Being a parent to a child with special needs this time of pandemic requires strengths and returning to the basics. While the pandemic has disrupted family routines globally, there are disruptions too for the family who has children with special needs. Maintaining previous routines is a challenge and public uncertainty makes schedule unpredictable. Just like any family, children with special needs and their parents might be anxious. If you are a parent and experiencing these situations, know that you can overcome this time of uncertainty. Here are some of the recommendations:
RELY ON YOUR EXPERIENCE
With all of the things, you have worked on in the past, recall them and think back on the strategies you’ve made. This might be;
- Preparing slow changes that suit your child’s pace
- Keeping a consistent schedule for bedtime, exercise, medications, and meals
- Scheduling quiet time to lessen stress
- Offer warm praise for a job well done
- Using visual cues to illustrate activities and schedules
- Promptly correcting negative behavior and offering a chance for a redo
HELP YOUR CHILD FEEL IN CONTROL
Explain to them carefully that everyone is working together to keep the virus from spreading and making people ill. Tell them that these are the reasons why parks and schools are closed. Tell also your kids that they can be a big help by following such practices as;
- Frequently washing or cleaning of hands
- Coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow or a tissue
- Staying at home as much as possible
- Avoiding big groups of people
- Helping to disinfect and clean commonly used or touched areas in the home
- Keeping 2 meters of space from others outside of the house
- Wearing a face mask at public places
- Giving smiles or waving instead of high-fives, fist bumps, hugs
YOUR CHILD’S CARE NEEDS AND TREATMENT PLAN
If they have a treatment plan, make sure that it is up-to-date and accessible. Also;
- In case you or the caregiver of your child is ill, identify a potential alternative caregiver.
- Check with the doctor of your child about plans for continued care during a pandemic
- Gather specific instructions for the caregiver
- If your child continues to receive support services at home, talk to healthcare providers about how you can lessen the risk of exposure
- Don’t hesitate to call the doctor of your child when it’s needed for particular health concerns
Each of us has added stress because of the pandemic. It is good to identify it since the situations likely won’t resolve overnight. However, it is still potential to manage stress and consider these tips;
- Stay healthy: Prioritize getting enough sleep, staying active, and eating balanced meals. These will help decrease stress levels.
- Take breaks: Don’t forget to give yourself some time. To have some time gathering your thoughts, wake a few minutes early. Pause for a minute before going to bed and do some deep breathing or stretching.
- Have some fun: Together with your family, share relaxed moments. You can go for a sunset walk, play games with your kids, or enjoy some movie nights at home.
- Connect with loved ones: Stay connected with other family members or friends via phone or video calls.