How to Prepare When You're Expecting a Child with Disabilities
If you’re expecting a child with physical or mental disabilities, it can be hard to know what to expect, which can make traversing early parenthood with a special needs child extremely confusing. It can be hard to find resources and information.
Having a child with disabilities is a lifelong adjustment. Here, we share a few things you can do at the beginning that will make the changes easier.
Preparing Your Home
A baby with disabilities might need special accommodations in their room and the home.
If they have a physical disability, this might be quite obvious. But, children with mental disabilities will likely need accommodations as well.
Every child with special needs is different, however. You will need to learn about your child’s particular disorder and determine what accommodations they might need.
If your child has a physical disability, it’s important to speak to their doctors about possible accommodations. Some children might not need any accommodations at first, while others might need special sleeping situations or extra implements to help them eat.
Even if your child doesn’t need accommodations right away, you should look toward the future and consider saving upmoney now for future accessibility improvements. You should start researching the possible cost of modifications now so you can know what to expect in the future.
Many families have questions about insurance when they learn that their child has disabilities. Many states have passed laws requiring insurance companies to cover childhood disabilities, but the required coverage can be minimal and might not help much.
It is essential to take specific steps to maximize your possible insurance benefits and keep yourself from paying more than you have to. Research which providers are in-network to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
You should not be afraid to challenge an insurance company if a service is denied. In some cases, all it takes is a phone call or two for an insurance company to approve a previously denied claim.
If you need extra help paying for your child’s expenses, you might qualify for specific programs that can help. Even if you think you might have too much income to qualify, it is important to check. Having a child with a disability can make you eligible for coverage, even if you make a significant amount of money.
Plan for Additional Expenses
Checking out programs you might qualify for and reviewing your insurance policy are the first steps to planning financially for the future.
But, it is also important to review your budget. While you might not know exactly how much your child’s disability might cost, you can somewhat plan ahead and figure out how much you can afford.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself can be incredibly important when you have a child with special needs. Often, when you have a child that requires a lot of attention, you can forget that you have individual needs too.
Practicing self-care can help keep you at 100 percent so you can tackle whatever life throws at you. Psychology Today recommends recognizing your limits and cutting back if you begin to do more than you can handle.
Having a child with disabilities can mean heading into unknown territory. While we can’t provide you with a detailed map of the way ahead, some careful research will provide you with a few key landmarks that can help you find your way.
If your child needs early education support, Family Factor can observe and support your child and help find the best academic environment for their needs. Sign up for a free consultation.
Photo Credit: Pexels
Tips for Raising Healthy Children Through Every Age
Raising healthy children may sound pretty straightforward, but there are many facets to health that parents can overlook. Plus, parents have to maintain a constant battle against unhealthy behaviors like staying up late, indulging in sugary snacks, too much screen time and inactivity. Encourage your children to develop habits that will support their cognitive and physical development and help them stay healthy when they finally venture out on their own. Family Factor offers the following resources to help you learn more about raising healthy kids!
Helping Your Children Get Enough SleepSleep directly impacts children’s mental and physical development, so make sure your little ones get enough sleep every night.
Sleep: Benefits and Recommended Amounts
Best Ways to Help Children Fall Asleep at Nap Time
How to Help Teenagers Get More Sleep
Nutrition and ExercisePrevent your kids from developing unhealthy eating habits and sedentary behaviors by encouraging nutrition and exercise.
Go Outside and Play: Tips to Get Kids Moving
9 Must-Eat Nutrients for Your Child
Healthy Eating for Teens: 6 Ways to Improve Your Teenager’s Diet
Mental Health HelpGood mental health will allow your children to cope with life’s stressors and succeed in school.
What Every Child Needs for Good Mental Health
Five Ways to Help Teens Feel Good About Themselves
Be a Role ModelSetting an example is one of the best ways to encourage the behavior you want to see in your child.
Model Respectful Behavior
Encourage Your Children to Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Personify Resilience By Going Back to School
Parents play an essential role in the health of their children. Unfortunately, we can’t always get our kids to do what’s best for them. Set a good example for your kids by making healthy choices yourself and modeling the behaviors that you would like to see in them. The best way to raise healthy kids is to make health a family affair!
