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Terri Mauro
BY Terri Mauro
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25 Lofty New Year’s Resolutions for Parents of Kids with Special Needs

A new year is upon us, and so we’re once again called upon to think about what we’d like to change about ourselves. As if we didn’t have enough on our plate, right? Adding the burden of new year’s resolutions and self-improvement seems kind of cruel. Yet we all know there are things we could be doing better, and bad things we could be doing less.

You’ve probably used the parenting strategy of breaking down big goals into small steps for your child. Why not do the same for yourself? No need to reach perfection immediately in the new year. We’ll get there. Use this guide to knock your lofty goals for 2017 down to a size you can absolutely manage.

School

Lofty goal #1: I will be a better advocate for my child.
Realistic resolution: I will read my child’s IEP all the way through before I sign it.

Lofty goal #2: I will stay on top of my child’s academics.
Realistic resolution: I will make it through one homework session without crying.

Lofty goal #3: I will work with teachers, administrators, and therapists to reduce my child’s disruptive behaviors.
Realistic resolution: I’ll stop saying angry things that my child repeats and gets in trouble for.

Lofty goal #4: I will find adaptive clothing to increase my child’s comfort and attentiveness at school.
Realistic resolution: I’ll be happy with anything my child will agree to wear.

Lofty goal #5: I will join with other parents to improve special education in our district.
Realistic resolution: I will join with other parents to gripe about all the things the school’s doing wrong.

Community

Lofty goal #6: I will work to integrate my child in the life of our community.
Realistic resolution: I will take my child to the mall once in a while.

Lofty goal #7: I will educate people who use inappropriate language.
Realistic resolution: I will carry my coffee in an anti-R-word travel mug.

Lofty goal #8: I will work to get my child included in sports teams.
Realistic resolution: I will silently appreciate the fact that I’m not running around to 100 different practices like typical parents.

Lofty goal #9: I will call on restaurants to be more accommodating to kids like mine.
Realistic resolution: I will write a lot of angry reviews on Yelp.

Lofty goal #10: I will urge my local government to construct accessible playgrounds for kids with disabilities.
Realistic resolution: I will hover over my child so aggressively on existing playgrounds that they’ll build a new one just to get me out of the way.

Home and Family

Lofty goal #11: I will keep control of my emotions.
Realistic resolution: I will try to give everyone a warning to clear out before I blow.

Lofty goal #12: I will let my children make mistakes without trying to fix everything.
Realistic resolution: I will only fix most things.

Lofty goal #13: I will encourage my spouse to participate in decision-making.
Realistic resolution: I will encourage my spouse to just agree with me in everything and be done with it.

Lofty goal #14: I will make keeping my home calm and organized a priority.
Realistic resolution: I will keep the lights low so no one can see the mess.

Lofty goal #15: I will give my children chores so they can learn life skills.
Realistic resolution: I will find them some good books and DVDs on life skills and continue to do everything myself.

Self-Care

Lofty goal #16: I will get eight hours of sleep a night.
Realistic resolution: I will get eight hours of sleep a week.

Lofty goal #17: I will drink eight cups of water a day.
Realistic resolution: I will count the water I use to make coffee.

Lofty goal #18: I will try to find some “me” time in every day.
Realistic resolution: I will spend a lot of time watching viral videos on the Internet.

Lofty goal #19: I will develop some stress-management strategies.
Realistic resolution: I will buy a stress ball and then forget where I put it.

Lofty goal #20: I will exercise a little every day.
Realistic resolution: I will wear a pedometer while I chase my child around.

Online

Lofty goal #21: I will not get mad at things people write online and take it out on my family.
Realistic resolution: I will stop reading comments. I will stop reading comments. I will stop reading comments.

Lofty goal #22: I will keep up that blog I started.
Realistic resolution: I will write the first few sentences of 100 blog posts and never get around to publishing them.

Lofty goal #23: I will research my child’s disability so I can advocate effectively.
Realistic resolution: I will start researching but then see ads for things I’ve been thinking of buying on every page and wind up online shopping instead.

Lofty goal #24: I will not spend more time on the Internet than I spend with my family.
Realistic resolution: I will follow all my family members on social media.

Lofty goal #25: I will find online tools that remind me of my New Year’s resolutions and help me carry them out.
Realistic resolution: I will read a lot of articles online about New Year’s resolutions and count that as my self-improvement for the year.


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Terri Mauro

Written on December 30, 2016 by:

Terri Mauro is a former blog manager for Friendship Circle and Parenting Special Needs guide for About.com. She is the author of 50 Ways to Support Your Child's Special Education and The Everything Parents Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder. You can read more of her work on her website Mothers With Attitude and listen to her every weekday on the Parenting Roundabout Podcast. Terri has two children with special needs adopted from Russia in 1994.
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