Helping children with learning disabilities Tip 5:
Take care of yourself, too
Sometimes the hardest part of parenting is remembering to take care of you. It’s easy to get caught up in what your child needs, while forgetting your own needs. But if you don’t look after yourself, you run the risk of burning out.
It’s important to tend to your physical and emotional needs so that you’re in a healthy space for your child. You won’t be able to help your child if you’re stressed out, exhausted, and emotionally depleted. When you’re calm and focused, on the other hand, you’re better able to connect with your child and help him or her be calm and focused too.
Your spouse, friends, and family members can be helpful teammates if you can find a way to include them and learn to ask for help when you need it.
Tips for taking care of yourself
- Learn how to manage stress in your own life. Make daily time for yourself to relax and decompress.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse, family, and friends. Ask for help when you need it.
- Take care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest.
- Join a learning disorder support group. The encouragement and advice you’ll get from other parents can be invaluable.
- Enlist teachers, therapists, and tutors whenever possible to share some of responsibility for day-to-day academic responsibilities.
Communicate with family and friends about your child’s learning disability
Some parents keep their child’s learning disability a secret, which can, even with the best intentions, look like shame or guilt. Without knowing, extended family and friends may not understand the disability or think that your child’s behavior is stemming from laziness or hyperactivity. Once they are aware of what’s going on, they can support your child’s progress.
Within the family, siblings may feel that their brother or sister with a learning disability is getting more attention, less discipline and preferential treatment. Even if your other children understand that the learning disability creates special challenges, they can easily feel jealous or neglected. Parents can help curb these feelings by reassuring all of their children that they are loved, providing homework help, and by including family members in any special routines for the child with a learning disability.