Survival Guide for Parents with Special Needs Children
School closures and social distancing have put everyone on edge, and parents have the added stress of having kids home all day. Parents who have a child with a disability, whether it’s a physical, communication or learning disability, or ADHD, are under even higher levels of stress to keep their kids on schedule, completing schoolwork, and not climbing the walls from boredom.
Here are some simple survival tips and tricks to help you navigate until schools reopen.
- Keep a schedule – Kids are used to a set schedule when they are in school, so it’s crucial they continue to have consistency and predictability at home. Write the daily plan on paper, a whiteboard, poster board – whatever you have available. Most importantly, let your kids participate in the scheduling making and stick to it.
- Set a timer – Keep kids on-task and focused with a timer. The timer will allow them to visually or auditorily track how much time they need to attend to an activity. You can use a timer for fun or free time activities as well as academics.
- Make time for Fun – Make sure the kids have plenty of time to be kids with playtime. It should include both indoor and outdoor play to get needed fresh air (which is also useful for improving focus). Free time does not imply device-time. Let kids be kids with creative play. Keep the empty toilet and paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, etc. and get out the crayons, markers, construction paper, and glue or tape.
- Limit Device Use – We all love our devices, TV shows, and games, but make sure you include this in your daily schedule. Let them play their digital games and watch TV but put it on the schedule and use a timer to help limit their use. Encourage use of educational apps and games. Many educational companies are offering free access (Bamboo Learning, All Kids Network, Arcademics, Ascend Math, BrainPOP, Discovery K-12). Check out a list of free online resources here.
- Get Creative – If your kids love their TV and games, let them have them but assign a report to practice their writing. Create comic books, act out favorite scenes from books or movies, go on virtual field trips, and dance parties.
Need supplies or assistive technology? Check out our Learning Tools, Sale Items, and other products to help make being at home fun.