New Year's Resolutions Special Needs Parents Should Make

Thursday, 6 January, 2022 - 12:30 pm

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It’s that time of year again where we wipe the slate clean and make a list of things we want to achieve in the new year. For parents with children and teens with special needs, they often forget to prioritize themselves in their New Year's resolutions. Having a child with special needs takes a lot of time and energy and requires someone to be selfless. However, if the parent is not at their best, then their children won’t be either. That’s why for this year we have come up with some resolutions that will prioritize the parents and their needs so that everyone in the family will have a happy and healthy new year.


#1: Make a list of backup babysitters/caregivers

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Are you worried about what you’re going to do when your current babysitter or caregiver graduates? Or if they unexpectedly move away? To prevent those fears from coming up, start thinking about looking for some potential new baby sitters and caregivers. If you find someone you like, consider having them come over for a few hours and see how they interact with your child. Even if you don’t need them right now, having some people in mind will make the transition so much easier when you do need to get someone new.


#2: Make an effort to get more sleep 

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We know this is easier said than done, but we promise it’s worth it to try. Even going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night will get you an extra hour and 45 minutes of sleep every week! To make this possible, turn off the T.V. and your phone, leave the dishes for the morning, and curl up with a good book in bed. You’ll be falling asleep in no time.


#3: Plan a date night every month 

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You’re probably thinking, when’s the last time I went on a date? Well we’re here to fix that. Even if you can’t go out somewhere, try to plan a nice evening at home every month. Make a nice meal, light some candles, and end the night with a movie and some wine.  

#4: Try a new activity with your special needs child 

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We’re creatures of habit so more often than not we get into a rut with the same old routine week after week. The same applies for our special needs children and new activities. Either they don’t feel comfortable trying a new activity or the parents feel that they don’t have enough time to try new activities. If you’re able, try out a new activity multiple times and see what happens. If both you and your child are happy it might be worth fitting it into your schedule.

#5: Organize your paperwork

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If you have a child or teen with special needs, the amount of paperwork you’ve collected over the years is most likely pretty extensive. From medical records, to IEPs (Individualized Education Plans), to various articles, it can be hard to keep track of everything. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to organize your paperwork. Even if you do a little bit every day, I promise you, this will save you time in the long run.


#6: Do something “selfish” every week

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Many parents of children or teens with special needs are so busy helping their children that they forget to do something for themselves. Sometimes they think doing something for themselves is “selfish” but we promise you it’s not. When you feel like your tank is low, this is a perfect opportunity to do something for you. Whether it’s getting a manicure/pedicure, catching up with some friends, or getting yourself something nice, make sure to do something for yourself every week. You and your family will be much better off if you do.

#7: Reevaluate therapists/therapies

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A new year often means change and new possibilities. Some of these changes may include therapists and therapies your child or teen with special needs had in the past year. Take a minute to reflect on these. Was the therapist helpful? Is there another therapist who could have something more to offer? Are there other therapeutic techniques that are better for my child? Really evaluating therapists and various therapies will help you determine whether or not you need to start a new plan for the year.

#8: Accept help without feeling guilty

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More times than not, we don’t reach out for help because we feel ashamed or weak. We want to feel like we can handle it all, when in reality we can’t. However, asking for help is not weak, in fact it actually means you are a strong person who knows their limits. That being said, whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or burnt out, don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help. It will make you feel better, and it will make the person helping you happy.

#9: Sign your child up for Friendship Circle (if you haven’t done so already) 

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Need a place where you and your child will find support, love, and new friends? Well the Friendship Circle of Washington is the perfect place for you. Here at the Friendship Circle we take care of special needs children and teens and their parents by allowing children and teens to develop new skills and make new friends and parents to relax and recharge. What are you waiting for? Sign up now at today!

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