Time Management for Moms with Kids That Have Learning Challenges
It’s not easy being a parent — particularly a special needs parent. If your child has learning challenges, such as problems paying attention and poor memory, it can be a struggle to find the time to attend to their special education needs.
Not only do you have to send them to school during the day, but you also have to find the time to help them with their homework, go to consultations, and more. You won’t even have time for things you’ve got to do for yourself, such as grocery shopping, going to the doctor, and the list goes on.
If you’re a parent of kids with learning challenges, you likely feel that the 24 hours in a day are too short to get it all done. Fortunately, with these time management tips, you can take control of your to-dos.
#1 Use a Planner
Whether it’s a piece of paper or an app, you should put your daily to-dos on a planner. By having a visual overview of your week, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your tasks like buying medicine for your kid’s disability, taking your kid to their care provider, and more.
As a special needs parent, you should also set up a separate planner for your child’s routine. Remember that your child has to build a habit, as this is one way to lower distractibility. Align your to-dos with theirs so you can guide your child in getting things done.
Plus, a planner will allow you to make time for yourself. When was the last time you went out for after-dinner drinks with your friends? When was the last time you went window-shopping? You should be able to breathe once in a while too!
#2 Wake Up Before Your Kid Does
When your kid wakes up, you won’t have time to do your regular yoga routine, get work done, and the like. This is because they need to stick to their routine — if they wake up at 7 and eat breakfast at 7:30, it should always be this way. They shouldn’t deviate from their everyday routine, otherwise, they will be distracted. Even if you tell them to wait so you can check your Facebook, they won’t be able to, and this will break the structure you’ve worked so hard to build.
That’s why you should wake up before your kid does. You’ll be able to do the things that matter to you, without worrying about distracting your child. Take this time to ground yourself before the day begins.
#3 Create a Checklist of Diets and Medicine
It can be overwhelming to keep track of the things your kid needs to eat. If your child’s doctor has recommended a certain diet, be sure to write it down so you don’t waste your time trying to remember what it was. If possible, keep it in a plastic protector and put it on the kitchen counter — you can keep checking it as your pack your kid’s lunch.
This will also allow you to prepare a meal plan that revolves around your child’s dietary needs. That way, you don’t have to waste your time wondering what to cook for dinner. You’ve already planned your dinners days (even weeks) in advance.
In addition, if your child has been prescribed medicine such as amphetamine and methylphenidate, it would be best to write these down. There’s going to be no chance that you’ll forget about their medication.
#4 Make a Schedule for Therapy Appointments
Depending on your child’s learning needs, they will probably have to go to therapy multiple times a month. Do not miss these sessions, as it can be hard to reschedule — besides, it would be a setback to your child’s progress.
That’s why you should create a schedule that’s specifically for therapy appointments. Color-code your appointments so you can easily spot them on your calendar. It would also be a good idea to set a reminder at least a day before the appointment so you won’t forget.
Not only does a schedule add structure to your day, but it also allows you to set your child’s expectations. They’ll be able to build their therapy appointments into their day-to-day routine. For example, if they have to go to therapy every Thursday, you can help them build their routine by making sure they don’t miss a single session.
#5 Commit Your Afternoons to Your Child
You should commit your entire afternoon to your child. Since they struggle to stay focused, you should stay by their side to make sure they don’t get distracted by TV and video games. And if your child has dyslexia, you can help them understand certain words that they may encounter.
An example of an after-school schedule looks like this:
- 3:30 PM: Take the time to unwind. Bond with your child but do not distract them by watching TV.
- 4:00 PM: Ask your kid to sit down where they usually do their homework. Make sure they have all of their tools, like pencils, paper, colored pencils, etc.
- 4:00 to 5:30 PM: Allow your child to do their homework on their own. You should always be by their side to answer any questions.
- 5:30 PM: Check your child’s homework. If everything is good, praise your child and then ask them to put away their pencils, pens, etc.
The Bottom Line
To get you through that struggle, always think about how your child looks up to you. They need you to hold their hand as they go through their own struggles, as well.
Time management for moms of children with special education needs can be tough, but it’s not impossible. With these time management tips, your routine will be more manageable down the road.