Raising a child with special needs can be a tough job – but so can being the sibling of a child with special needs. Sometimes siblings feel left out or overlooked because parents spend more time focusing on their brother or sister who requires more help. They may also feel that they have to assume some adult responsibilities in order to help care for their sibling. It’s important to take steps to make all children feel valued, appreciated, and included.
- Schedule one-on-one time. Give each child their own special time to spend with you or your spouse. It could be as simple as going for a walk or bike ride together or reading their favorite book. You can go on special outings too like going to see a movie or getting your nails done. Do this with each child so the love and attention is spread around.
- Educate them. Sometimes children have a hard time coping because they do not always understand what is going on. Talk to them about their sibling’s special needs and what they can do to connect with their brother or sister. They may be proud to stand up for them or help out so that they can enjoy time together.
- Be fair. Rules and consequences should apply to everyone. Just because their sibling has special needs should not mean they get a free pass or are above the rules. Try to treat everyone fairly so one child does not feel singled out.
- Recognize their needs. Although your schedule may be busy, try to let other children participate in activities they want to do, such as sleepovers, clubs, concerts, and other events. Show them that their interests are important too.
- Have open communication. Talk to your child and let them know that they can come to you with questions or concerns. Encourage them to let you know if they are feeling left out or are upset so you can work together to fix things.
Raising children is a full-time job and every kid is different. PediaPlex can be your one-stop-shop for services for your child with special needs to ease your schedule and help them become as independent as possible. We also offer counseling to help siblings adjust.
Leave a comment and let us know how you make each of your kids feel special and important!