We posted a couple weeks ago how you shouldn’t let having a chronically ill or child with special needs hold you back from having more children. Overwhelmingly people who have gone on to have more children are happy that they did and feel like it was the best decision for their family.
But, it’s not easy. How do you go about making sure their siblings get as much attention as your more demanding child? It’s easy for mom and dad guilt to creep in, to think that you aren’t doing enough even though you might be. Here are some ideas from the experts, special needs parents.
- Take them on errands by themselves – Even short trips like the home improvement or grocery store, or even to the gas station, will provide them moments of one on one attention with a parent. It will make them feel special and listened to.
- Plan a date night (Or a date day!) – A few parents recommended this. Give each sibling a night a month, let them choose what to do, where to go, and have both parents go on the date. Getting away from the distraction of a high needs sibling is crucial to building a relationship – even if it’s only for a few hours a month.
- Late nights – Have a special night where the sibling gets to stay up a little later and spend time with mom and dad. Remember how cool it was staying up past your bedtime when you were younger? It’s great! And time spent snuggling with mom and dad make it even more special.
- Find them an outlet – Whether it be sports, swimming lessons, art classes or something else. Give them time to express themselves outside of your home and away from their siblings. It helps them be an individual and make new friends.
- Counseling – Having your child talk to a professional is not a defeat! Sometimes they need to communicate their concerns and hear information that doesn’t come from mom and dad. This might provide just the right opportunity.
We never said it would be easy, in fact, we said it would be hard! But in the end, even adult siblings of children with special needs agree it has given them more compassion in dealing with people as well as helping them visualize the bigger picture.
Do you have a sibling tip to share? Let us know in the comments!
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net