During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share what is helping their stress, anxiety and mental health. Also, see our page on Self Care for Parents of Children With Disabilities for ways to take care of yourself while still taking care of your child’s needs.
What can you do for yourself when you only have one minute? A few deep breaths? A moment outside? Make a quick list. Now, what could you do with five minutes? 10 minutes? Even if life is unpredictable now, you can keep a list of things you like and ideas nearby or on your phone for when you have a break.
Read these short articles by other parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs at Texas Parent to Parent:
Look over resources and tools. National experts have collected information to help parents and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. These tools might also help in other difficult times:
Our page on Self Care for Parents of Children With Disabilities has even more ideas on taking care of yourself – and why it’s important.
“As a caregiver, I’m in a daily text group with five other moms who have kids with autism and we discuss what’s going on in our lives, how our children are doing, encouraging each other to rest, exercise and turn off the news.”
See our page on Connecting With Other Parents to learn why connecting is so important, especially in a crisis. It also has other ideas on how to find other parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs.
“I keep my sanity by joining webinars and different groups. I do my nails at home, take a bath with oils, watch TV, play Candy Crush or other games.”
“I do an exercise routine recorded on YouTube.”
“I keep busy by organizing my notes. I make notes on when my son last had his doctor and dental appointments, so when his service coordinator calls for updates, I can be ready.”
See our page on care notebooks and organizing medical records for ideas on how to keep paperwork and information about your child’s medical care all together at your fingertips.
“I don’t worry over a messy house because it only stays clean for about 12 minutes. There are three adults and two cats in the house, and we’ve never been home altogether so much. So, I’m allowing myself some grace.”
“I shop online for the family a lot to avoid crowds and frustration. Even one change like that can make a real difference.”
“I started using a sleep mask and it has helped me sleep better. I fall asleep faster and get better sleep.”
“I make sure I spend time outdoors to get fresh air and sunshine.”
This article from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center talks about the research behind why getting outdoors can lead to happier, healthier, more creative and less stressed children with disabilities and their parents.
If you are in a crisis, here are some hotlines to help:
After making the difficult decision to medicate your child, with time and on occasions, old symptoms return or new ones appear. Once again, you’re faced with what felt like an already-made decision - to medicate higher or more, or not.