Self-Care Plan Elements for Parents of Children With Special Needs

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  Updated: February 8, 2023

Parents of children with special needs are often swamped by the responsibilities of their daily lives. Caring for a child with special needs can be draining, so parents must take some time to focus on their health and well-being. Here, REACH Educational Services discusses some of the essential elements for creating an effective self-care plan for such parents.

Carve out time for self-care

Caring for your child is important, but you also need to find a way to carve out time for yourself every day. No matter how busy your life gets, make sure to take breaks throughout the day to take care of yourself. Find activities that help you relax and destress such as meditation, yoga, or reading a book.

Simply scheduling regular times each week devoted entirely to self-care has been shown over time to drastically improve well-being. Taking time away from your parenting responsibilities allows us to recharge our physical, mental, and emotional energy levels so that we may show up better when interacting with our children.

Make healthy choices

Eating healthy snacks regularly can help ensure that you’re getting the proper nutrition necessary to care for your family while still keeping up with self-care goals. Avoid processed foods when possible and opt instead for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes which all contain vital vitamins and minerals needed to stay energized throughout the day.

Set boundaries

As much as we want to be everything our kids need us to be all the time, it’s simply not physically possible, so setting boundaries between caregiving and personal space is key. Make sure everyone involved understands your expectations around when it’s okay to approach you about issues related to your child and when it’s okay for them to take matters into their own hands without involving you to minimize disruption during those times set aside for self-care.

Consider a career change

Preparing for the future is one of the smartest moves an individual can make, and with so much uncertainty in today’s job market, seeking new employment can be daunting. To ensure you’re as prepared as possible should new opportunities arise, using free resume templates online can give your professional profile an update quickly and easily. Having your resume template ready makes entering the job market less intimidating, saving you valuable time and energy.

Strike out on your own

Starting a business is a great option for parents who have limited time available due to caretaking duties but still wish to remain professionally engaged. Whether it’s consulting or running an online store, there are plenty of options worth exploring if entrepreneurship is right up your alley.

Find a support group

When caring for a child with special needs, it’s important not to go it alone. Finding other parents who are either in similar circumstances or who have already gone through these experiences can provide much-needed support and companionship. Look into online support groups, local networks, or professional therapy resources — whatever works best to help ease the strain of parenting a special needs child.

Keep communication open

Finally, don’t forget about talking things out with your partner. Caring for a child with special needs is not easy, and it takes two people to make sure that the family is functioning at its best. Communicating openly and regularly will ensure that everyone feels supported and heard.


Parents of children with special needs often neglect their self-care. However, parents need to take care of themselves to be able to care for their children effectively. You, too, can develop a self-care plan tailored specifically to your own needs and preferences today.

Meet The Author

My name is Jenny Wise. I am a Special Educator. I am a stay-at-home parent to 4 beautiful children. My husband and I made the decision to home-educate when our oldest was four years old. During this journey, we have expanded our family, and faced many challenges along the way. With every challenge, we have experienced great rewards.

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