Other “hacks” in this series appear at the end of the post. Today's "hacks" are for parents living with a chronic condition.
Keep in mind the following:
• There is no such thing as a “perfect” home or family. We’re presented with challenges and it’s how we respond that matters.
ª It’s the small things that parents do that most often are remembered and mean the most.
• “Couch parenting” works
• It is very important that you put yourself first because you need to be as healthy as you can be to take care of your children.
• Having physical needs met-food, shelter, safety, exercise, health checkups, immunizations
• Unconditional love-Your love doesn’t depend on their accomplishments. Mistakes happen and things don’t always work out the way you expect them to. It’s okay. Show your love with praise, smiles, hugs, kisses, cuddling and “warm fuzzies
• Someone that talks as well as listens
• One on one time
Say Yes to
• Making your number one priority you. If you think I’m repeating myself, I am to stress a point. If you make other people the priority, you will end up getting sicker and not being able to help anyone. It is therefore important that you eat well, exercise, de-stress, keep medical appointments and take medications as prescribed.
• Support for you and your kid(s). This can come from many different places: other parents, family, friends, school, condition specific support group/organization, civic groups, churches etc.
• Support for your children: There are on-line as well as in person support groups for kids whose parents are dealing with health issues. Some groups have special weekend retreats, parties, Facebook pages and even summer camp. Encourage kids to participate in them, so they understand they are not alone. Family support is also important, but remember it’s important that kids voice how they are feeling in a safe space.
• Setting up a Lotsa Helping Hands website. This free website will help you coordinate what you need and when. An older child might be willing to be a co-administrator.
• Honest answers to your children’s questions. They need age-appropriate information to help them understand what you are dealing with. Talk to your medical provider, condition specific organization, or support group for help with this.
• Modeling appropriate responses to stress.
• Letting your kids be kids. They are not mini-adults
Things you can do from the couch
• Write special messages that can be tucked into their backpack, bed, place setting
• Cuddle under a blanket and watch a favorite TV Show together, read a book, listen to a book on tape, tell a story or just listen to the rain.
• Let them play outside
• Talk to them about anything
• Have meals with them
• See that they have nutritious food to eat
• Watch live streams of their games when possible. If that isn’t being done, ask a parent to video the game and e-mail you a copy.
• Take a break with them. Check out Take a Break Pinterest for lots of ideas.
Condition Specific Advice
• Brain Injury: Helping Children Cope with Head Injury in the Family
• Cancer: Parenting with Cancer