How to Help Your Child Overcome Nature-Deficit Disorder
Nature-deficit disorder (NDD) is based on the idea that human beings, especially children are spending less time in nature than before, resulting in issues such as stunted emotional development, increased chances of falling sick, and more. To help your children overcome NDD, this article by Family Factor explores various outdoor activities to partake in this winter!
The best way to break the monotony of being indoors and addiction to electronics is to immerse yourself in nature. Here's how:
Winter is a great time to turn your backyard into a wonderland of fun through these activities:
With nights becoming longer, it provides the perfect chance to decorate your outdoors with some winter-themed projects:
As your kids will be spending greater time outdoors this winter, install a fence around your home to ensure safety and privacy. When looking for the best professionals to hire, a simple search on Angi for “cheapest fence company near me” will do the trick.
Whether you choose to travel or stay home this winter, these activities are guaranteed to help your kids overcome NDD.
Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids Under the Age of 10
Thank you to my guest writer- Laura Pearson
Teaching children sound financial habits from a young age is important to prepare them for leading responsible and comfortable lives once they reach adulthood. As reported by Freedom Sprout, schools are infamous for overlooking the need to teach financial literacy and passing on the responsibility on the shoulders of parents. In this article by Family Factor, we explore numerous ways parents can make their children financially literate.
Teach Them to Track Money
Provide your child with various avenues to earn money, this can include allowances and pay for completing household chores. As they start earning, help them in keeping a track of income and expenses.
An effective method is teaching them how to create a simple income statement. Take a page and divide it into two halves, namely income and expenses. Instruct your child to note all their earnings and expenses to the page as and when it happens. At the end of the month go through their statement and ask them how they felt about the decisions they made. Did they feel they needed more money? Did they regret making any expenses? Tracking expenses will make kids mindful of spending money, enabling them to make informed decisions in the future.
As a next step, ask your child to create a list of things they want to buy for the following week or month and their plans for affording it. A great way to test their decision-making skills is to go grocery shopping. At the store, observe how well they stick to the items on their list and prevent themselves from giving in to impulses to overspend.
Focus on Delayed Gratification
On the way back home from the store, your child would be thinking of things they weren’t able to buy. This could include a new action figure or an art set. The drive to attain these will motivate them to earn more from chores or restrict expenses. This process will teach them the valuable lesson of the need for delayed gratification i.e. resisting the temptation of immediate satisfaction in exchange for a better, long-lasting reward in the future. According to research, delayed gratification helps kids to develop better social skills and effectively handle stress, in addition to making sound financial decisions.
As the parent, you will play a big part in teaching your child delayed gratification. Instead of buying them toys or taking them to the amusement park each time they demand, use it as milestones they can achieve once they meet a threshold of time or money.
Go Beyond Cash
Teaching how to earn and save money will form the bedrock of your child’s financial education. But, strive to go beyond it and expose your child to other financial concepts, such as:
Investing: The simplest investment they can indulge in is depositing money into their savings account instead of their piggy bank. Use your bank statements to educate them on how they can earn interest on their money, simply by keeping it with the bank. The focus is to expose your child to the concept of making their money work for them.
Debt: It is a useful financial instrument to which your child will surely be exposed in the future. The key is to educate them about good and bad debt and how to manage it. If you’re looking to refinance your home, it can be a great example to teach your child about good debt.
In simple terms, refinancing means replacing your existing mortgage with a new one with lower monthly payments and favorable interest rates. Create a sheet with the definition of words such as assets, interest, mortgage, etc., and complement it with illustrative online videos of the same.
Unfortunately, these are important concepts that schools will never teach your child, putting them at a severe disadvantage once they become adults. However, the education you provide will widen their understanding of debt, allowing them to make wise financial decisions in the future.
As a parent, create a safe space for your kids to ask questions, make mistakes and take risks with money. Over time they will develop a strong understanding of finances and become competent in handling financial decisions.
If parenting is easy, you are doing it wrong.
