7 Habits of Highly Effective Special Needs Parents


I don’t think I’ve ever reprinted a parenting article at this blog. But I was so taken with “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Special Needs Parents” that I thought I should share it with you, since I know that more than a few of my readers are, like me, parenting children with special needs. I’m curious whether you manage to maintain any of the habits described below. I have tried hard, especially during the past few years when I have been a single parent as well. Here is the article, reprinted with permission of Joan Celebi of SpecialNeedsParentCoach.

If you are a mom of a child with special needs, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this article. Please leave them in the comments.

Did you ever notice how some special needs parents seem to be not just surviving, but doing quite well? Even with the challenges they face every day, and heavy demands on their time and energy, they’re happy, organized, energetic, all-around “put-together” people – and they hardly ever seem to be in a rush or stressed out. What are their secrets?

It’s not that their children’s special needs are any less serious. And it’s not because these parents just naturally have a sunny disposition.

From my own experience as a special needs mom, from observing fellow special needs parents, and from seeing what works best for my coaching clients, I’ve discovered over the years what it takes to be one of these “highly effective special needs parents.”

Parents of children with special needs who live manageable, balanced, joyful lives utilize a set of skills I call the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Special Needs Parents. You can learn these skills, just as I did years ago, and just as my clients do today.

So … what do highly effective special needs parents do? While everyone has their own unique mix of what works best, here are the common threads that I’ve found running through the lives of these parents:

1. They make rest a priority.

Highly effective special needs parents are in bed by 10 pm or even earlier most nights, even if it means leaving something unfinished. Parents whose children have irregular sleep patterns take naps whenever possible to make up for the late nights and pre-dawn awakenings.

2. They make time for eating well.

Highly effective special needs parents don’t skip meals – and they eat delicious, nutritious food. They get the whole family involved in weekly or monthly meal planning. They also tend to stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day.

3. They find support.

Highly effective special needs parents get help with even the smallest things, as often as they can, from anyone and anywhere they can: family, friends, neighbors, agencies, organizations, and their community. They hire help when necessary, and find creative solutions for bartering help with family and friends. They belong to support groups for their children’s special needs and disabilities, and they’re in close contact with other special needs families in their area.

4. They guard their time carefully.

Highly effective special needs parents know they have to be careful about how many activities they sign up for, and the activities they do choose to participate in are only those that are nearest and dearest to their hearts. They save most of their free time for whatever truly matters to them most.

5. They schedule social time on the calendar.

Highly effective special needs parents regularly go out with friends, and also with their spouse or partner. They take the time and effort to train sitters, relatives, or friends on how to care for their children, so their social time can be as fun and worry-free as possible. They take advantage of respite services in their area when they need a break. They schedule social time weeks or months in advance, and then do whatever’s necessary to make it happen.

6. They nurture their own needs and interests.

Highly effective special needs parents reserve time for exercise – walking, biking, hiking, stretching, exercise videos, even gym workouts. Many exercise with friends. They engage in creative pursuits and hobbies that can be fit into small moments here and there throughout the week. And they make time for intellectual activities too, like reading or taking a class for personal growth and enrichment.

7. They intentionally practice stress-reducing techniques.

While all of the above habits are excellent for reducing stress, highly effective special needs parents take stress reduction a step further by practicing deep breathing, meditation, or anything that helps them build up their inner reserves and cultivate inner calm. Highly effective special needs parents also reserve time each day to put aside the therapy goals and the discipline issues, and relax with their children, enjoying them just the way they are.

What about you?
I’ve seen it time and again: the more you practice these 7 Habits, the more productive and efficient you become, the more you’re able to handle whatever comes your way, and the more things fall into place in your life. Many of these habits are about taking excellent care of yourself, so you can continue to take excellent care of your children and family.

It’s well known that when parents lead low-stress, balanced lives, children do better socially, emotionally, and academically. Try some of these 7 Habits, starting today – you’ll be amazed at what a huge difference they’ll make – for you, your children, and your family.


(Photo by me, August 2010)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterPin it on PinterestSubmit to StumbleUponShare via email
This entry was posted in other blogs, special needs. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to 7 Habits of Highly Effective Special Needs Parents

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think all these habits would be good for all parents to follow.

  2. ajsims says:

    I am mom to 5 kids and one of them is special needs. I don't do all of these things, but I do several of them.

    One glaring omission is a faith in God. My trust in HIM is what gets me through the toughest days and reminds me that He is in control. That is 90% of my mentality/attitude that makes the rest possible.

    My house isn't the cleanest, but it's filled with love. My kids are clean, well-mannered, and smartly dressed. Everyone has a full stomach when they snuggle into their beds at night. Love makes all of this possible.

  3. Kidlet's Pop says:

    If only following proven guidance was as easy as reading it. I'm not in this situation, but I can imagine myself struggling to hold to these practices.

  4. Folksam says:

    I agree on what you said , and I think it's not just about having time for yourself, it's more on remembering who you are.
    Wonderful pic!

  5. mymomshops says:

    Yes, it is very hard to follow even just one of them (and that's for any parent, but even more so, I believe, for parents of children with special needs). But they are good to keep in mind.

  6. hey there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this web site, since I experienced to reload the site lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again soon..

  7. I gotta bookmark this internet site it seems handy handy

  8. Only wanna say that this is handy , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  9. You have observed very interesting points! ps decent website.

  10. I just want to tell you that I am just very new to blogging and certainly liked your blog site. Probably I’m going to bookmark your site . You really have outstanding stories. Thank you for sharing your blog site.

  11. Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Fantastic. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  12. I dugg some of you post as I cerebrated they were very helpful extremely helpful

  13. Catherine says:

    I believe this site contains some real great info for everyone :D . “I like work it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.” by Jerome K. Jerome.

  14. Keep up the good piece of work, I read few articles on this website and I conceive that your web site is very interesting and has got lots of good info.

  15. You could definitely see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  16. I regard something truly special in this internet site.

  17. Hello my loved one! I want to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with almost all important infos. I would like to look extra posts like this.

  18. hgh says:

    Having read this I thought it was extremely informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>