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How to Avoid Burnout While Parenting Your Child with a Disability

Updated: Apr 30

By Alissa Strickland

Visit Great Aspirations for individualized education plans designed to help your child achieve academic success.

Guest Article provided by: Alyssa Strickland - shares tips and advice from her experience, and from other young parents on three key areas of education, relationships, and community.

When your child has a disability, much of your time is dedicated exclusively to caregiving. You want to give your child the best life possible, but as the years go on, you might notice that you’re exhausted all the time. If this sounds relatable, it’s time to finally address your fatigue and begin the healing process. Great Aspirations shares how to gradually make lifestyle changes for the sake of your family’s well-being and your health.

Identify the Cause of Your Fatigue

To figure out what’s causing your fatigue, you’ll need to take some time for self-reflection. Consider a few crucial questions as you assess your level of exhaustion. Is your child struggling with sleep problems or behavioral issues? How would you rate your marital satisfaction? And what is your social support system like? Is your home environment affecting your focus and state of mind? Answering questions like these will help you hone in on why you’re feeling so fatigued and what you’ll need to do to remedy the issue.

Start Your “Treatment Plan”

The answers to questions like these will help you determine what steps to take next. If you’ve realized that you’re growing distant from your spouse, Parents recommend practicing forgiveness, taking a team approach to problems, and setting aside time for date nights with the help of your loved ones. Adjusting to predictable routines can also help your child feel calmer and sleep better at night.

And if you know that you need more support overall, you can start researching organizations in your area that provide caregiver assistance and financial help to families with special needs children. Furthermore, you can research day camps and other programs for children with special needs that will give your child the opportunity to make new friends and connect with other kids to whom they can relate.

Be Mindful of Negative Outcomes

Of course, mishaps can always occur when you’re making changes that affect your household. For instance, if you and your spouse disagree on how to best solve these issues, Empowering Parents recommends choosing calm moments to talk about major parenting decisions and patiently listening while your spouse shares their point of view. You can also seek advice from your child’s healthcare providers or even a couples’ counselor.

It’s also important to mark successes and positive moments. Making a practice of spotting positives can change your outlook on life. You can honor these moments in many ways, from verbal encouragement to cards or a special treat.

Reach for Your Personal Goals

Perhaps you’ve set aside your own goals for years now, telling yourself that you had to devote all of your energy to your child. Your child is indeed your priority - but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach for your personal goals as well. Maybe you want to run your first 5K or finally get back in the gym.

If you’ve ever dreamed about starting your own business, you might even find that entrepreneurship will pay off for your family in the long run by giving you more flexibility and more earning potential. To get started, you’ll want to register your business. If you choose to form an LLC, in addition to qualifying you for more tax breaks, this entity will also protect your family’s financial assets, which will bring you peace of mind. You can go through an online formation service to register your business - they can ensure that you meet all your requirements according to California regulations.

Parents everywhere struggle to make time for themselves and often feel fatigued. This is particularly true for the parents of children with special needs. With these realistic tips, you can begin to incorporate self-care into your routines and become the best version of yourself whether you’re starting a business or just looking for ways to feel less fatigued.

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