Okay, I am sure I lost half of my readers just from that title but for those of you who hung in there, you feel me right!? Now, I am not saying parenting is miserable, terrible, no good, and ugly. I am saying the opposite actually. I am saying that the things we work the hardest for, are the things we love the most. I always chuckle inside when people talk to me about running. I usually say something like “I love running”, “running is the best”, “the feeling of running is unlike anything else”. Some people hear what I am saying and know what I mean while others look at me shaking their head and say “how? Running hurts everywhere and is terrible” to which I think…yes, it hurts my feet and my knees and sometimes my back and occasionally I roll an ankle and have to limp around for a few days and sometimes I get side-aches and headaches and last but not least I get mental fatigue about just wanting to STOP…
It is not these moments of pain that define the run, it is the way I feel after. It is the reflection on what I have done, what I have tackled and how I have overcome something that challenged me. Now I am not saying that every run hurts or even that every run is hard, but running is hard and running does hurt and those days when 5 miles feels like 1 and my body feels 19 again and everything lines up with the stars, well those are like perfect parenting days and while they happen, we have to be honest with ourselves in saying those are the exception and not the rule.
So I will say it again, if parenting is easy, you are doing it wrong. It is the Luke warm cups of coffee, the stained clothes that you thought were clean, the bags under your eyes and the grey hairs growing from your head that are your badges of honor. They make you shine brighter because they signal what you are putting into parenting each and every day. I am here to tell you that being a mom is the only job I have ever wanted, I yearned for it and I am in love with my kids more and more every day and yet this shit is hard! I cry, and I mean I ugly cry where no amount of makeup will save me and yet I wake up and do it all over again because well, it is the best.
So hold your head high and remember, the challenge makes you stronger and when you are done with these early years of parenting you will look back, you will reflect on it all and notice things you could not see before. You may regret some moments and long for other moments, you may be able to feel moments as if they are happening right now so don’t hide behind forcing it to “all be okay” and to be “easy”. It is not supposed to be easy, it is supposed to challenge who we are, shake us to our cores, mix us up and settle us down, remind us of how capable, strong, resilient and incredible we are.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” - Pooh Bear
On the topic of babies. You know that feeling when you first fall in love and you feel addicted to another person and in some ways it is almost too much, overstimulating and all consuming? When you see your baby for the first time or maybe the 10th time or maybe even before you actually see them, something in you changes, you fall in love with something that changes who you are at your core and that addiction, that overwhelming sense of perfection and belonging and beauty, it lasts forever. Even in the shit times when life feels overwhelming and exhausting and impossible. It is still there.
My brother recently asked me about having children, about how it is and what it is like. Staring at parenthood from the outside is like watching a free fall without a stopping point. As parents we know the chaos is there, we know it is all consuming, we know it effects those around us who we love and wish we could deliver a calm environment even when we can’t and we accept the reality that is before us, the reality of raising tiny humans. I look at my girls and I want them to have everything and in the same moment I am saddened by those things I never had and the two emotions bind this intense sensation in my stomach that makes me stronger, makes me get up every day and do it over and over again. I made a choice, I made a promise and I made a vow to myself, my partner, my children and the world that I will dedicate all of who I am (as much as I can give without losing myself) and I will make these tiny humans into incredible human beings.
One of my daughters teachers recently had a baby girl and she is terrified. It was unplanned, it was scary and it was not in her plan. I was thinking about her and what a life change that is when you are not expecting it and then I realized that even when you are, expecting it that is, it catches you off guard, throws curveballs and delivers you moments you never though possible. The reality of parenting is no different than anything else you tackle for the first time. Of course it is terrifying, you have no training, you have no way of knowing how it will turn out and you have never done it or attempted it before. The thing is that each of us has it in us, we just have to know where to look to find it and sometimes when we look at ourselves and turn over those leaves of strength we also find fear and anger, past experiences that challenge or hurt us and even disappointment in ourselves. So remember, life is not about what we have done perfectly. Life is about what we have fumbled on, what we have messed up and how we have risen to the occasion despite that.
I think COVID broke my mom setting
As parents we have many roles that we play each day. The simple concept of what we need to accomplish in a 24 hour period is almost laughable. I will not resonate with everyone on this topic simple because what we each do day-in and day-out is so different that there is no actual comparison. I will hope that the concept of what I am saying helps you to feel …normal? I really am asking you as my readers for advice here because sometimes even those of us who are so tuned in and so focused end up on the floor balling their eyes out in their in-laws house because their children are so loud, how are they this loud! So how do you do it? How do you wake up in the morning and look at those sleepy eyes only to fall in love all over again and yet know that come 7:30pm tonight your house will be a war zone. There will be shrapnel in the form of toys and pee soaked panties, sweatshirts used as napkins and unfleshed toilets, piles of sand on the floor, food on the counters and unforeseen water spills in the middle of the floor. That reminds me, there is spilled milk on the rug….I should probably tend to that. SO I am really asking you, my readers, to share their stories, their parenting woes, and wins and battles to the bedtime. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW PARENTS CAN MAKE MONEY AND GET FIT WALKING DOGS
(Thank you to my guest writer, LACIE MARTIN)
If you’re a parent, you probably weren’t expecting that having children would slim your wallet and send you up a few pant sizes. As Lifehacker contributor Melanie Pinola observes, even dads struggle with gaining weight after having kids. And while you may have known that having children is expensive, recent estimates show parents spend an average $233,610 on child costs from birth until the age of 17. Many parents are unprepared for the costs of things like diapers and daycare.
Lately, the term “side hustle” has grown in popularity as people young and old alike utilize the gig economy to connect them with freelance work. Side gigs allow people to build a sizable nest egg on top of what they make from their 9-to-5 job. Parents can benefit from these jobs as they come with flexible hours that can be accommodating for the busy schedule associated with raising children. One side gig, in particular, can have the double bonus of helping new parents get back in shape while making extra money: dog walking. Family Factor presents some things you should know before accepting a dog-walking gig.
The Benefits of a Dog Walking Side Gig
Starting a Dog Walking Business
In order to start your own dog walking business, you’ll need money to establish a web presence, market costs, and insurance. You’ll also need to register your business with the state, though you can use formation services to guide you through the process. Also, keep in mind that if you intend to operate your business using a name that’s different from the one you registered, you’ll need a DBA name, which will require you to file more paperwork. Again, you can use online services to assist you.
As a business owner, you’ll also need to network. There are currently several apps with the sole purpose of connecting dog owners to walkers and caretakers. These apps are convenient for people just getting started because they do their own advertising and have already established a built-in clientele. Unfortunately, these companies also take a generous slice of your earnings.
If you have the connections and motivation, it is totally possible to start your own dog walking business without the help of an app. With your own company, you are responsible for your own marketing. The good thing is you don’t have to reach out to people nationally -- just to dog owners in your immediate area. Instagram is a great platform you can use to reach nearby dog lovers; people love scrolling through photos of cute, snuggly pups. However, it’s important to choose the right hashtags so your exposure is effective.
New parents can make extra cash while getting in some exercise by picking up an active side gig like dog walking. Not only can you make money while burning calories, but you also get the emotional and psychological benefits of being around dogs and spending time outdoors. When starting your dog walking business, you can either use a third-party app to connect with clients or do the work yourself. While apps make things easier, they also charge fees for every dog you walk. Meanwhile, starting your own business is a lot more work, but you have more control and it is more profitable in
Love the one you are with
When you love someone completely, you realize that love is not measured by happiness alone. If it were….we would all be screwed. Love is an investment, it is time and compromise and fear and beauty and frustration, all rolled up into a confusing word that doesn’t begin to explain it. My daughter loves to play a little verbal game of “I love you the most” with me and it makes me giggle every time. As a child, the love you have for your parents is unwavering, regardless of treatment, a child looks to their parent for the early years with no judgment, an open heart and completely bias adoration. I know what most of you are thinking, and yes, they act like they don’t hear a word you say and treat you like hired help, ignore 90% of the words coming out of your mouth and make your life as hard as humanly possible sometimes but I am telling you, they love you unconditionally. ‘
As a parent we get a blank check for love and it isn’t fair, we really do nothing to deserve it other than forfeit everything we are. Really though, we are handed this adoration, this love and this pedestal and this fact alone is what makes me work so hard to earn what I was given for free. My daughter looks at me with her half toothed smile (the tooth fairy has been very busy!) and her big blue eyes and says “I love you more mommy” and all I can do is smile. I smile and I hold her and I kiss her golden curls and I close my eyes to breath in this moment. Love is one of the most malleable words in the English dictionary, it has no real meaning and yet it means everything. What love is to a child can change from day to day, and what love is can be taught, taken away, stolen, given or even manufactured. Yet when I remember being a child, the feeling of loving my parents is so pure, nothing preventing me from falling in completely to the memory of being a child, adoring my parents and just needing them to love me as much as I loved them. In my tiny egotistical mind I can imagine thinking “I create art for them and make my bed, why can they not love me as much as I love them?” And now as a parent I look at my beautiful girls and cannot even begin to explain how I never knew love until I saw their faces. So my darlings, I know you love me more and yet you will never know, until you know, that I love you most.
