It is so easy for much of your energy and effort to go to the child with special needs, especially with the extra doctor appointments, support specialists and academic issues that can be a part of your child’s therapy. Siblings of a special needs child might feel “slighted” at times. If this happens, be assured you’re not a bad parent, just a human one and try some of the tips below!
- Make sure each child gets some undivided attention.
Even simple things like reading at bedtime or talks while driving to school count! It’s the quality, not the quantity that will make a difference.
- Engage in your child’s activities.
Ask them about a school project, volunteer to make soccer snacks (cut up oranges are quick and easy), ask questions about the movie they saw with a friend. Your attention to the details in their day will matter.
- Include your children in the care of their sibling, as appropriate.
There will be days when they will want to help, others when they don’t and that is fine. Caring for family members instills compassion in even the youngest children.
- Give your children information as they want it.
Some children accept their sibling “just how she is” and others want to know “why she uses a hearing aid.” As in anything, children are curious and the more facts they have the better.
- Empower your family by accepting what is your “normal.”
Every family does things a little differently, yours included. A child who is in a wheelchair is still your child, he just has a different way of getting around, which is normal for your family.This lesson teaches other children acceptance, compassion and respect for others who also may do things differently.
- Problem solve as a team!
There are times when challenges arise, empower your children by having them brainstorm solutions with you. It’s amazing what kids come up with, usually things we hadn’t considered.
- All children should “overhear” you bragging about their accomplishments.
It’s so easy to get fixated on the cycle of struggles, but focusing on even the smallest successes or acts of kindness helps a family build each other up.
- Invite other families over to play, don’t seclude yourself from others.
One of my favourite parenting blogs is “What Do You Do Dear?” written by the mother of two adorable children, Frannie and Simeon. Her son happens to be the cutest kid ever, and he also has spina bifida.Mary Evelyn shares her journey, finds the humour and embraces their family’s normal in a way that makes you want to not only embrace but celebrate your family’s “normal.”
- From https://centerforparentingeducation.org/