Sharing special needs love on Valentine's Day is a way to show gratitude & give back to those who support caregiving families all year long. Check out these simple ideas.

Sharing special needs love is often a one way street where others support caregiving families by encouraging and giving to them. Trish Shaeffer, mom to sons with special needs, suggests ways families can reciprocate by showing appreciation and giving back this Valentine’s Day.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we sometimes forget what the holiday is really about thanks to the big markets out there for candy and cards and more. It can be overwhelming, trying to decide what to get and who to get a box of candy or card for.

Yet Valentine’s Day should be a day when we slow down by sharing special needs love and appreciate all who are there for us. Whether your encourager is a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, classmate, teacher, parent, husband, wife, or child–you don’t need to spend tons of money or buy a dozen roses to show that you appreciate what they do. All it takes is a hug, a shared day together, a handmade card, a homemade meal, or a thoughtful favor done for someone.

One small gesture is all you need. Showing people you care is contagious and will continue to spread the special needs love you’ve received. Even better, you are showing your children how to show love, acceptance and helping those in need.

I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to spread the love by doing something small that could make a huge impact on someone’s life. Here are some more simple ideas to spread the love:

  • Volunteer to help spread the special needs love through delivering Meals on Wheels or spending time at a senior center with those that may not have many visitors.
  • Pay for the coffee of someone behind you in line.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter or donate some old towels or blankets for the animals to have something to sleep with.
  • Bake some cookies for your neighbor.
  • Hand make a card for your child or significant other.
  • Make dinner together as a family.
  • Donate items to a local homeless shelter.
  • Volunteer to cuddle NICU babies at the hospital.
  • Donate items to the Ronald McDonald Family Room. Coloring books, snacks, and  coffee are a few good suggestions.
  • Give someone a hug or high five.

If you have more ideas about sharing special needs love on Valentine’s Day or all year round, leave a comment below.

Trish Shaeffer, mom of 3 active boys, offers 12 holiday tips for special needs families that have worked at her house for many years.Trish Shaeffer mom of 3 active boys, a 9-year-old and 5-year-old twins who were born 2 months early and have special needs. She’s a peer supporter for Parent to Parent and volunteers with the United Cerebral Palsy Network, Special Olympics, and the United Way. She’s also an equine volunteer at Leg Up Farm. She’s married to her best friend and biggest supporter, Chris Schaeffer.

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