Love in a way that is internal and external all at once, has no limits and has no end. I do not know what life looks like with a teenage girl and I do not know what life looks like as a parent of a parent and yet I know I will love these little girls the most, forever and ever, to the moon and back, without fail, without question and without pause. There is so much advise to give and so many pieces of the parenting puzzle to discover so for today, just love them, even when you want to scream, remember the beauty and remember the pedestal and love because you can and because they do, without question.
I recently accompanied a small group of friends and family into an escape room, it was quite an event. The escape room was a blast, we made it out with moments to spare and I felt comforted in the laughter of friends and family around me. I began reflecting on my role as a mom, as I always do, and I realized that being in an escape room is not much different than being a parent. Just go with me here, I think you might get a few laughs from it if nothing else.
Here I was, locked in a room with my parents and my husband, along with a few friends and we were lead into that room by people who acted like it was just another ordinary day for them (just like those nurses and doctors who act like what you are about to go through aka delivering a baby is just another day at the office for them). We are strapped to the wall…literally…ladies, if you have delivered in a hospital maybe you know what I am getting at here and we were told that everything we needed was within arms reach. Okay so here we are, eight adults and we are given a challenge which none of us have gone through before and we know it will be okay, and we also know that we have one another to lean on and that we will work together. Just like in parenting, there are clues all around you, there are clues literally staring you in the face and some of them you are like “yeah, that is a clue, and was really easy and I get it” and some clues you just don’t understand how anyone could ever think that item or phrase or code or process makes sense at all!
In the end we came out victorious, and we did have to ask for help a few times and I know that drove my husband crazy, asking for help, admitting you can’t do it on your own, god that is frustrating and defeating and sounds just like …..parenting. Now, the people running this escape room told us this was the hardest challenge of their facility and told us that most people ask for help. We knew the odds were stacked against us and we knew that the goal, which was getting out of the room, was going to be easier if we just asked for help to guide us. Not that we did not want to be challenged or work to do it on our own but we understood that we could either suffer and ask for nothing or flourish and ask for hints. The sheer comparability of this experience with parenting was incredible to me.
We are told that parenting will be hard and challenging and we all know going in that there are people around us, watching us, who want to help and who are there for the sole purpose of helping and yet, especially us mothers, we seem to push through and choose the road that causes so much stress and anxiety because the feeling of failure in asking for help is crippling. Now if I were in a more philosophical mood I would talk about the cultural impact of this result and how our society puts pressures on us that result in this kind of outcome but alas, I am not in a philosophical mood so I will leave it at that.
What I will say though and perhaps it is obvious by now or maybe it will catch you off guard as it did me when I first thought of it. Let’s pretend that there is no-one to let you out of that escape room, there is no magic “they” listening or watching who can let you escape at any point. When we are parenting we know that the result is these children will become adults and we know that they will all eat their meals and tie their shoes, brush their teeth and comb their hair. If nothing else, the social pressure will catch up to them and they will do it out of an obligation they feel from their peers. So logically we all know that the efforts we put in of repeating ourselves, sculpting their routine and pressuring their rhythm will all eventually smooth out when they hit puberty…or their 30’s, but that is not why we do it. We don’t do it because we fear it won’t happen, we do it because those small moments are building blocks. We are shaping tiny humans into adults and it is not about being able to tie their shoes and have minty fresh breath, it is not about having clean underwear and being able to see their bedroom floor though all the clutter. It is knowing that we are sending them into their lives, their own escape rooms and if we do not teach them how to navigate, look for tools and understand when and where to ask for help, we are placing them in a room without the tools to get out.
For some that room might be our minds, and the need to understand how to escape from our own throughs might be lifesaving. For others that room might be a relationship, intimate or otherwise that needs tools to navigate. For some it might be a living situation, an academic setting or a real threat. Whatever it is, we right now as parents are in our own parenting escape rooms and it is true, everything we need is within reach and we will walk through the door at the end and watch our children grow up and who they are will be in part dedicated to the clues we found, the tools we used and the processes we went through. So ask for help, share your laughter, your frustration and your experiences with all those around you because you as a parent are both the teacher and the student and the more you share, the more others know and the more we know collectively, the better prepared we are for whatever comes next.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.