The last two weeks of the year may feel like a race to the finish line for some parents, as we scurry to make sure our kids have a special holiday. Then when January 1 arrives, most of us feel hopeful and hungry for a new start. Every New Year is a new beginning. All our hope is focused on setting new goals and dreaming new dreams.
Kids grow and face new challenges and in a certain way, we parents feel pressured to make sure we keep educating our children, while giving them the best experiences for growing and learning. This pressure can be stronger when raising children with special needs, as measuring the outcomes of learning may not always be easy or empowering for their families.
Read Related: 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Entire Family
So if during the year that just passed, your child did not meet every benchmark you’d set for him or her, don’t put more pressure on yourself and your child by setting the same hard-to-reach goals in 2013. Here are five tips to set realistic resolutions for yourself and your child with special needs, and to help you feel happy and proud of what you have already achieved, together.
- Remember that the most important part of school for your child is not getting As on all his assignments. Instead, it’s learning life skills that will help him thrive and be as independent as possible in his daily activities. If you want to dream higher and your child is ready, go for it! But don’t expect your child to be the best; expect him to be the best he can be.
- Take steps instead of setting big goals. Focusing on the small triumphs will give you the motivation to keep going. Let your child surprise you!
- Every “normal” experience is a learning opportunity. Start at home by teaching your child to be responsible and proactive. Children need responsibilities to grow up and believe in their own abilities. Keep adding new responsibilities that will make him proud of growing up and showing off all that he can do.
- Be realistic about the things you can change or improve through therapies or additional services. Don’t fight against your child’s nature. Instead, learn how to celebrate his individuality and provide him with the tools he needs to find ways of feeling understood and accepted.
- Work closely with all the people involved in your child’s education. Don’t be scared of asking or requesting things that you consider important. You’ll always be the most expert specialist and the most important person in your child’s life. Professionals are there to help by providing the best techniques to help your child succeed, but you always have the last word. Listen to your heart and don’t lose the main objective: To give your child a voice. Nobody else but you can do it.
Follow your dreams and celebrate those small things that others may let pass by unnoticed. And remember, your most important goal for the New Year is to find happiness in his everyday achievements and let him know that he is loved and appreciated, and that you are proud of every aspect of who he is.