Parents can be utterly overwhelmed when told that their child has cerebral palsy. Caring for a child with CP requires a lot of effort, time, patience and empathy.
The first step to ensure that your child will get the best care possible is to first take care of yourself!
Here are ten tips to help you not only make it through each day but enjoy every minute of it with your child.
1. Connect with other parents and caregivers for support.
2. Be sure to take care of yourself! You’ll be surprised how much raising your child can take a toll on your body. Make sure to exercise and eat healthy.
3. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help! Also, if someone offers assistance, it's perfectly fine to accept it! Many parents feel that they don't want to be a burden to others. But very often friends and family want to be there for you! An effective way of delegating responsibility is to outline specific tasks with instructions of how to do them.
4. You will be bringing your child to many doctor’s visits throughout his or her childhood. Make sure you find a doctor that you communicate well with. If there is something that is making you nervous, you want to have someone who will listen to you and take action.
5. Taking care of any child can be exhausting, but there are even more physical demands when it comes to tending to the needs of a child with cerebral palsy. It’s therefore important to get adequate rest and stay energized. This may mean taking quick “cat-naps,” going out for a massage, or other activities that will help you stay energized.
6. Be informed that living with and tending to a child who lacks most forms of independence can lead to depression. Watch out for tell-tale signs and don’t delay seeking professional help.
7. Stay on top of the new technologies which can help make your life easier and more organized. Especially these days, there’s almost always an app for that!
8. Make sure that your knowledge of CP and, more importantly, your child’s particular medical needs are up to date. Try keeping a journal of the medications your child is on, doctor visits, surgical procedures with the dates and specific instructions so that you can keep everything organized.
9. Make sure your legal documents are secure, in order, up to date, and all in one place.
10. Pat yourself on the back every so often for being an amazing parent for your child!