Parents, and especially those with children who have special needs, know that change or adjustments to routine can be difficult for kiddos. But change can be just as hard on parents! This year, we’ve switched from typical school days to digital learning, and we’re beginning to make the shift from digital learning to summer vacation (perhaps even without some of the camps and extracurricular activities that our children love and we rely on).
In a previous blog, we provided tips for helping your child navigate schedule changes (with the school year wrapping up, it might be a good time to refer back to that one here). But in this time of unprecedented change, we at Innovative Behavior Options want to offer a few suggestions to help you, as parents and caregivers, navigate these uncertain and difficult waters.
Find and maintain a routine
As a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, this first tip should come as no surprise. We’ve learned that our children, and especially children with Autism, thrive on routine, so finding a new normal is step one. Before presenting your child with a new schedule, though, figure out what’s really sustainable for you and your family (more on that below!).
We love using visual schedules to help children see what’s coming next, day to day. And when possible, try to get your kiddo involved – it’s more fun for them, and the extra buy-in never hurts.
Let go of over-achieving expectations
This one can be hard. As parents, we always want what’s best for our children, and we’re usually willing to go the extra mile (or ten) to make it happen. Right now, though, we’re months into balancing work, kids at home, teaching our children, and keeping our cool while surrounded by uncertainty.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, take a survey of everything on your plate. Unless it’s a crucial element of your day to day life and will make the difference between a healthy and thriving kiddo (or sibling or spouse or self), take a deep breath, and let it go. At IBO, we want to help you meet your goals in the best way possible for your family. If you need help, we’re still providing ABA therapy, including parent training, and we’re here for you!
Try to practice self-care
Self-care means something different to each of us, and figuring out what you can do to reenergize yourself is a big part of being a caregiver. Whether it’s building in time to exercise, reading a book and enjoying a cup of coffee, or even going on a short drive, stepping away for a moment and taking care of yourself will make you a better parent and a better caregiver to your child with special needs.
At Innovative Behavior Options, we’re in this with you. Our therapists are continuing to offer in-home and telehealth ABA therapy, and we want to partner with you to help your family thrive. If you have questions or want to learn more about ABA therapy, please give us a call at 770-250-0093.