For the last 4 nights you have survived on 2 hours sleep per night. Exhausted, with next to no tolerance, now you are dealing with a meltdown. Your meltdown!
Kids can be relentless!
It is completely okay for parents, special needs children or not, to have the occasional meltdown. Special needs parents can be dealing with a child that has kept them up all night and is now rolling around on the floor or even smashing things around the house because of a slight change in their routine. During those times we need to be alert, remain calm and be prepared for the unexpected. Hmmm not easy when you are tired, cranky and very vague.
It is super important to be consistent with children who have special needs. That can be tough at the best of times. Just ask Supernanny, she has made it her mission to teach parents how consistency and remaining calm change their unruly children into little angels. I would like to see her try and turn some of our children into “8.30pm bedtime, no questions asked” children… Somehow I think the only thing super, would be how super quick the Supernanny got out of here!
So if a SUPERNANNY can’t help, how do you stay calm?
We are only human. We need to keep reminding ourselves of that. We don’t feel like a Supernanny, Supermummy or Superwoman, but sometimes we take on the workload of a super human. Yes you are right “someone has to do it”, and if you are a single special needs parent like myself, there is no one else to do it!
We wouldn’t use all of the strategies from the Supernanny, but one strategy she uses may be the key to keeping your sanity.
Timeout with a twist. The twist is, the timeout is actually for you and it works! It is difficult for me to get a break from the responsibilities of caring, and I know Billy would be overwhelmed if I put him on the time out chair. So instead I created a timeout card for myself, or anyone who may need it.
When i’m feeling extremely drained and need a minute or two to catch my breath, I take my card and show it to the children and then make my way to a quiet place for my five minutes of timeout. My kids know when I’m on timeout, I am unapproachable (never anymore than 10 minutes) and the only reason they should be calling my name, pulling my shirt or fighting over who sits on my lap, is because the monster under the bed is chasing them.
Billy will still, almost always, have a little tantrum when I don’t immediately jump up to get him his 7th drink in an hour. There are times when he will approach and will quietly turn around when he realises I’m on time out. I’m sticking with this strategy because I believe eventually he will cooperate completely. It may not work for all our children, but I am a firm believer in trying anything that doesn’t make life harder.
Sleep deprivation, stress, no time to yourself can all lead to carer burnout, depression and many more challenges I just do not want to experience. I want to be happy! It is that reason which makes it super important for carers to take care of themselves everyday. It may just be five, ten or thirty minutes you need to feel refreshed and strong enough to get on with the day. Give it a go today, you can download and print my timeout card here Timeout Card
As always, the best information and strategies come from other carers, so let us know in the comments if you have a way of taking a break or if you will try the adult timeout.