Parenting is hard work. Ask family and friends for this kind of help.

Parenting a child with learning and thinking differences can be overwhelming at times. Check out this list of ways friends and family might be able to support you.

Parenting a child with learning and thinking differences takes time, energy, and resources. When you talk to your friends and family about your child’s challenges, they may offer help. But they may not know quite what you need.

Here’s a list of some specific suggestions for how friends and family can support you.

Help at home

  • Have them babysit your child with learning and thinking differences so you can spend time with your other kids or your partner — or just by yourself.

  • Ask them to babysit for your other kids so you can spend one-on-one time with your child who has learning and thinking differences.

  • Have them take your kids to activities when you have appointments.

  • Let them cook your family a meal to eat now or freeze for later.

  • Ask if they can help with yard chores, like raking leaves or mowing the lawn. Or ask them to run errands like picking up groceries or returning library books.

Help with school activities

  • Let them help with homework or a specific school project.

  • Let them bring your child to school in the morning or pick your child up after school.

  • Show them how to praise your child for making progress (not just for winning a prize).

  • Have them attend IEP meetings or other school meetings with you.

Help with your social life

  • Set up a time to meet you for tea or a meal so you can take a breather and talk.

  • Ask them to be an exercise buddy.

  • Ask if they can call or email you weekly to check in. Suggest fun activities for your families to do together.

  • Ask if they can introduce you to other parents who have a child with learning and thinking differences.

  • Let them help you out during social or family get-togethers.

  • Ask them to explain your child’s challenges to other families or friends using language you’re comfortable with.

  • Let them know that you want to know how playdates, sleepovers, and visits go for your child. Even if things don’t go well. Have them keep an eye out for bullying. Make sure they alert you of any potentially troubling activity.

General help

  • Invite them to come with you on visits to your child’s doctors and other specialists.

  • Ask them to help you with research about your child’s challenges.

  • Urge them to “catch” your child doing something positive and offer praise.

Looking for more tips? Learn why talking about your child’s challenges can be helpful. Explore more ways to build a successful support network.