Most parent and caregivers need a break from the everyday tasks of parenting and caring for children. But, when caring for and child with a disability, the extra set of needs your child may have, makes it more difficult to take breaks, possibly because of the extra time it takes to feed, medicate and reason or communicate with a child who does not understand information quickly. Finding an appropriate caregiver who can take your place for an afternoon or evening break is one way to take a break. However, there are other ways to decrease the stress of caregiving. Read on for 6 ways to take a break from the stress of “trying to do it all” …
1. Be Prepared for a Crisis or Emergency- We cannot always prevent an emergency situation, but we can be prepared if it should occur. Create a one page information sheet and keep in an accessible for anyone who needs in during an emergency. (For example, tape it to the inside of a kitchen cabinet). The page should list your child’s diagnosis, current medications, doctor’s names/numbers and additional contact numbers in case you are not available. It will be available to you or anyone else who needs important information quickly.
2. Let the Little Stuff Go- If you tend to like everything in its place at all times, give yourself a break. Allow yourself to be okay with dishes in the sink, finger prints on the cabinets and laundry that needs folded. Accept that your sleep and ability to relax is the big stuff and cleaning up constantly is the small stuff.
3. ‘PLAY’ first- When your child is feeling well and can play and interact with you, make it a first priority. Chose play over everything else. You won’t regret the decision.
4. Say YES to others who offer to help. When someone offers to help you with your “to do” list, or they offer to watch your other kids, let them. Give grandparents and other specific things to do. They will feel good knowing they made a positive difference.
5. Sleep- Sleep and rest is not optional for anyone, including you.
6. Exercise- Take a walk around the block, go to the gym and listen to your favorite music for a while. You will benefit from keeping yourself fit, physically strong and feeling the energy gained from exercise.