Being a parent can be difficult. When your child has special needs, this role takes on a whole new meaning. Taking action in not only providing your child the best care and assistance possible to limit the impact of CP is a monumental undertaking, making each day, start to finish, a job in and of itself. While parents often focus those precious moments not only caring for the child, but also looking for ways to improve that care, it’s also critical that parents look to take care of themselves. Doing so paves the way for providing a stronger you to help your child, as well as ensuring that critical structures your child will rely upon stay firmly in place.
First – the obvious. As any parent who pushes themselves a little too hard one day knows, without proper nutrition and sleep, you are not able to provide your child your best you. While this seems obvious, and oftentimes is a chicken and egg component of caring for a child leading to a loss of time for one’s self, it’s important to carve individual time out, however brief, to stabilize your own life. Finding simple joys can help in getting through difficult tasks throughout the day, as well as preserving yourself and, potentially, important relationships you rely upon. If this is a moment of email to stay in touch with friends and family, yoga, guilty pleasure television, etc. It’s far too easy to look into gaps provided by naps or self-amusement on the part of your child and then use this time toward his or her next task: ensure you have mapped out, even on a calendar or planner if necessary, simple joys for yourself.
As noted before, providing time for one’s self can also be critical for your own personal health and ability to help your child. Malnutrition, either due to an inability to meal plan or skipping meals, can inhibit you just as much as it can inhibit your child. We have provided a number of cooking tips and play ideas surrounding meal time due to the value a meal can have for a child, parent and family alike. If you haven’t taken a look at this section of our blog, please do. Quick meals do not necessarily have to be from a drive-thru and there are a number of healthy recipes out there available that can free up your day while also providing a fun opportunity for your child to participate.
One final way we want to bring to light to care for yourself is through the understanding that speaking with parents like yourself can provide. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are common for parents of children with special needs due to the amount of attention and focus required to handle parenting at this level. Finding the time to go to a support group of other parents of children with Cerebral Palsy and/or other special needs can meet two goals: getting you some time away from the home while also securing a safety-net of those who understand, however slight, the challenges you face. Breaking down the walls of isolation can help re-energize you as well as reveal additional methods and techniques, as well as potential treatment and therapy ideas, that can help your child.
Our website was built upon the notion that getting information and care in the hands of parents is an integral component to helping children achieve great things. For more information on ways to care for yourself as a parent of a child with special needs, or to find out what assistance is available for children with Cerebral Palsy, please do not hesitate to call us at your convenience at 800-692-4453 or fill out our online form today!