Parents of Special Needs Children: Avoid the Holiday Blues

Being a caregiver to a child with special needs is draining on an emotional and physical level. During the holidays, it can be extra difficult. There are plans to be made, parties to attend, gifts to buy, cooking to do, and so on. Plus there is the added fear of keeping your child healthy during the winter months and holiday chaos. If your child has a condition that is progressive, you may be feeling a great deal of depression during the holidays as well.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. Taking on too many tasks during the holidays won’t help you avoid feelings of sadness or stress, but only enhances them. Don’t over schedule yourself or your family, and keep festivities as simple as possible. If you don’t think you can host a party, don’t. If you can’t commit to an event because of your child’s condition, explain that to the host. Most friends and family will understand.

Focus on the here and now. If your child is ill enough that you wonder if she will be around for Christmas next year, change your focus. Plan to make this holiday season as special as you can for your child and your family. Celebrate the life that you are living today because focusing on an unknown future won’t change your child’s health.

Find your spiritual side. The holiday season inspires many people to get in touch with their spiritual side and renew a relationship with God. Take the opportunity to rebuild your relationship with God and to pray for strength, health and perseverance. The road you travel on is rough and you can take any help you can get.

If you are feeling depressed, due to the loss of a child or the poor health of a child, find support. Join an online community or local parenting support group. Both are great ways to express your emotions and find support in people who know what you are going through.

The holidays should be a happy time, but life can get in the way of that. Stay positive and find ways to make sure you and your family have the best holiday season yet.

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About Nancy

I am a freelance writer focused on parenting children with special needs. My articles have been featured in numerous parenting publications and on I am the former editor and publisher of Vermont HomeStyle Magazine. I am a wife and mom to a two daughters, one with cystic fibrosis and one who is a carrier for cystic fibrosis.