Though there are plenty of resources available, there is no guidebook for guaranteed perfect parenting. In reality, being a good parent can’t be taught from a book or a website; it comes from within. Most often rewarding, parenting can also be challenging for many people, but parents who have a disability might have even more precautions to consider when raising a child.
Parenting from a Wheelchair
A parent in a wheelchair might feel left out of certain activities, but with a few home and furniture modifications, you can still be in the middle of the action. For example, did you know there are custom-built cribs that allow parents in wheelchairs easy access for putting baby to bed? These cribs come raised higher and with the front hinged like a gate, empowering you to easily place your baby inside or gently take your baby out.
In addition, some parents in wheelchairs discover they can read books, cuddle and play games with their little ones when they sit in their laps and ride around with them. Plus, you can teach your child how to think critically to solve problems— building ramps can conquer stairs, installing guide bars can help you participate in bathtime, and lowering countertops helps you make school lunches.
Parenting with Low or Partial Vision
Navigating your home can be a challenge with low or partial vision, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help your little one learn their way around. Placing textured items, like carpet strips, can help you make your way around your child’s room. Enhance your childcare skills and safety lessons by teaching your children the importance of picking up toys to prevent trips and falls. Placing non-slip rugs and mats in play areas helps you identify where toys are likely to be and also lets you get active with your kids without having to worry about a fall. Don’t forget to label food with textured or colored tape so you can plan and prepare meals.
Parenting with Mental Illness
Being open and honest with your child about your depression, anxiety or other mental illness is the first step to successful parenting with a disability. While typically considered common sense, it’s always important to make sure you prioritize keeping your medications locked away. You can also get your children involved with some of your behavioral and emotional management techniques, like meditating, going on walks or exercising together, and teaching your child empathy and respect for other people. This will not only help you build a stronger support system for moments you’re feeling low, but also teach your child good habits for their own mental well-being.
Keeping Kids Safe
In addition to making modifications for your specific disability, there are general tips for keeping kids safe in the home that all parents should follow:
- Teach your children to stay away from stove burners and electrical outlets.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all bedrooms. Test them frequently or have a friend, family member or even the fire department install and test them for you.
- Make sure large pieces of furniture are securely fastened down to prevent tipping and falling over. This is especially important during those toddler years, when kids tend to hold on to bookcases, TV stands and end tables to hoist themselves up.
- Keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen in a place where you can access them quickly and safely.
Parenting comes with its own unique sets of conflicts, but you can conquer almost any parenting challenge by putting safety first—especially in the home.
Article written by Ashley at http://disabledparents.org/
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