By Jana Angeles
Dividing your attention equally with all of your children can be a struggle when you have a child with special needs. There’s a lot to take care of when you have a child with special needs and despite our efforts, we can unknowingly neglect our other kids. This in return may make them feel left out and not considered a priority. If you find yourself struggling with dividing your attention with kids, you’re not alone.
Taking care of a child with special needs requires a lot of effort and time. Depending on the needs of your child too, it can be physically and mentally demanding for you and your partner. However, it’s not impossible to take care of your other kids too. So how can you juggle taking care of your child with special needs and their siblings as well?
Spending Quality One-On-One Time
Finding some quality one-on-one time with your children is important for their development and growth as individuals. Considering that sometimes giving attention to our child with special needs, it’s possible to take some time and catch up with our other children. Whether it’s simply asking how their day was at school, sharing a home-cooked meal or playing with their toys, these moments you spend with your children will be ones they will remember for a lifetime. Not only will it showcase how much you care about them, but it will also remind them that they’re still important.
Teaching Them The Lessons of Patience
Reminding your children to be patient is key to their understanding and empathy. It’s important to teach them patience and to wait for you to give them your time. This also applies to your child with special needs too, not just their siblings! Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the things that are important so letting your child know that they have to wait is only going to happen if you communicate this to them. Patience is learnt over time, not overnight. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself incase they forget!
Stick With The Rules
Being consistent with the rules is an important factor of parenting, especially when it comes to the siblings of your child with special needs. Setting rules that everyone has to follow will not only keep things simple for the kids but it will also mean that you can give equal attention to everyone. Nobody get’s left behind.
Don’t Let Fear Prevent You From Going To Places
We understand how tough it is to have a child with special needs. Their siblings may feel left out especially when it comes to participating to certain outings and activities. Try and accommodate with all of your kids and and do your best to make things work for everyone. Family trips don’t have to be boring if you’re willing to be open to new experiences. Never let fear prevent you from going to new places. Life is too short to not try new things with your family!
Communication is Important
There will be moments where the siblings of your child with special needs will mention to you that things aren’t fair. Of course when you have a child with special needs, they will require more attention and help for the things they can’t do. Remember to always communicate with your kids how important it is for them to understand your situation. If you explain that their brother/sister can’t do particular things, your children will understand. If you’re honest with them, this will encourage them to be compassionate individuals. Always keep the line of communication open to your kids and remind them that they are loved and cared for, even if it doesn’t feel like it at times.
If you’re struggling parenting a child with special needs, just remember you’re not alone. There are people out there who have similar circumstances as you. Doing your best for your kids is enough. Do not feel guilty if you aren’t managing equal attention to all your children. As long as you are open and honest with each other, everything will fall into place. Families only go stronger if you fight through your struggles together.