Caring for a child with a disability can be a fulfilling experience. It can also be challenging and stressful. Caregivers and parents sometimes forget to take care of themselves as much as they care for their children. Here are four tips to keep in mind:
1. Take a break when you need it.
Why is this important? You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your child. This means knowing your limits. You might need an afternoon every week to do something for yourself, or perhaps an overnight once in a while. Maybe you have a work trip and need someone to stay with your child.
Respite services can help! A trained caregiver will come to your home and look after your child for a period of time, or your child can stay at a respite center. Check your insurance policy to make sure you are using the kind of respite they cover.
2. Don’t drift away from your friends and community.
Why is this important? Other parents have been in your shoes. You can learn from and gain strength from them. A parent group can provide the opportunity to make friends who know what it’s like to raise a child with a disability. They can provide tips and tricks since it is likely they have been through various processes.
Find a support group. Talk to other parents from school or the playground, or even parents who have children the age of your other children. Ask the special education office for suggestions. Search the Exceptional Lives Resource Directory. Remember that you are not alone in raising a child with a disability.
3. Find a babysitter you can trust.
Why is this important? It is important for you to be able to go out and do the things you want to do. Sometimes this means finding someone you trust to care for your child for a few hours. Spouses and partners need time together. This will help them be strong parents. Siblings need their own time with parents. Otherwise they may resent their sibling who has a disability. Families need to be part of their communities. This will be a source of support.
What to look for in a babysitter or caregiver: Look for someone who has experience working with children who have a disability and who knows your child. Make sure your child likes and trusts this person.
4. Let us help you.
Exceptional Lives exists to help you understand what you need to know, when you need to submit certain forms, and how to advocate for your family member.
Explore our How To Guides to learn about the processes.
Visit our Resource Directory to find these providers in your community.
Reach out to us – we are here to help.