As parents of children with disabilities, you begin a long journey. This journey is filled with doctors’ appointments, school meetings and therapies. It is difficult to schedule all of this in addition to the needs of the other children that you might have. There are several things that you might do to ease and alleviate some of the stress that comes with having a full schedule.
Select two or three days of the week to do your major tasks. Have designated days for doctors’ visits, therapies and special sports. This makes it easier to look forward to those days that may be a little less busy.
Cook on the weekends. Who has time to cook when you have appointments after school until 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm? Nobody! It is easier to cook large portions of food during the weekend so when you are running around, all you have to do when you get home is pop the meal in the microwave and it is ready!
I remember that one of my concerns was all of the fast food that I was giving my child. This was because I had to go from one appointment to the next and had no time to run home for a meal. McDonald’s was always on the way. To change that, I started packing snacks to give to my child in between appointments and later got home to a home-cooked meal.
Read while your child is in therapy. One of the things that parents of children with disabilities do is read many books about their child’s diagnosis, behavior tips and more. Use this time to catch up on all of the important things you can learn about. Or read just for fun! Or if sewing or knitting is your thing, take advantage of this time to do it!
Network with other parents. Other parents in the waiting room may share a wealth of information to you or vice-versa. With the use of technology, I see more and more parents connected to the phone instead of connecting with other parents. Start a conversation, you may see those phones get put away, and find parents eager to share.
On the weekends, try and do something fun to recharge for the following week. In El Paso, once a month, there is an opportunity called Parents Night Out. The third Friday of the month, parents can drop off all their children, with and without disabilities, from 6:00-9:00 pm. This is a great opportunity for them to relax and have fun as well as you. Look for similar opportunities in your city.
The most important thing is to think about the investment we parents make in our children. When our children are young, we work hard, as they grow older, we see the hard work paying off.
For more parenting tips, check out the page Navigating Daily Life – Parenting Children with Disabilities on this website.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.