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5 Self-Care Ideas for Parents of Children with Autism

Self-Care Tips for Moms and Dads

  • Get Help
  • Manage Stress
  • Join a Support Group
  • Spend Some Alone Time
  • Write in a Journal

Self-care ideas for parents of children with autism include tips that help parents take care of themselves. These children can exhibit a range of symptoms and can be verbal or nonverbal. Parents sometimes say that caring for their children is like a second full-time job on top of the one they already have. The best ideas help parents relax and make some time for themselves.

Related resource: 40 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate Programs

1. Get Help

No matter what they might think or how they might feel, these parents must know when to ask for and get help. They don’t always need help taking care of their kids, but they may need help with simple tasks around the house. This can include hiring a lawn service to mow the grass and water outdoor plants or asking friends to make a few meals for them. The more help they get, the more help they have for their kids and themselves.

2. Manage Stress

Autistic kids can act out in different ways, including throwing tantrums in the middle of the school and having fits in school. They can also act out at home and exhibit behaviors that parents cannot control. Many parents experience stress at work and at home, which can cause fights with other loved ones and lead to them feeling tired and worn out. The parents of autistic children must know some stress management techniques. They may find it helpful to know when to walk away or when to find someone to talk to about the situation.

3. Join a Support Group

Support groups for the parents of autistic children are available from a number of different nonprofit organizations. Those groups can serve as an idea for self-care for the parents of autistic children too. Many groups take place at night and allow parents to simply sit around and talk about the experiences they had in the last week. They can also discuss any techniques they used at home and get advice on where to get a haircut or which music therapy group is the best. Many groups help parents make friends with other parents too.

4. Spend Some Time Alone

One of the best ways for parents to take care of themselves is with some alone time. Though many parents think they can’t take time for themselves, they really only need to set aside 10 to 20 minutes each day. This can be while the child sleeps or is in therapy and when older children are in school. Many parents find it helpful to do things they usually can’t, including taking a relaxing bath, reading a few chapters in a book or watching a short episode of a TV show.

5. Write in a Journal

Erin Leyba, a clinical licensed social worker and psychology doctorate holder who writes for Psychology Today, recommends that parents with autistic children try writing in a journal. Leyba suggests sitting down and writing for 20 minutes about anything and everything the individual has on his or her mind. She says that this can bring up issues and concerns that the person has, including those he or she never thought about or considered before.

Parenting a child with autism is extremely difficult. These parents need to know how to counsel and work with those children at home and what they can do to get them ready for school and life in general. Some of the self-care ideas that parents of children with autism include spending some time alone and joining a support group.