Not long ago, I wrapped up an unexpected stint of 24/7 grandma duty with a 3-year-old. Our 10 days together were a grand success, though I felt like I was spinning plates. One plate for the 3-year-old. Another plate for meeting my mother’s caregiving needs. A plate each for my husband, my work obligations, housekeeping, and meals.

As a sanity-saving measure, I tucked away the plates for myself, friends, and hobbies until my grandson’s parents returned. Once he was home again, I compiled 9 Ways Parents of Kids with Special Needs Can Make Time for Themselves

#1: Lower Standards

My need for neatness was not compatible with a 3-year-old in the house. I quickly realized that for both our sakes, my standards had to be lowered. Clean clothes, bathroom, and dishes were priorities. My grandson and I put away toys each night to reinforce what his parents had been working on with him. Everything else received a lick and a promise, and the world did not end.

#2: Lower Expectations

I’m nottalking about lowering expectations for a child’s behavior. Those expectations, in line with a child’s developmental abilities, must be reinforced daily. However, parents must lower unrealistic expectations we often put on ourselves. We need to tailor expectations and say no to demands that don’t match our circumstances. For example, say no to leading a Girl Scout Troop and offer to send treats periodically instead. Say no to an hour-a-day Bible study program and choose a fifteen minute daily devotional instead. Say no to a daily work out at a gym and do an exercise video at home instead.

To read the rest of 9 Ways Parents of Kids with Special Needs Can Make Time for Themselves, visit the Patheos website.

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