Mom, Why is Grandma Different? Explaining Disability to Children.

21 Aug

Small children desperately want to know all about the world and their environment. It will come as no surprise for a parent that children ask on average 288 questions a day. No wonder Moms and Dads get tired of hearing the word “why?” One of the first things that small children notice is the people around them, and there is no getting around the question, “What is wrong with Grandma?”

Explain disability to kids on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Lead by example

We need to be matter-of-fact with children when talking about disabilities and explain in simple terms that children understand. This may be as simple saying “Grandma has problems with her knees and uses a wheelchair,” to a five-year-old, or being a little more in-depth to older children where appropriate. You will need to explain that everyone is different, but that doesn’t mean that they are treated differently. It is good to practise positive parenting, and this means showing empathy, comprehension and love. Be upfront and explain that some people may have health problems, or have been hurt. Or simply that some people are born different. 

Treat everyone the same


If you have a close family member that has a disability you may wish to make a few mobility modifications to your property, to make them feel right at home too. This may be as simple as installing a handrail in the bathroom, just to make life a little easier. As parents we are continually modifying our homes for our children as they grow, it’s nice to do this for the other people that we love too. Even though your children are noticing that someone with a disability is different, emphasize to them what is the same about us all. Grandma may be using a wheelchair, but Grandma loves to play sports too. There are wheelchair activities for everyone and we can all play together.

Explain disability to kids on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Put a stop to bullying

Never make jokes to your child about someone with a disability, we need to show that any bullying or unkindness will not be tolerated. We need to teach children really early on that everyone is different, but it doesn’t mean that this is wrong. By doing this, we can put a stop to harmful bullying. Explaining disability to your children needn’t be complicated, just listen to what they are asking and talk to them honestly. Show your children the right way to treat people and they will always remember this.

Hovering high and low, Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

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