It’s January—the traditional time to make resolutions and plans for the year ahead. This new year before us is a clean slate, and we have the opportunity for a fresh start. Parents, we know that caring for a child with special needs is hard work, so we’d like to offer a few small ideas for new habits (for you!) that we hope will bit by bit lead to a bright and happy 2022.
As anyone who’s tried before knows, making big sweeping changes all at once is hard (and as ABA therapists, we know it’s not always effective, either!). So start small. Research suggests it takes on average 66 days to form a new habit, so let’s get started today. You’ve got this!
Focus on the Positive
As parents and caregivers, we can sometimes get bogged down by the negatives – difficult behavior, skills that are harder for your child to master, or even just day-to-day challenges. Starting today, we challenge you to do the sometimes-difficult work of finding the bright spots. Try to take a moment to appreciate the things your child can do and the unique perspective you have on the world.
Let Go of the Little Things
Take a page out of Elsa’s book (you know the song!), and let it go. There are so many things to keep track of and so many behaviors to practice and reinforce, that there just isn’t time to do it all. And that’s ok! Take the family picture with your child still holding their favorite truck (it’ll be a great memory!); serve a favorite food for dinner and opt out of that battle tonight; and if your child has a meltdown while you’re at the store, take a deep breath and know that you’re neither the first nor the last parent to survive the experience. A well cared for kid—that’s your goal.
Take Time for Yourself
We know, there are never enough hours in the day and finding time for yourself is easier said than done. But parenting well requires being at your best, and that’s not possible to do without taking breaks. Look for ways to recharge, whether it’s a cup of coffee by yourself before anyone in the house is awake or dedicated time to get in some exercise. Figure out what works best for you and commit to making it happen.
At Innovative Behavior Options we help clients improve their independence and increase adaptive skills, and we’re excited to see what 2022 holds for our families! If you’re interested in learning more about ABA therapy and our approach (and how it can help you meet your goals in 2022!), please give us a call at 770-250-0093 to learn more.