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How parents of a special needs child can practice self-care

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In order to care for a child, parents must be strong in body and mind, and this is especially true for parents of special needs kids who need a bit more attention than other children. However, you must not let parenting get the best of you. Parents need to understand their level of fatigue and combat those feelings with a comprehensive self-care plan. Here at Disability Insider, we know how important it is to give your child the best life possible, so we have some tips for your particular self-care plan.

Understand Fatigue

Parents of special needs children need to take some time out to think about themselves and consider if they are feeling fatigued. As parents, we may believe that we can go all day and night, and some of us may even consider it our responsibility, but if we don’t take care of our physical and mental health, then we could face unhealthy consequences, such as anxiety, depression, or you could unintentionally start overcompensating for your partner, which is not fair to them.

Take a beat and think about your level of fatigue by asking yourself some questions. How is the quality of your sleep? Are you rested enough in the morning? When you are up, are you able to keep up with your children all day or do you see your parental effectiveness declining? If you are struggling to keep up, is your struggle affecting your child’s development? If the answers to these questions point to fatigue, then you need to create a self-care plan.

Get Enough Sleep

If you feel fatigued all day, then your self-care plan needs to start with getting more sleep. Doctors recommend seven to nine hours of sleep per night. You can fall asleep easier every night by creating a routine where you go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. Avoid looking at your phone screen and watching television right before bed because the blue light can disrupt your sleep.

If your child also has trouble sleeping then have them follow the same guidelines. Sometimes a fan in the room can keep it cool which can help the little ones sleep.

Set Goals

While your child is the center of your world, parents also have lives and you need to focus on yours in order to give yourself purpose and a reason to wake up every day. Take some time to set goals for yourself that you hope to achieve this year. That could be saving up for a future vacation, starting a business, or deciding to join a group.

A great way to learn new things and obtain a sense of accomplishment is by going back to school to obtain a degree in a subject that fascinates you. While that may seem too time consuming at first, remember that technology allows us to now achieve a degree online. You can log in at night or early in the morning when your child is asleep and take a few lessons, and before you know it, you could have a bachelor’s degree without leaving the house. Then you can think about getting a great new job when the time is right.


A great way to create natural energy and feel better in body and mind is to wake up before your child and get 30 minutes of exercise. By running on the treadmill or riding the bike, you can stay in great shape and clear your mind. You can add to the enjoyment of exercise by doing something you like while you train, such as talking to a friend on the phone or watching your favorite show as you run. After your full night of sleep, this exercise routine will make you feel great and it will get you ready to take on a new day with your special son or daughter.

In the end, while we may live to support our children, parents also need to keep a healthy body and mind. Add the tips here to your self-care plan and feel better every day.

About the Author

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Gwen Payne

Gwen Payne is a stay-at-home mom with an entrepreneurial spirit. Over the years, she has mastered raising her two daughters while side hustling to success through small ventures based on her passions — from dog walking to writing to ecommerce. With she hopes to show other stay-at-home parents how they can achieve their business-owning dreams.