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Checklist for parents

During home visits and appointments for the disabled child, make sure to always ask parents about how things are for siblings. You may be the only person in a young sibling’s life to detect a problem early on and help them get the support they need.

Use this checklist to find out about sibling wellbeing and school work.

  1. Do you have any concerns about (sibling’s) behaviour or mood?
  2. Does (sibling) help you with caring tasks at home?
  3. Does (sibling) have any problems with getting homework done?
  4. How are things going at school for (sibling)
  5. Is (sibling’s) sleep disrupted at night?
  6. How is the relationship between (sibling) and (his/her disabled brother or sister)?
  7. Are you able to spend enough time with (sibling)?
  8. Is (sibling) able to spend enough time with friends and doing leisure activities?
  9. What questions does (sibling) ask about (his/her disabled brother or sister’s) condition?

Make sure that you or the parent takes action to help siblings with any of these issues. Some things may be resolved with self-help strategies used by parents as outlined in our parents pages and others may require referral to other sources of support as outlined in our getting help for a young sibling page.

Teach strategies to parents

Sibling focus

Encourage parents to spend time doing things one to one with siblings. Talk to parents about how important it is to have times where the focus of the family activity or conversation is about the siblings and not about the disabled child. Go through the pages on giving attention and sibling rivalry with parents.

Open communication

Show parents ways to give information about the condition to siblings in an age appropriate and truthful way. Encourage parents to include siblings in meetings and to ask siblings to write down any questions they would like a specialist to answer. Use the information on our talking about disability and inclusion in meetings pages. 

Listening to feelings

Teach parents how to listen to and acknowledge sibling’s feelings. This can really transform the parent-sibling relationship and help siblings feel validated. Read our page on listening to feelings.

Using support networks

Inform parents about where they can get further support for siblings including mutual support from other siblings. See our page on support networks.

Hosting a workshop for parents

Sibs runs workshops for parents on supporting siblings which you can buy in for your organisation to host. The workshops are run over a school day from 10am to 2.30pm in order to allow enough time to teach parents practical strategies for supporting siblings, We do not do short talks for parents as from our experience these simply raise the issues with parents without giving them ways to deal with these.  Find our more about booking a workshop for parents.