As your parents age you may need to take on more and more responsibilities involving their care. This can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you have young children as well. Here are five tips for best managing your kid’s and parent’s lives, as well as your own.
Get them doing more together
Many grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren. Supporting them to have fun together as much as possible not only benefits them, but can lighten your load as well. Whether it’s games, chores, or story time, they will keep each other busy while you get your own things done. Ensure you are aware of how your parents are feeling, as kids can be a handful and over-stimulating. Maintaining open communication with your parents (and kids) will get you closer to creating a balance for everyone.
Create a schedule
Keeping your parent’s schedule, kids’ schedule and your own schedule organized can significantly help when trying to balance everyone’s lives. Although it’s not always easy, taking a few moments to create a schedule can significantly help with stress and lower chances for miscommunication. Creating specific times that your parents will have your kids each week, ensuring you know when your kid’s extracurricular activities are, or allotting yourself specific times for grocery shopping can significantly ease stress levels for everyone. Schedules are perfect for unexpected occurrences as well. When everything is written out for you and something happens, you can easily make alterations and adjustments with little effort. This is especially important if your parent’s health is not what it used to be.
Let your kids help
Kids are often more willing to help than you may believe. Trust them to not only help around the house but also help with your parents care. Simple tasks like brushing teeth, putting on socks/shoes for their grandparents, brushing their hair, or helping with meals can help take a load off your shoulders. Your kids can help watch over them as well and notify you if anything happens. It’s important to be honest with your kids. As your parents age they will continue to notice changes in their health, and that’s ok. Studies have shown that children can handle tough topics such as illnesses and dying better than you would think. As they grow they will continue to understand what is happening and why. Honesty is key and you might even notice your relationship with your kids improving the more you discuss with them.
Make it fun
Making the simplest tasks a fun event can always brighten the mood for everyone. Even if something happens, such as spilling a beverage or breaking a plate, it’s better for everyone to stay light-hearted and adjust. Creating a silly game out of folding laundry or brushing your teeth will always make tasks much more enjoyable. Quality of life increases tremendously when you’re having fun as much as you can. Laughter is the best medicine after all!
There are lots of outside resources to help manage both kids and parents. School luckily takes up a huge chunk of your kid’s week, but other options are available if that’s not enough. Baby sitters, day-care, sports teams or clubs are always great for keeping your kids busy. There are similar options for older adults as well, such as Adult Day Centres, exercise groups, respite care, residential/independent living facilities and more. Check out what events may be happening in your community that they might be able to attend. Family members, friends and even neighbours may be willing to help as well.
As your parents health may change things may become more challenging. Take time to adjust day by day and balance will happen. What are your best tips for balancing everyone’s lives?