Spring is in the air, and that means summer is fast approaching! Summertime is a happy time for many, with kids out of school, beautiful weather, family vacations to enjoy, and a more leisurely pace to everyday life. For parents, it can also be a bit stressful because we’re often the ones planning those fun family trips and summer camps, hauling everyone to the pool, and keeping everyone fed and entertained. And if you’re the parent of a child with special needs, you may be even more busy in the summertime with all the additional appointments and everyday responsibilities that go hand in hand with caring for your child.
It’s super important that you as a parent remember to try and plan for small breaks for yourself this summer. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day and all the activities and things you’ve got going on for your family that you forget about yourself, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s very likely that you have a few family members or close friends that you could trust to care for your loved one with special needs, even if it’s just for a couple hours while you take some time for yourself. Maybe you never ask because you don’t know what they might say, but the truth is that more likely than not, those people want to help, they just aren’t sure how. If you ask them, that gives them a chance to say yes and finally have the opportunity to help in a way that they weren’t certain of before.
Taking that time for yourself can be so refreshing, and it lets you enjoy your summertime too, rather than just planning and going and doing constantly like we as parents often do to ensure that everyone else has a fun summer. Even if it’s just a couple hours free every other week, it could mean a drastic reduction in your stress level this summer, giving you a chance to relax and replenish. Who knows, your special needs loved one may also enjoy the opportunity to hang out with someone new, too! Parents and kids spend so much time together, especially in the summer, and while that’s valuable family time that shouldn’t be taken for granted, it can also end up being a little too much time together. A little time apart here and there this summer is typically healthy for most families.
Whatever your summer looks like for you and your family, we encourage you to take some time for yourself. Being a parent is hard work, and we applaud you for everything you do. So put aside that annoying mom or dad guilt, and make some plans for yourself this summer! You’ll be doing both yourself and your family a favor by giving yourself time to relax so that you can be the best parent you can be for your family, especially your loved one with special needs. Enjoy your summertime, and get busy making those plans to relax and rejuvenate!