Essential Tips for Parenting with a Disability
January 7, 2019 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink

by Ashley Taylor 
disabledparents.org

Photo Credit: Pexels

When you have a disability, your physical limitations don’t have to limit your ability to be the best parent your child could hope for. By making certain preparations and utilizing a little creative problem-solving, you can fully embrace the beauty of raising a child and enjoy the moments that come with it. Here are some tips for living up to your unlimited potential as a parent when you have a disability:

Plan for the right baby products.

There are endless products out there marketed as essential for a safe and healthy baby, and every parent faces the challenge of deciding on which ones they will need for theirs. One thing that can help you make the right decisions is to read through online product reviews. This will allow you to see the products in light of safety, popularity, affordability, and so on. 

Plan for specialized equipment.

Along with conventional baby products, you’ll also need to look into equipment that allows you to care for your baby conveniently and safely. There are many products designed for parents with disabilities, and you can sometimes make a simple modification to a conventional product to make it work. Some items to look for include:

Make your home accessible.

Home modifications make it easier for people with disabilities to live more safely and comfortably, but when you’re expecting to bring a baby home, modifications become imperative. If you live with limited mobility, for example, there are a number of changes you can make to allow for easier movement throughout the home with a mobility aid, as well as help with daily tasks with your child: 

  • Installing zero-entrance ramps over all your steps 
  • Widening your doorways 
  • Installing expandable hinges on your doors
  • Removing any loose carpet and throw rugs
  • Installing skid-resistant flooring (e.g., linoleum, vinyl, low-pile carpet)
  • Lowering cabinets
  • Altering sinks and faucets

Baby-proof your home.

Baby-proofing is especially critical when your baby is a little older and begins to move around independently, but it’s never too early to plan or make changes to your home. One of the most important parts of baby-proofing is ensuring electrical safety. Be sure to cover or block any and all electrical outlets, because your child will get curious and try to stick things in them. Additional ways to practice electrical safety are to organize and hide electrical cords/wires, use safety covers on surge protectors, and put away electrical appliances when they’re not in use. 

It’s also important to make preparations that help prevent your child from falling and getting injured. Some preparations include using window guards over your screens, locking your windows, and installing safety gates at your staircase and at the door of your child’s bedroom. Moreover, to help prevent things from falling on your children, consider fastening furniture pieces (e.g., side tables, cabinets, dressers) to the wall, mounting any TVs to the wall, and using museum putty for any items stored on shelves. 

Practice self-care.

Last but not least: take care of yourself. While your child is obviously your first priority, practicing self-care will help you be a better parent. Make sure to get sleep whenever possible so you can have the energy and mental sharpness necessary to care for your baby. Also, remember to practice basic hygiene, like brushing your teeth and showering. Furthermore, try to keep an optimistic outlook, focus on gratitude, and allow yourself grace for times when you get frustrated. 

It’s not easy to be a parent, but it’s one of the most rewarding roles you will ever serve in this world. Remember that any physical limitation you have doesn’t have to keep you from being an exceptional parent. Prepare by getting the right baby products and specialized equipment, making home modifications, baby-proofing your home, and practicing self-care. 

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