How to prepare your disabled child for parenthood
Congratulations! Your baby is having a baby. As a parent to a disabled child, you have watched your child grow, overcome challenges, and experience life’s greatest joys. Becoming a new parent is one of those joys, and it is one of the most rewarding, and yet challenging, times in your life. Because your child is one of the 12.6 percent of people living with a disability, you may be wondering how to prepare them for this new adventure. Try not to worry too much. When you became a parent, you also had fears and concerns.
Little Teether shares some different ways you can help your child focus on the joys of becoming a new parent.
Having children changes everything, including you. Prepare your child to experience emotions they never thought possible and make sure they are ready for all of the emotional changes on the way. Remind your child that while this new journey will bring them happiness, bringing a new child into their life can also cause additional stress, anxiety, and disappointment. Feeling stressed is normal for new parents. Whether your child lives with a physical or mental disability, encourage them to take steps to make sure they are emotionally prepared for their new baby, including finding ways to relieve stress and take care of themselves.
Being a disabled parent comes with a unique set of challenges, so help your child connect with a support system of friends and other parents that can help anchor them. They may need to call on this network for advice or support as they adjust to life as a parent. Reiterate to your child that feeling anxious or depressed is their body’s way of asking for help, so it may be time to reach out to a counselor for help. Postpartum depression and anxiety is common with new parents and a licensed counselor can help them work through issues, so they can focus on their new responsibilities.
Baby-proof the budget
Whether your child is already expecting or still trying to conceive, it’s never too early to prepare their budget for the new baby. Suggest to your child that they start a baby fund. It’s surprising how much small costs can add up when raising a child, especially in the first year. You’ve been through it already, so you are well aware of the need to plan for added food costs, doctor’s bills, extra utility costs, and so many diapers. Also, if your child is working, they need to think about child care and to factor those costs into the budget too.
Get the home ready
Help your child baby-proof their home to ensure it is a safe environment for both parent and infant. Check floors to make sure they are even and slip-proof for those first steps. Install child safety latches on lower cabinets and drawers to prepare for tiny fingers, and don’t forget a childproof lock for the toilet lid. Start planning for a nursery and make sure the space is comfy for a baby and accessible to the parent.
There are wonderful products on the market designed to make parenting easier for those with disabilities. For example, if your child requires the use of a wheelchair, look for specialty cribs and changing tables that are a bit lower for easier access. Getting the home ready early will relieve pressure once the new child arrives.
Can you be closer?
You’ll likely want to be around your child and grandchild as often as possible, particularly to help your child navigate the first year of parenthood. If you don’t live nearby, this will make it tricky. And while driving or taking a flight aren’t the worst things, perhaps moving to the area is a more cost-effective decision that will give you an opportunity to provide support. This could even be the perfect time to downsize! Especially considering that Phoenix boasts a reasonable cost of living and low rental rates. With that in mind, check out Phoenix rentals first to see what’s available price- and size-wise and what’s in proximity to your child and their family.
Having a child can be an intense experience, but it is a journey well worth taking. It seems like it was just yesterday that you were bringing your little one home, and now your child is bringing home a little one of their own. Everyone has to prepare themselves for parenthood and having a disability may mean they just prepare a little differently. Be a source of support, comfort, and knowledge for your child, but remember that this is a learning process. You made it through and they will too.
When stocking up on baby supplies, be sure to check out Little Teether. Babies love our teething products for their fun shapes, and parents love our teethers because they’re free of harmful toxins and they don’t harbor bacteria. Check out our store today!
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