When it comes to having a special needs child, there is one thing you are guaranteed to deal with and that is emotions. It can be hard to read emotions, hard to understand emotions, and hard to deal with emotions. If you have a special needs child and need help handling their emotions, then you may need these tips in your life.
In some ways, we think too hard about what our kids may need in the emotions department and can forget about using the simplest tools. I’m hoping these tips help remind you of all the tools you have available in helping your special needs kids emotionally.
Here are tips for how to help your special needs child emotionally:
Listen to What They Are Saying
Your special needs child needs you to listen to them. More than ever, they need someone to sit down and listen to what they have to say. This may not look the same for every family. If your child is non-verbal, help validate their emotions by giving voice to what they may be feeling.
Spend Time With Your Child
Helping your special needs kids emotionally can be so tough. One way I have found that helps a lot is by spending time with your child. It can be something as simple as sitting on the couch together. Being together allows them to know that they are important to you.
Schedule a Date Night With Your Child
One on one time with each of your kids is so important. I know that it is hard to do, especially when parenting a child with special needs, but it is worth the investment. Regular date nights will help your child more than you know even if only once or twice a year. Have this night scheduled, so your child knows that it’s going to happen. This is a great time for you and your child to get on the same level emotionally.
Teach Your Child to Express Their Emotions
Trust me, this isn’t something that happens overnight, however, it’s critical. Special needs children need to learn how to express their emotions. The first thing you need to do for this is to give them an emotional vocabulary. You can also teach your children how to express their emotions by being a good role model for them. Show them how to find a healthy outlet for expressing emotions such as listening to music, singing, talking to someone, exercising, watching a movie, and practising good self-care.
Get Outside Help
If your child is showing signs of struggling with anxiety or depression, it may be time to seek outside help. You may need to seek a counsellor, psychiatrist, or therapist to help you in this journey. Seek out someone who has experience with the type of special needs that your child has been diagnosed with.
Acknowledge Their Emotions
Our kids have BIG emotions, small emotions, and some that we can’t even understand. Don’t forget to take the time and acknowledge all of these emotions. You’d be amazed at how a little acknowledgment can help a special needs child. Let them know that their emotions matter. Validate them by validating their feelings.
Your Child Needs a Safe Environment
When it comes to our special needs kids and their emotions, they need a safe environment to release those emotions into. Any child should have an environment in which they can safely release those emotions without feeling judged. In this safe environment, they can also release these emotions without repercussions. Your home should be an emotionally safe space for them, but you can go a step further and create a calm down space or special area for them to go to when they are upset. We have a calm down corner in our sensory room that our kids can go to.
Helping our special needs kids emotionally also comes down to emotional encouragement. Your special needs child needs access to people, places, and things that encourage healthy emotions. As a special needs parent, you witness first-hand what your child is going through. Offering encouragement is the emotional equivalent of holding their hand.
If you’re looking for more tips and encouragement, join me for a free 5 part email series, Little Hearts, Big Worries offering resources and hope for parents.
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