Are you raising your grandchild with a disability or special needs? No doubt this experience is both challenging and rewarding. As you’re raising this beloved child, it’s important to instill in them a love for learning and dreaming. Here are some great ways to accomplish that.

Be a Role Model

Your grandchildren look up to you as an authority figure and someone they turn to when they need help or advice. That’s why it’s so important behave in a way that you would like for them to model. Embrace activity instead of being a couch potato. Maintain a healthy relationship with food. Be kind to yourself and to others. Put people above things. Volunteer in your community or help a neighbor in need. Everyone can find a couple of hours, and your behaviors just might inspire these young minds to be better people themselves.

Encourage Learning

Encouraging every child to learn is always important, but this is especially important when a child is challenged by a disability or special needs. Show patience when you are helping the child with homework. Take time to learn about any educational or developmental challenges the child is faced with. Maintain a line of communication with the teacher and other professionals at school. Make learning fun by trying something new, engaging the child in a hobby or getting them outside the classroom to learn in real life or in nature. Even a simple walk in the woods provides plenty of opportunities for fun learning.

Make Time for Play

An important way to foster a love for learning is to encourage your grandchild to learn through play. Whether that means putting on a puppet show, rolling around in the grass or using sticks to build a fort, learning through play is engaging and fun. Children with special needs and especially those living with their grandparents often lack opportunities for play, so put them on the calendar. Encourage free play that is unstructured, and join in if you feel so inclined. Your grandchild will love playing with you, especially if you get down on their level and let them take the lead.

Ask for Help

Engaging your grandchild in learning, getting on their level to play and being a role model all have advantages, but it is difficult to do all of these things on your own. Grandparents sometimes struggle to keep up with young children, and doing so day in and day out can be taxing physically and emotionally. The demands of raising a child, especially a child with a disability, and especially when you are a senior who might also have medical needs, makes it essential that you ask for help. Seek respite support from a family member, trusted friend or a professional caregiver. Take this time to rest, manage household tasks without the disruption and take care of your own needs.

If you need professional support, Salus Homecare of Salt Lake is here to help. Our caregivers offer skilled care for children with disabilities and personalized care plans to meet your family’s exact needs. Contact us to learn more and schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation.