We have four beautiful daughters, one of which has been diagnosed with a developmental disorder. For those of you out there who have special needs children, you know that they require a lot of time and attention, so today I would like to talk about how to try to balance your non special needs kids with the demands that are inherent with a special needs child.
Sometimes we get so over-whelmed with the schedule and needs of S, that we can forget that our other girls have physical and emotional needs as well. To be honest, S has put a strain on the whole family. From the way we sleep to almost every other thing we do. So, how are we able to balance this with the other girls? Well I will be the first to admit that we aren’t always the best at it, but we are trying. I have found that when we make the effort, the other girls do notice, so trying is a good start.
The simplest things can be the best. First off, I find time is one of the simple things that the girls appreciate the most. New toys and gadgets will never make up for time lost. I can’t buy my kids off and just expect them to be o.k.. One of the easiest ways for me as dad to fulfill my other three girls needs is to take them with me when I go somewhere, if possible. If I’m working in the yard or building something, I try to get them involved. What ever I’m doing, I try to make sure that at least one of the girls is in on it with me. My girls love their one on one time with me.
Dates. Guys, if you have daughters, then you need to take them on dates, for a couple of reasons. First is that one day some punk is going to ask them out and I want them to expect the right things on a date. If that punk crosses the line, then I want my girls to know that line is being crossed. If daddy wouldn’t treat them that way, then it must be wrong. Second, every girl, no matter how young, loves to feel special. Our dates usually aren’t fancy or expensive, it’s just daddy time. I ask them a lot about them, and let them talk about what ever they want. Some times we get ice cream, some times it’s a tea party in the back yard.
Planned family time. Once a week we have family night, and mostly it’s geared towards the older three. Sometimes we watch a movie, and sometimes we pull out the cards or board games. Occasionally I will read to them from a book that they get to choose, but no matter what it is, we do it as our together time.
These are just a few of the ways we let our other girls know that they are loved and not forgotten through all of this.
What ways have you found to let your other children know they have not been forgotten?