Friday, July 17

The Balancing Act with Siblings

Someone on an online group I belong to asked about balancing things with siblings of children with special needs. With all of the attention that our special kiddos need, how do you balance things out with your other kids?

I'm not sure I have the answer. We work really hard at making sure all kids get some special one on one time...quality time rather than the quantity of time. But Will sure needs a lot of individual attention.

Before N came home in December, we started something we called "Date Day". The first Saturday of every month, we each took a child and did something fun. The child frequently got to pick. C and I did things like painting pottery, taking a trip to the aquarium and most recently, she's asked to go bowling. She still comes up with all kinds of ideas, even though we haven't had a Date Day in over 6 months.

It is time to begin our practice again. I think for now, one of us will take the younger two and one of us will take C. In the future, we'll have to rotate somehow.

Does anyone else have good ideas for balancing time with siblings? Or how to keep the family balanced overall? I'd love to hear them.


  1. Speaking as a sibling of someone with special needs this topic is near and dear to my heart. There is a book called "Special Siblings" that caused me to question a lot of my feelings about why I am like I am. It is written with adult siblings in mind but I think parents could learn a lot from it too. My best advice as an adult sibling is to continue with that special individual time and to allow, encourage and support your other children in their questions and venting about the disability. My parents are the "don't talk about it type" So we didn't and it really effected me and still does sometimes. There is something called sib-shops that I am very interested in hosting/starting in our area. I hope this helps.

  2. Mariah,
    That book sounds great. Thanks for recommending it. I know it is one of my biggest fears as a parent...trying to be able to parent Will as well as my other two.

    The place where I now work hosts Sibshops. The only bummer is that it is for 8 years old and up, I believe. I wish that there was a program for kids who are a bit younger, though it won't be long until C is old enough to go!

  3. My Mom used to say to me ALL the time, "I only hope I'm not screwing you up in the process of trying to take care of your brother, Mariah." I used that as an arguement when I was a teenager and wanted to hurt her feelings. Another thing I thought of. I used to beg my Mom to take me to counseling. It wasn't a one time request it was something that I did over and over and over for years and years. She always said, "You are my normal child and you handle things just fine. You don't need counseling." I did though and I made a lot of bad choices as a teenager and young adult that I might have been able to avoid if I had someone outside of the family to talk to. I feel that my Mom was wrong on this one. I forgive her at this point in my life.