Tips for Single Parents to a Special Needs Child
Being a single mom typically includes experiencing a wide range of emotions and feelings that can go from excitement to frustration and feeling overwhelmed in the blink of an eye. If you are a single mom to special needs child, the range of emotions is doubled on a daily basis. Single parenting a special needs child typically means you spend the bulk of your time going to therapy appointments, training home-care providers, arguing with the school system about how the IED is worded and ensuring that your child is safe and happy. The challenges you face daily can and will eventually wear you down. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to ease the frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed as well as protect your overall well-being.
It is important for your health to have time to regenerate. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this to create a daily schedule and stick to it the best you can. When your child begins to recognize there is a routine he needs to follow, it helps him to know what to expect, which can significantly reduce the time it takes to prepare for the day or at bedtime. Remember to list even the smallest activities on the schedule, such as time to brush teeth or story-time. At the end of your schedule include at least thirty minutes of down time for yourself.
Get Out of the house
One of the biggest challenges many single parents have, is finding a baby sitter and with a special needs child it becomes a very lengthy process. Many single parents lose friendships when they become single and it is also common for “friends” to suddenly disappear when you have a special needs child. You cannot let the lack of friends or babysitter struggles prevent you from getting out of the house. A good solution for many people is to join or start a special needs babysitting club. This new trend allows single parents to meet other single parents of special needs children that live in your neighborhood. The moms exchange babysitting duty, which allows you time alone and you know your child is safe with someone who understands the needs of your child.
Ask for help
It is often difficult for moms of special needs children to ask for help. It almost becomes an obsession, it is their goal to do the very best they can for their child and it is extremely common to think that no one else understands your child or what you are going through. If you are single as a result of divorce, ask your ex or another family member to take your child out for an hour so you can take a bath or read a book. If the child cannot or you prefer them not to go with someone else, ask if they can come to your home. It is important to keep in mind that asking for help, does not mean you are a bad parent; it means you need a break for your emotional and physical health.