Everyday I perform a juggling act. Obviously not the kind that performers portray in circus acts, the type I’m talking about is the balancing act of making sure my older children get as much attention as their sister. When you have a child with special needs, much of your time is dedicated to their needs.
Most people don’t understand this stress. Usually when I speak to others about this dilemma they respond with, “oh I wouldn’t worry, they love their sister, they understand”. Well here’s the thing; yes they love her and they understand, but it doesn’t mean that their feelings are not real and don’t matter. They matter a lot!
My husband and I devised a way to spend more one on one time with them. We know this time is precious and important so we call it Mommy/Daddy time and they each get a night with either myself or my husband. My daughter loves these, especially the outings with her father; she calls them Daddy Dates. Sometimes we will do lunch or dinner at their favorite restaurant or maybe we work on an activity of their choice. These quality moments have produced a greater appreciation for time spent together. From this, our kids speak more openly with us and our family time together has become richer. Our children feel a greater, more secure sense of importance. They knew and always felt our love, but they honestly felt less important than their sister. We needed to reinforce, through our actions, that this was not the case and that all of them were of equal importance to us.