When Raising a Special Needs Child, Keep it Fun!
By Denise D. Aggen
When someone becomes a new parent, having a healthy and happy child is the first thing on their mind. Being a parent of a child with cerebral palsy can sometimes make a parent question themselves or their abilities to raise someone with special needs. I know when I became a parent at the age of 21, I thought maybe I had done something wrong in my life to be given a child with cerebral palsy. It was not until a stranger told me that I was not being punished, but I was actually chosen to be this special child’s parent because I was also the special one. I was going to be the rock for this child and help them become the best that they could be. Looking at my baby at that time, I saw no disabilities; I only saw her love for me.
Appreciate the Little Things in Life
My daughter has taught me to appreciate the little things in life. Many parents take for granted the different skills that a child learns as they develop, such as putting on their socks, or brushing their teeth. In my house, if my daughter learns a new thing, we celebrate with a happy dance with a lot of hooting and hollering. It takes a lot for someone who has cerebral palsy, depending on the case, to learn a new task or skill.
Currently, I am trying to get my daughter to stay in her own bed all night long. Now mind you, she is very cute coming into my room in the middle of the night with her little doll in her arm and her pillow in the other saying, “Mommy, I had a bad dream. Can I sleep with you?” That is just so precious. I need to be strong and put her back into her room and be stern with her, because a good habit is much easier for her to learn than a bad habit is to break.
Make It Fun
When trying to teach your child with cerebral palsy a new skill or task, make it fun for them. Create a calendar with a box full of stickers that they can pick from when they reach their goals. Go shopping together to pick out the calendar or the materials to make a calendar. Let them pick out the different stickers that they will be using to put on their special calendar. This will be a great treat for them and this will help them become even more excited to reach their goals.
In our house, my daughter can put a sticker on the calendar when she goes potty on the toilet, when she brushes her teeth and when she stays in her own bed all night. After so many stickers, she can choose from a list of prizes, such as going shopping for a new doll or new clothes. Everyone likes to have something to look forward to, and it can be exciting and fun for everyone in the family. Make it fun and enjoy the little things in life.
About the Author
Denise D. Aggen is the proud mother of two and an avid blogger. She writes both a personal blog and a blog called A Parent’s Precious Moments, which chronicles her life as the parent of a child with cerebral palsy.
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