The summer is in full swing and that means that children have been home 24/7. As caregivers, it is important to be sure to take a break OFTEN enough to maintain a healthy balance between caregiving and personal needs. Many times, people want to help, but they don’t know what to do that will help. And many times, we simply don’t ask for help because we don’t have the time to ask.
10 Ways of Giving the Caregiver a Break
1. Give the caregiver a short break for a doctor’s appointment or to go shopping.
2. Allow the caregiver the opportunity to nap, bathe, or otherwise rejuvenate.
3. Offer a weekly break to the caregiver to attend a church service.
4. Offer to cover the kids so that the parents can take a much needed vacation.
5. Offer a gift certificate that includes child care so mom can pamper herself with a hair appointment or manicure.
6. Baby sit so the parents can simply visit friends or other family members.
7. Offer to bring a meal…it is a night off from cooking and cleaning.
8. Invite their child over to play with your children. The parents get a break and the child gets great social time.
9. Swing by in the evening to play with the kids, if only for 20 minutes, so mom and dad can go for a walk and have much needed discussion time.
10. Offer the parents a weekly date night. Parents of children with special needs often only have time to talk about the logistics and lose the husband-wife connectedness. Help them to reconnect.
Ways to Take a Break
It is very important to carve out “me time” in your daily schedule. If you don’t have anyone offering up any support, or if there is no one you can ask…be proactive and try to find some time for yourself.
- Seek out a babysitter that can adequately care for your children and then take a date night. Perhaps the sitter would be a paraprofessional or a health care provider.
- Rotate “me time” with your spouse or a friend. Give your spouse or friend 30 minutes to go for a walk, a ride, or anything to recharge their batteries. The next day, you get 30 minutes.
What do you do to stay connected to your spouse? What routine do you have to get the much needed respite? Do you have a tremendous support system? If so, how do they support you? What do you do for “me time”?