Top 7: Habits of Highly Effective Special Needs Parents

Why Parents of Special Needs Children Are So Efficient

This is from NewsDX Blog.  Click here for full post.  Author Joan Celebi originally founded in her capacity as a certified life coach for parents of children with special needs. Her goal is to give practical strategies necessary for successfully navigating life as a parent of a child with special needs.  She helps create a manageable, balanced, and joyful life for both parent and family. For more information, please visit Joan at  This is a list that is helpful for parents with typicals too!


I’ve seen it time and again: the more you practice these 7 Habits, the more productive and efficient you become, the more you’re able to handle whatever comes your way, and the more things fall into place in your life.  Many of these habits are about taking excellent care of yourself, so you can continue to take excellent care of your children and family.

It’s well known that when parents lead low-stress, balanced lives, children do better socially, emotionally, and academically.  Try some of these 7 Habits, starting today – you’ll be amazed at what a huge difference they’ll make – for you, your children, and your family.

1. They make rest a priority.
Highly effective special needs parents are in bed by 10 pm or even earlier most nights, even if it means leaving something unfinished. Parents whose children have irregular sleep patterns take naps whenever possible to make up for the late nights and pre-dawn awakenings.

2. They make time for eating well.
Highly effective special needs parents don’t skip meals – and they eat delicious, nutritious food. They get the whole family involved in weekly or monthly meal planning. They also tend to stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day.

3. They find support.
Highly effective special needs parents get help with even the smallest things, as often as they can, from anyone and anywhere they can: family, friends, neighbors, agencies, organizations, and their community.  They hire help when necessary, and find creative solutions for bartering help with family and friends.  They belong to support groups for their children’s special needs and disabilities, and they’re in close contact with other special needs families in their area.

4. They guard their time carefully.
Highly effective special needs parents know they have to be careful about how many activities they sign up for, and the activities they do choose to participate in are only those that are nearest and dearest to their hearts.  They save most of their free time for whatever truly matters to them most.

5. They schedule social time on the calendar.
Highly effective special needs parents regularly go out with friends, and also with their spouse or partner.  They take the time and effort to train sitters, relatives, or friends on how to care for their children, so their social time can be as fun and worry-free as possible.  They take advantage of respite services in their area when they need a break.  They schedule social time weeks or months in advance, and then do whatever’s necessary to make it happen.

6. They nurture their own needs and interests.
Highly effective special needs parents reserve time for exercise – walking, biking, hiking, stretching, exercise videos, even gym workouts.  Many exercise with friends.  They engage in creative pursuits and hobbies that can be fit into small moments here and there throughout the week.  And they make time for intellectual activities too, like reading or taking a class for personal growth and enrichment.

7. They intentionally practice stress-reducing techniques.
While all of the above habits are excellent for reducing stress, highly effective special needs parents take stress reduction a step further by practicing deep breathing, meditation, or anything that helps them build up their inner reserves and cultivate inner calm.  Highly effective special needs parents also reserve time each day to put aside the therapy goals and the discipline issues, and relax with their children, enjoying them just the way they are.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Molly

    These tips are so important. Self-care is not often on a parent’s priority list, but it simply must be if they are to provide the best care possible. I was recently reading a memoir by a parent of a special needs child called “There’s Something About Daniel” by Robyn Stecher and it’s been such an inspiration. Simultaneously laughing and crying can be good for the soul. =)

  2. You have a very interesting blog. Keep it up!

  3. I am a special needs parent. I can relate so much to this article. Great job!

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