As a parent of a child with Down syndrome, you should learn to identify some things that will be beneficial to your child’s growth and development.
How to Support Yourself
We are constantly dealing with our everyday stresses and challenges. However, having a child with Down syndrome means additional responsibilities. Besides the usual activities in school, you will be having scheduled visits to a therapist or a pediatrician. Here are some tips on how to support yourself:
Build a support system
Ask someone to assist you in providing care for your child. In that way, you can take some time off for yourself and relax so that you can become a better parent or spouse.
Talk about your challenges
Some people around you want to help but they just don’t know how. Ask for their help and talk to them.
Keep a list of the things that you need
Jot down all your needs, so that you can purchase or obtain them and prepare them.
Find time for friends
Do not sacrifice your bonding time with friends. They can ease your burdens and make you recharge after a hard week.
Go easy on yourself
Take good care of yourself, and find ways to manage stress.
Take care of your health
Having a healthy mind and body is important during this time. Get enough exercise and eat a well-balanced diet.
Kids with Down syndrome constantly need positive reinforcement so that they can respond better to you as a parent. Here are some tips that you can follow everyday.
Treat them just like any other kid
Assign them some easy household chores. Simply split them up into smaller steps and be gentle. Allow them to play with other normal kids. When your kid learns and tries new things, show them recognition. Make your child enjoy activities with the whole family such as eating out, shopping and travelling.
For everyday tasks:
Make a daily schedule and stick to it. Create a schedule for getting up, having breakfast, brushing teeth and getting dressed. Give cues to the child before starting the next activity. You can use images or sing a song with them.
To help your child with school, you should:
- Avoid saying that they are wrong; instead say something positive
- Focus on your child’s needs rather than his or her condition
- Apply school learnings at home
- Give simple instructions
- Make your kids repeat your instructions, to know if they understood it
- Talk about the things that your child seemed excited about
Give Your Child Some Control
Make your child decide on his or her own, so he or she can feel that they have some control over their lives.
For example, you can:
- Let them choose what they want, such as letting them decide what clothes to wear.
- Give him or her a comfort zone. Stand back, let them do things on their own, but assure them that you are there for them, when they need help.
- Support him or her in solving You don’t need to fix it for them; just be there to offer them advice when they need it.