Caring for Siblings of Children with Disabilities


Parents who have a child with a disability understand that caring for that child is a full-time job. The other children in the family, however, may feel lost in the shuffle. Parents must make sure that their other children get the time and love they need and not just change them into caregiving assistants. 


Dedicate One-on-One Time 


One of the best ways that you can make sure your other children are not feeling left out from your attention and love is to dedicate some one-on-one time each day. Set aside a period where you can interact with your children individually without the interruptions of any of your other children. This gives the child a sense of meaning in the family. 


Make the time special. For smaller children, read them a book, do a craft, or play a game. For older children, talk about their favorite subject, even if it is not yours. Do a hobby together, go for a walk or a bicycle ride. Do something that is meaningful to them as much as you. 


Yes, it is hard to find the time to dedicate to these activities.  Every parent understands this, but it is very important. 


All too often, the children in the household without the disability become the parent’s assistant caregivers so that the parents can get some rest. While most siblings do not mind helping out - they see what it takes to help their sibling – they also feel like they are less important to you as an individual. No one should have to feel this way. 


Even if your other children wish to get involved with the care of your disabled child, make sure that you set aside enough time each day for you to enjoy their company and be a meaningful part of their lives. Children grow up fast, and you do not want to miss out on all the special childhood moments.  

Parents- Leave Guilt at The Door 


Many parents that have a disabled child feel guilty enjoying themselves with their other children. They may feel that spending time apart from their disabled child is wrong and that they should not go out with their other children. Many people even fear criticism from other parents for not being with their disabled child around the clock. 


You do not have to feel guilty about spending time with your other children. You are, after all, their parent and you deserve quality time with all of your children and your children need and want that time with you. Leave the guilt at the door and do what you know is right for all of your children by dedicating special time to each one, each day. 

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