Today is National Make-a-Difference Day!

This popular and important yearly event held on the fourth Saturday of October is designed to get us outside of ourselves and into addressing community needs. It’s a great idea and many worthy organizations and individuals benefit from the creative actions of this day.

But I also believe strongly that one person can take part in this day’s mission without taking on a big event or looking beyond his/her own backyard. Given the limited time and energy, not to mention the challenges facing so many families of children with special needs, why not honor this day by taking action that makes a difference in your own home?

Start by celebrating what is cool about your kids.

Spend time with all your children, and focus on what is right with them and with your life. Watch a movie together, look at photo albums and share your fondest family moments. Give your kids the opportunity to talk about what family means to them, and don’t censor their words. Instead, encourage them to speak openly about the most challenging times they have faced. Ask them what positive lessons they have learned from these moments.

Make sure you share lots of hugs and kisses. Say ‘I love you often!’. Let the dirty laundry and messy bedrooms and special needs advocacy slide for another day and instead, use the time for fun. Make pizzas and cookies together, or rake leaves and pile into them. Continue the family magic with steaming hot chocolate and marshmallows or popcorn and other favorite snacks. Include all of your children in the activities wherever possible. Sing silly songs and read favorite stories. Have a slumber party complete with flannel pjs’ and slippers before the fireplace!

Laugh often!

A few hours spent honoring all that is good about your children, and your life, will go a long way toward making a difference in your challenging parenting world in the week to come- while adding needed smiles to everyone’s face (great for stress release and good health!).

Having fun is something that too often gets buried under the tough realities of special needs parenting demands. Today, your challenge is to put fun back into your life and into the lives of your children. These are the moments that they will remember most fondly, and so will you.

Simplistic, perhaps, but what have you got to lose by trying to take a break from all the serious stuff to have a little fun for a change?

Afterall, charity really does begin at home…

You can find out more about National Make-a-Difference Day at:
Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Need: Raising the Bar of Expectations