Helping Siblings Feel Valued

Let’s talk about a full house! Unfortunately, we are not in San Francisco and Danny Tanner won’t be doing our spring cleaning. But, many of us do understand what it’s like to have a house full of excitement, and sometimes a bit of crazy. Adding a child with autism to the mix can bring just as many questions as there are good times. Each sibling is equally important, but sometimes the immediate needs of your child with autism seem to be a priority.  So, how do you make sure all the kids feel equally valued? Have no fear, CBG is here! We have some helpful pointers to make your family as happy as possible!

  1. Keep each child informed. Everyone in the family has the right to understand what your child with autism goes through. Do it early and do it often! Siblings may need help understanding that their brother or sister doesn’t process social interaction or sarcasm well. Therefore, if there is a situation where they want to play or tell a joke, and their sibling with autism doesn’t react how they hoped, they understand.
  2. Have open and honest conversation. Ask them how they feel; answer any and all questions; let them know they are heard. If they don’t want to talk at that moment, just let them know that you’re there for them. It will make a world of difference.
  3. Determine designated alone time for each child. Your child with autism needs special time with their parents, and so do their siblings. For example, have each child help with dinner one night a week or take them to the bookstore after school. Doing little things with one child at a time can help make them feel valued and important.
  4. Not everything has to be done as a family. Some events that involve high levels of sensory stimulation, crowds, and unknown variables may not be appropriate for your child with autism. That is completely okay! There are places that may be great for your child with autism that their brothers and sisters may not enjoy. Finding fun things to do as a family is important, but remember, it’s okay if that is not always the case!
  5. Find support for siblings. Those who will most understand what the siblings of your child with autism are going through are kids and adults who are experiencing the same thing. There are tons of resources available! Here are some that you may consider checking out:

Little bumps in the road may happen, and that is okay! The goal is to have everyone in your family feel equally important and valued, especially when autism is in the mix. The days may be long, but the years are short and time is precious! We hope that these tips can help strengthen the bonds in your family and beyond! #autismawarenesseveryday