It’s that time of year where we’re all trying to wipe our slates clean and develop some good habits for the New Year. As parents of children with special needs, it’s common to forget about your own needs, since the children’s needs so often come first. However, it won’t do your children any favors if you aren’t running at your best. To spark some inspiration, here are our recommendations for New Year’s resolutions for the parents.
1. Read A Book
By this, we mean a book that has nothing to do with your child’s condition. Whether you’re into thrillers, biographies or cheesy romance novels, pick up something entertaining and read it. Bring it with you when your child goes to their therapy sessions; listen to it on an audiobook while you’re doing housework, read before bed. Whatever works best for you, take the time to unwind a bit with a good book.
2. Find At Least 2 Reliable Babysitters
Finding a babysitter who works well with your child is crucial. However, don’t assume that one babysitter is enough; they may not always be available. We recommend finding at least 2 reliable babysitters that you know you can trust with your child when you have appointments of your own or errands to run. If you’re not sure where to start searching, try talking to other parents you know who have children with special needs.
3. Have A Date Night
You deserve to have some fun of your own every once in a while, whether you’re a single parent or happily married, date nights are a great way to let loose. The babysitters we mentioned will be a key component for this as well. It will go a long way in making sure you’re not worried about your child the whole evening. Getting drinks with friends, going out to dinner, or seeing a movie are just a few simple things to try. As long as you have fun, that’s all that matters.
4. Get More Sleep
Yes, it sounds like a common resolution, but it is no less important. Getting between 6-8 hours of sleep each night is an essential component to functioning properly during the day. To achieve this, try to stick to a regular sleep routine (adults can have bedtimes too), even on the weekends. Also, try to avoid napping for more than a few minutes during the day, it could throw off your sleep cycle if you go for too long.
Along with a healthy diet, getting regular exercise will help you function at your best and will make you feel energized as well. As parents, your schedules are probably jam packed with things your kids have going on that you need to take them to/from. Also, if you’re a working parent, that can make finding time for exercise difficult. However, there are ways to squeeze some activity into your daily routine. If you’re an early riser, try a workout video with the volume lowered before the kids get up. If there’s a gym near your work, do a quick circuit on your lunch hour. Even something as simple as walking or jogging with a friend after you drop off the kids at school is great. Whatever your schedule, make sure to put some kind of fitness in somewhere.