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Caring For Yourself

Caring for a child with additional needs brings joys and sometimes challenges. Parents and carers can carry a lot of stress and worry and often put their own needs at the bottom of the pile.

It is better recognised now that caring for loved ones is an important role and it can be hard at times.The whole family benefit when you look after yourself.

The reasons for your child’s additional needs will vary. How it affects you and your family will vary, and may change over time.

Being advised to look after yourself may feel unrealistic. Sometimes you might be able to manage some time out to recharge with the support of friends and family. Other times you might find just a few moments to breathe deeply.

  • Some things that can help are;

    • Remember you don’t need to be perfect and you won’t always get things right – parenting is hard for everyone and you have extra challenges to cope with
    • Find people who understand how life is for you – this may mean finding support groups for children and families with similar challenges. There are links to find support groups below.
    • Family and friends may have offered to help – accept the offer – they may be able to help with things such as cooking a meal, doing a school run, keeping you company at an appointment. 

    Take any moments you can to look out for yourself;

    • Some people find meditation useful – there are a lot of websites and online videos – different techniques work for different people. This one from the NHS takes just 5 minutes *here*.
    • If you find yourself with a quiet half an hour do something for you rather than a chore – read a magazine, have a coffee, watch TV or phone a friend who makes you laugh.
    • Exercise is really good for mood and stress relief – find an exercise you can enjoy. Just getting outside for a brisk walk will help. There are plenty of exercise videos online if it is hard to get outside. Get a friend to join in to keep you motivated.

    If family and friends are not able to help, or it is not enough - speak up. Talk to the team who support your child’s health / education and tell them how you are feeling. Ask them to look into support for you.

    Let your GP know you have caring responsibilities. GP’s offer a yearly carers health check to look at the physical and emotional affects of looking after your loved one. Although it can be hard to talk about any struggles; this is time to focus on your needs which is really important for you and your family.

    If your child has an additional need they will be offered a ‘yearly contact’ from Norfolk Children and Young People’s Health Services. Contact us at our service details below for more information.

    It is well understood that caring for a child with additional needs is hard. Ask for help when you are struggling rather than carrying on and becoming physically and / or mentally unwell.

    Your relationship with your children, partner and friends will all benefit from self care –so don’t let it be an optional extra.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.

*Click Here* to speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum. 

 

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