10 Tips for Parents of Children with Disabilities

Being a parent to a child with a disability brings great strength and perseverance. Although there are many challenges associated with this role, guiding your child through life and overcoming these hardships can become a monumental learning experience for both you and your child. From your daily lifestyle to incremental changes, these 10 tips for parents of children with disabilities can improve your caregiving perspective and well-being.

Promote Socialization and Friendships

For a child with a disability, it can sometimes be challenging to build friendships. Socializing and building relationships as a child is essential to grow social and developmental skills. Promoting good communication and kindness is a great step to help your child foster friendships. Whether friendships stem from classmates, neighbors, or relatives, these relationships play an important role in your child’s self-confidence and skill-building. Be supportive of new friends they make and encourage them to positively express themselves!

Consider a Service Animal

Depending on the situation, service animals can become a safeguard for children with disabilities. Having a furry friend to understand and communicate your child’s feelings and needs when they cannot is one of the unique benefits service animals can provide. For more information on the healing powers of dogs, read our blog.

Regulate Exercise and Physical Activity

Exercising and maintaining physical activity is often seen as a wonderful aspect of childhood. If your child is able to be physically active, allowing them to exert any stressful emotions through exercise can help balance their sense of control. Discovering what works best for your child and understanding what they’re comfortable with allows them to enjoy getting active. Explore different sports such as biking, walking, swimming, jump-roping, adaptive team sports, and more. Biking in particular is chock full of mental, physical, and social benefits for kids with disabilities. Click here to learn more!

Understand Sensitivities and Stimulations

As a child grows and develops, their sensitivities and stimulations can also change. Maintaining open communication with your child about certain foods, places, senses, and feelings allows you to understand how they feel about certain situations to keep them in a comfortable environment.

Monitor Movies and Media

With technology being highly accessible to children, it’s important to monitor what media is being shown. Exposure to certain content may be overwhelming for children with disabilities. Reviewing a movie or show’s rating before watching it with your child is helpful to understand the appropriateness for their age and maturity level.

Discover Ideal Learning Methods

To practice the best learning and education methods for your child, communicating with their educator and seeing their progress can allow you to discover what works best for them. Turning to other resources outside of school also provides a more personalized way of learning. This can include YouTube videos, podcasts, specialized programs, learning centers, and more. 

Practice Patience and Self-Care

Overall, parenting a child with disabilities can be an extremely rewarding, positive experience. However, it can also be stressful and overwhelming at times. Practicing patience with yourself and your child is essential to avoid discouragement. Set time aside for yourself to keep up with self-care to reflect and recharge. 

Connect with a Community

Becoming a member of an uplifting community for support, guidance, and friendship is a way to share your experiences and make connections to those in similar situations. Schools and cities may have communities or groups for adults caring for individuals with disabilities. Accordingly, Facebook and other online forums create a virtual space for those to interact and express their thoughts. 

Communicate Clearly

It can be difficult for your child to express their thoughts and feelings to you. Maintaining open communication with your child about their feelings and struggles allows them to confide in you and trust you in future situations. Being transparent about their journey allows them to understand their circumstances and be self-aware.

Adapt to Changes and Challenges

As your child grows and adapts to new challenges, it’s important for parents to do the same. Being conscious that the future may hold challenges and obstacles is a good perspective when adapting to change. Overcoming challenges together builds strength and encourages perseverance.

Parent caregivers are essential to maintaining the health and well-being of a child with disabilities. The effort, time, and strength that goes into this role is no easy task. Covey is here to support you. Check out our current social activities, events, skill-building, and more through our Covey Connects program.