Self-Care for Multigenerational Parents
Multigenerational parenting is often satisfying, but it can also be all-consuming. With the amount of time and energy spent caring for babies and children, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. While making sure that grandchildren are healthy and happy is important, it is also essential to consider our own health and well-being.
Here are some things to consider about your own self-care as a grandparent — to help yourself, your grandchildren and your ability to provide them with the best care possible:
- Value and maintain your own physical and mental health. Putting your own needs last can result in stress and poor health, which can impact your ability to care for children. Make sure that you make and keep regular physicals and other medical appointments, stay up to date on your own vaccinations and flu shots, pick up prescriptions and seek counseling if you are having a hard time with stress.
- Consider your work schedule. Caring for children while working is hard enough when you do it the first time; as a multigenerational caregiver, it may be especially taxing.Discuss your situation with supervisors or human resources and adjust your work schedule to meet your changing needs.
- Seek support. As a multigenerational parent, you are not alone. Connect with friends in the same position, join a support group, seek help from other family members and investigate programs for child care and other help your employer or community may provide.
- Remember to exercise. Being active helps relieve stress, improves overall health and contributes to longevity. Seek out activities to do with children that will enable both of you to get physically active, such as walking, taking hikes or teaching each other dance moves.
- Socialize. Make sure to give yourself a break from caring for grandchildren. While making time to go out may be more difficult for you than it is for some of your friends, it’s important to connect and engage in child-free social time.