Parenting: Preventing the Burnout of Parents and Caregivers



The course provider will send to the participants a list of materials related to the course topic that they can read in order to prepare for the course. The course provider keeps in touch with the participants and tailors the course according to their specific needs. The course provider offers support if the participants need any information related to accommodation, plane tickets or other details necessary in organising the course.

Course description

Raising a special needs child is handling more before noon than most people handle in a week. On the one hand there is the physical workload and the sleep deprivation that affect the quality of your life; on the other hand there is the emotional turmoil and the gap between the expectations and the reality of what is means to be a parent. Still, the parents and caregivers of special needs children do what they have to do for their beautiful children. They face the annoying platitudes of friends and family who give advice and praise them on how strong they are to manage everything. And while it is true, they are very strong, they are also burn out. The mixture of physical and emotional burnout affects their well being, their couple dynamics, their social life, their work life and ultimately their health.

The course offers the framework on how to support and encourage each other, share feelings and experiences and come up with solutions to problems based on what works, not on what is meant to work. Sharing ideas with other parents and caregivers is a key element. Discussions are based around real-life scenarios and end up with time to plan the changes you want to make in your parenting. To see what is working, we use input from families with experience of children with special needs, especially those who have learning, developmental and behavioural issues.

We start by raising awareness on what parenting involves and share experiences on what being the parent or caregiver of a special needs child means. Then we look into the concept of burnout with its causes and symptoms, before trying to find ways to avoid it  while keeping up with the wellbeing of the children.

Keeping the daily routines, setting boundaries, giving praise and being consistent are key elements of raising special needs children and teenagers. However, we will try to explore together small changes in the parents’ routines that can help them reach their potential and keep going. Participants will participate in practical activities aimed to boost their self esteem through play and learning, to develop active listening, to use exploratory language to talk to their children about their condition, to respond to other people’s reactions to their child, to recognise and cope with feelings. 

School is often a big issue and we will look at how the school might support your child’s learning and how parents and caregivers can play a part in this and where to look for further support. We will round up with the value of the involvement of the wider family or support groups and encourage the participants to create their own support group to engage actively in the wellbeing of themselves and their families and to help other parents and caregivers who might feel disconnected from the social life and family life.


      All sessions are based on student-centered techniques to allow the participants to be actively involved in learning and end up with reflection time for better retention.
  • Team – Building Sessions;
  • Role – Play
  • Mime exercises
  • Ice – Breaking and Warm – Up Sessions;
  • Energisers
  • Group Discussions;
  • Debates;
  • Drama techniques
  • Questioning;
  • Goal – Setting sessions;
  • Brainstorming;
  • Questionnaires


  • To become aware of the causes and symptoms of burnout
  • To experience different ways to avoid burnout
  • To share one’s experience within a supportive environment
  • To discuss case studies and compare ways to manage behaviour, time, family time, partner’s involvement
  • To become aware of the importance of support groups
  • To consider setting up a support group in your own context
  • To try techniques to boost self-esteem and set reasonable expectations
  • To plan changes in your daily routines
  • To become aware of the importance of self-love
Learning Outcomes
  • Understanding of parenting and burnout of parents and caregivers of children with special needs
  • Increased feelings of self-esteem and practical ways to boost it
  • Trying different ways to avoid burnout by focusing on: self-esteem, managing behaviour, coping with feelings, asking for support
  • Using exploratory language when talking about plans, feelings, expectations
  • Becoming aware of the role of partners and wider family in raising a child with special needs
  • Developing reflection routines
  • Improvement of language and communication skills in English
  • Increased capacity to cooperate on international level


Trainees will be given soft and hard copies of all lesson materials, which they can present to their colleagues in their own organizations to generate interest in project writing. In addition, a mailing list of participants will be created in order to exchange ideas/experiences. At the end of the course the participants will fill in a questionnaire in order to get a detailed feedback for the effectiveness of the training event.

Programme of training activities day-by-day:

Day 1 – MONDAY 

  • Welcome and registration;
  • Ice-breakers and team building activities
  • Introduction to parenting
  • Parenting children with special needs
  • Burnout: is it real or is it just tiredness? Learn what it is and what it is not
  • Burnout: causes and symptoms
  • How to measure burnout

Day 2 – TUESDAY 

  • Building self-esteem: parents need it just as much as children
  • Identify your lost dreams
  • Find ways to cope with loss while loving your child
  • Develop a self-care routine
  • Reinvent yourself: Set realistic expectations & be kind to yourself


  • Coping with feelings
  • Explore your own emotional response to raising a child with special needs
  • Exploratory language vs directive language
  • How to ask for your partner’s support - fairness and frustration in marriage/couples
  • Handling judgemental remarks about you and your child
  • 3 ways to stop going on ‘guilt trips’


  • Understanding behaviour
  • Managing behaviour: setting up healthy routines for your child and for yourself
  • The value of praise
  • 3 ways to set boundaries
  • A little time for myself is gold: tips to better manage time and allow yourself a break

Day 5 – FRIDAY 

  • Home and school: how to balance our involvement
  • Partnership: how to get involved in the school life of the child
  • Expectations vs limitations regarding academic success

Days 6/7 – SATURDAY and SUNDAY Workshops and Cultural/Sightseeing Activities

Day 8 – Monday 

  • The wider family - explore ways to share responsibilities and resources
  • Getting help from the wider family or community
  • Setting up a support group: you are not alone
  • Children play groups: what works and what doesn’t work

Day 9 – Tuesday 

  • Talking to your child about their condition
  • Overprotecting your child: disempowering them while exhausting you
  • Other ways to prevent burnout: Redefine priorities, Restore balance

Day 10 – Wednesday

  • Feedback, course evaluation and dissemination focus
  • Your 6 month plan to implement the new knowledge and skills to your own context
  • Reflection and self-evaluation
  • Certificate of attendance awarding