Checklist: Things You Can Ask Friends or Family for Help With

By Lexi Walters Wright

Parenting a child with learning and thinking differences takes time, energy, and resources. Talking about your child’s issues can lead friends and family to offer help. But they may not know quite what you need. Here are some specific suggestions about what they can do.

Help at Home

  • Babysit your child with learning and thinking differences so you can spend time with your other kids or your partner—or just by yourself.
  • Babysit your other kids so you can spend one-on-one time with your child who has learning and thinking differences.
  • Take your other kids to activities when you’re at appointments for your child with learning and thinking differences.
  • Cook your family a meal to eat now or freeze for later.
  • Help out with yard chores, like raking leaves or mowing the lawn.
  • Run errands like picking up groceries or returning library books.

Help With School Activities

  • Help with homework or a specific school project.
  • Go on a field trip with your child’s class.
  • Bring your child to school in the morning.
  • Pick your child up after school.
  • Praise your child for making academic progress (not just for winning a prize).
  • Attend IEP or other school meetings with you.

Help With Your Social Life

  • Meet you for tea or a meal so you can take a breather and talk.
  • Be an exercise buddy for you.
  • Call or email you weekly just to check in.
  • Suggest fun activities for your families to do together.
  • Introduce you to other parents who have a child with learning and thinking differences.
  • Provide support during social or family get-togethers.
  • Explain your child’s issues to other families or to your own family members using language you’re comfortable with.
  • Tell you honestly how playdates, sleepovers, or other visits go for your child.
  • Keep an eye out for bullies and alert you of any potentially troubling activity.

General Help

  • Accompany you on visits to your child’s doctors and other specialists.
  • Do research for you online or at the library.
  • “Catch” your child doing something positive and offer praise.

Get tips on how to start a conversation about your child’s learning and thinking differences. Explore more ways to build a successful support network.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Lexi Walters Wright is the former Community Manager at Understood. As a writer and editor, she helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Laura Tagliareni, PhD is a pediatric neuropsychologist in New York City and a clinical instructor at NYU Langone Medical Center.