropping them in school. Do grocery and pick nice and fresh fruits and vegetables. If your child is very active, do sports together. You can go to the park and play frisbee or you can also join them in the playground.
There are many ways to keep our bodies moving. This can also be more fun if we do this with our kids. Play with them, move with them and be active with them.
- HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Raising a child with special needs is given a very difficult responsibility and having a support system can be very crucial to a special needs family. Regardless of your race or religion, it is better to have a group where you can share your experiences, where you can empathize and where you can build relationships. You can seek comfort because sometimes it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to seek help. It is okay to share your stories. It is very tough to be a special needs parents but that is okay.