Here are six easy ways to encourage a special needs family. This also applies to any family that may just be going through a difficult time.
- Send a “Thinking of You” card
- Give a gift card
- Make a meal
- Invite them over for dinner and fellowship
- Offer to babysit for a date night
- Pray for their well being
Do you remember as a kid saying “Uncle” when you wanted your opponent to stop? Most of the time for me it was when I was being tickled by my dad or an uncle. For you it could have been a friendly game of wrestling.
According to Wikipedia, the response “Uncle” is the same as saying, “I give up!” It is a form of submission to the other person.
As I’ve gotten older, there have been plenty of times that I wish I could have said “Uncle” in this game of life.
We can’t wait to be a grown-up when we are kids, but honestly, life as a grown-up is HARD.
Our anticipation of Saturday morning cartoons has turned into Saturday morning house cleaning and laundry. Our lives have much bigger responsibilities that affect not only ourselves, but those tiny humans that we are raising. The stress can be overwhelming.
I think most of us are ready to say “Uncle” this year, too. 2020 has not been very kind to us.
I’m sure there have been certain years for you that seemed to keep delivering bad news.
That year for me was 2016. I had a miscarriage. My step-father was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer that made him a person I no longer recognized. My husband had cervical spine surgery that left him out of work for two months. And after I became pregnant with my third child, we learned our son would be born with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus.
I was ready to say “Uncle.”
But in the ashes there is beauty to be found. That year my husband and I grew closer to each other and to God. We learned the big lessons in life, like what was truly most important. For us that was God, family, church family, friends, and people being the hands and feet of Jesus when we could barely hold it together.
If you know of a family that has a special needs child, please know that even the smallest act of kindness would mean the world to them.
Being the parent of a special needs child brings with it a whole new set of worries and anxiety. If you’re looking for ways to encourage a special needs family that is hurting, over-burdened, or feeling stressed about ALL THE THINGS, then here are six easy ways to spread the love of Christ.
1. Send a Thinking of You Card
If you know of a family going through a difficult time, send a thinking of you card to brighten their day. Better yet, have the people in your small group or Sunday school class send one as well.
What did that look like for us? Getting card after card each day from people hundreds of miles away just to say they were praying for us during our difficult time. People we had never met, but were willing to share their hearts and lives with us in hopes that it would ease our pain.
Most of the people at my job knew nothing of my miscarriage. Partly because I felt ashamed. Partly because I didn’t want any pity. I was in the midst of training and mentoring two people. Two weeks after my miscarriage one of the guys proudly announced his wife was having their third child. It was all I could do to hold it together. I was ready to say, “Uncle.”
But coming home every day to a mailbox filled with encouraging cards made the pain a little more bearable.
2. Give a Gift Card to Encourage a Special Needs Family
This can be for gas, a favorite restaurant, or retail store. Gas gift cards are great for families who have to drive a long way to doctor’s appointments or have frequent doctor visits.
Give a give card to one of their favorite restaurants. Every once in a while it’s nice to have the option to go out to eat as a family and not have to worry about the bill.
Restaurant gift cards are ideal for families that have a special needs child because they don’t always have extra money for such occasions. Most of the time that money is being used for doctor bills, therapies, special equipment, or medical supplies.
I think anyone would agree that Walmart or Target gift cards are always acceptable! Even something as small as a $5 gift card just shows you are thinking of that family and that you care.
It doesn’t take much to make others feel loved and you’ll be blessed by being a blessing to others.
3. Make a Meal for a Special Needs Family
I will be the first to admit that cooking for others stresses me out! This would not be the first thing I would pick from this list to do to offer support. But I know there are lots of other men and women out there that love to be in the kitchen. Why not spread that love to another home with a home-cooked meal? Or even a freshly baked dessert?
If you too are not one for making meals for others, another option could be to deliver carryout food. KFC or Popeye’s anyone? Or pick up a delicious baked good from the bakery at the grocery store and leave it on the front porch with a little “thinking of you” note for a special needs family.
Giving that special needs family a night of not having to cook or giving them a special little treat can be the pick me up that they are needing for that week.
4. Invite Them Over for Dinner and Fellowship
One thing that special needs families miss out on the most is fellowship.
Whether it’s due to the child’s needs or the parents’ lack of time (or energy if we’re being honest), getting together with friends and other like-minded adults is low on the list of things to do to maintain sanity and self-care.
Invite a special needs family over for dinner and just enjoy each others’ company. Don’t stress over what the meal will be. Order pizza or grill hamburgers and hot dogs and have a picnic outside.
Just the act of inviting a family over for a simple meal and some fellowship time will mean the world to them.
5. Offer to Babysit for a Date Night
Even lower on that list of things to do to maintain sanity and self-care is a date night for the couple of a special needs child. Especially if that child has certain medical needs that most people don’t know how to care for.
It never hurts to offer to babysit even if it’s just for an hour. If the child with special needs requires extra attention, don’t let that discourage you from offering even a small amount of time to give the parents a much needed break.
This will give them the quality time they need to build their marriage that will help them through the hard days of parenting.
6. Pray for Special Needs Families
The most important act of kindness that you can show to a family with a special needs child is prayer.
Pray for the family to stay together, and pray for everyone’s health and well being.
Pray for the special needs child to remain healthy, to reach his milestones, and to continue to improve in ways that are unexplainable.
Pray for the siblings to be loving care-takers and to be children that will honor God in all things.
Here is a list of 30 prayers for special needs parents who are looking to pray scripture over their problems.
What’s Your Preferred Choice to Encourage a Special Needs Family?
These are all great ways to support any family that may be going through difficult times, not just a special needs family. It just goes to show it doesn’t take a lot of money or time to help our friends and family. Anything done in love will bring encouragement to those you share your acts of kindness with.
Let me know in the comments what’s your preferred way of showing encouragement to others! If it’s not on this list, I’m sure it needs to be so share it with us. You can also reach out to me here if you’d prefer to have a private conversation.
Be blessed and be a blessing to others!