As another year comes to an end and a new one begins, many people rush to come up with ways they’re going to improve themselves and their lives. New Year’s resolutions are often filled with lofty goals of exercising more, eating healthier, or achieving better work-life balance. For parents of children with special needs, they often push off their own health and well-being to focus on the needs of their child. While understandable, if this sounds familiar, remember that your well-being is important too. You can’t be functioning at your best if you neglect self-care.
Ideas for More Realistic Resolutions
Instead of following the crowd and making the same resolutions everyone makes, focus on creating some that are specific to you and your needs. Set goals that are realistic and will help you to achieve better balance such as:
- Asking for and accepting help. You don’t have to try to do everything on your own. Let others lend a hand, and don’t feel guilty for taking them up on their offer.
- Expand your support network. It’s always a good idea to have more than one babysitter on hand and friend you can turn to for encouragement and motivation. Connect with other parents who have children with special needs and make time for friendships you have developed through work, hobbies, school, and family.
- Take more time for yourself. Schedule a manicure, play a round of golf, or enjoy peace and quiet curled up with a favorite movie or book. Make it a point to schedule some “me time” this year.
- Celebrate small successes. No two children are exactly the same. Take time to celebrate the little things – which may be big things for your child. Whether it’s initiating conversation, trying a new food, or zipping their coat, these are achievements to be proud of.
- Improve quality family time. Put down your phone, close your email, and focus on family. Make it a point this year to spend more time together and be truly in the moment. Plan small outings or start new traditions. Do things you and your children enjoy and will remember.
- Get more involved in advocacy. Be a voice for change this year. Educate others about your child’s condition, share your story, vote for improved coverage or legislation, or help raise money for research or a nonprofit.
- Learn more about your child. Your child is so much more than their autism, Down Syndrome, dyslexia, or whatever other condition they may have. Spend time learning more about their likes and dislikes, what they’re interested in, and new things to do together.
- Review therapies/services. Make the most of the services your child receives. Assess how they’re progressing this year and if there is anything you could do differently. Be open to trying a new type of therapy or setting different goals.
Resolutions can be anything you want them to be. And remember – they’re for the whole year, so don’t feel pressured to get everything done within the first few weeks. They’re also not set in stone, so you can revise your resolutions as necessary. PediaPlex supports families in coordinating therapy and services that best meet their child’s needs. Talk to your child’s therapists and see if they have any recommendations for the upcoming year and how to better help your child. And remember that you are not alone. Raising a child takes a village, and PediaPlex is proud to be a part of this community.
Unsure about what services your child may benefit from this year? Fill out our intake form and we’ll be in touch!