Although many parents won’t admit it, sometimes the truth is that they could use some help. What are some practical ways to help out a family with a child who has special needs? Here are some ideas for you.
1. Be there for them, even if you don’t know what to say. Sometimes, all the parents need is somebody who will listen to them when things get difficult. You don’t need to offer advice or understand every struggle, but just listen. Raising a child with special needs can be exhausting, and sometimes the parents just need somebody to talk to.
2. Bring a meal or some snacks. Not having to worry about dinner is a huge blessing! Whether you bring a home-cooked meal or some takeout, providing food is incredibly helpful. It doesn’t need to take a lot of effort; you could bring a rotisserie chicken or some sandwiches. Just make sure you know of any allergies or aversions first.
3. Volunteer to help out. Helping out around the house is much appreciated with many parents, just make sure you ask them first before helping yourself to folding their laundry – some parents have a certain way of maintaining their household and running things. Dishes, vacuuming, cooking, or just general cleaning can tick many chores off “to do” list. Assisting with errands can be a big help too, but be sure to ask first.
4. Offer to babysit. This will give the parents time for their own activities. They could go out for dinner together, go shopping, go for a walk, or take a nap. Even if it’s just for a few hours, it’ll let the tired parents recharge their batteries.
5. Gift cards. Caring for a child with special needs can get expensive. Gift cards are great presents because they can buy anything from groceries to new clothes. Not having to worry about these things is quite a blessing.
6. Parent specific gift card. Chances are, most if not all leftover money will be spent on the kid(s). The parents deserve to treat themselves every once in a while, too, even though they may not think of it. Get a gift card from a store that one of the parents likes to shop at so they can get themselves a gift. When receiving a gift card to a specific store they like (for instance, this may be a clothing store, shoe store, electronics store, etc…) they will be given the chance to buy something nice or useful for themselves!