It’s a week into the New Year and we are all getting back to routines after the holidays. How’s your year so far? I’d like to make my 2011 more peaceful, successful and happier…for myself AND my children. Here are some strategies I’m going to try to stick to this year, for the sake of my kids. Maybe they’ll work for you, too.
1) Focus on strengths. It is all too easy to see the problems when you have a child with special needs. They are listed on the therapy report, the progress chart, the IEP, the doctor’s evaluation. We focus daily on the impairments and work to “fix” the problem behaviors. This approach can quickly become overwhelming and depressing. To decrease stress and improve your outlook try focusing on your child’s strengths instead. Children need to know that we believe in them. They need to know that we see who they are and what they are good at. Focusing on their strengths allows us to see the good in our children when we are otherwise overwhelmed by their needs and problems. It can strengthen the bond with our child and renew our energy to tackle the difficult times.
To stay focused on strengths try this: write down at least 3 things you notice that your child is good at or that you really like about your child. Put the list where you can see it – maybe make a few copies to put in different places. Look at the list often. Remind yourself several times a day about your child’s strengths, especially when you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed by behaviors.