Kid care, elder care, and self-care are a part of nesting. This week’s focus is on kid care: the care that takes our time and energy, pulls us away from work, and distracts us when we are at work. Whether it is daycare, after-school care, or sick-child care, kid care can consume a week or two here and there. For some families, kid care is a weekly, even daily, challenge.
Here are some ideas for kid care that may help you reclaim your energy while caring well for your children.
- Ask others for help. Some families have extended family or close friends nearby who can help.
- Explore after-school programs, camps, and daily care options offered by the school district itself. Or find other paid caregivers.
- Form a babysitting co-op with parents who have kids who are the ages of your kids. The adults take turns watching the kids so that the other set of parents can have a date night from time to time. This was a tip from preschool parents who said “it has saved our marriage. And it gives the kids a playdate.”
- Medical appointments that you (or another adult) go to with your child. Write down symptoms and how long they’ve been going on. Write down questions and concerns. Take the lists with you. Give the list to the person taking the child to the doctor or any appointments.
- Ask your child’s teachers and/or counsellor whether the child will benefit from any additional school resources – for gifted students; for challenged students; for students already on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 (medical) Plan. Many schools have resources that can help. Often a parent request is needed.
- Set a limit on the number of activities and play dates that happen each week. Children and adults need some down time, not driving time, and alone time.
- Enlist all children and teens in chores and activities that fit their abilities. Learning household and yardwork skills is important to their adulthood and can be used on job applications.
- Ask other parents how they are managing. Surprising ideas may surface that will work well for your family too.
May your kid care be helpful rather than thorny or distressing. And, may your kids find ways to be thankful for all you do – now, when they care for their own kids, or sometime in between. May your nesting time be replenishing and rejuvenating rather than depleting.
Nesting is about the objects and experiences that create a sense of home. Without home, it is difficult to maintain health, find joy, or to be productive. Enjoy the Nesting series of blogs on your search for and creation of a deep sense of home. –Jana