Hesperian Health Guides

Managing the stress of caregiving

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Chapter 15: Support for Parents and Caregivers > Managing the stress of caregiving

a woman carrying a large basket on her head with bags inside labled: 'cooking', 'caring for other children', 'farming', 'activities with baby', and 'cleaning'.

All parents and caregivers need to find ways to manage stress. Parents and other family members work very hard caring for young children.

If one of the children cannot see well or is blind, then there is even more work.

Besides caring for the child, family members also need to be teachers, to help their child learn what other children naturally learn through sight.

At times it can be difficult to cope with this extra work. Here are some suggestions from families about different ways that have helped them manage:

a woman thinking.
Whenever I make dinner, Pedro and I can talk about what he did that day. And he’s learning to count by setting out plates for dinner.

Be Realistic

Try to be realistic about how much time you and others can spend working with your child.

Try adapting activities so they fit more easily into your daily life and take less time.

Try breaking large tasks into smaller, easier tasks. This way you will see progress and not get discouraged.

2 women speaking to each other.
I want Pradeep to learn to dress himself.
Why not teach him one thing first – like how to take off his shirt?

Care For Yourself

Everyone needs time for themselves once in a while. But often parents do not take any breaks because they have so much work to do. If you get so tired that you do not feel well, then you cannot help your child.

a woman sits under a tree with her eyes closed.

To help yourself relax, take some slow, deep breaths. Try not to think about all the things you have to do, just for a while.

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Many communities have developed beliefs and traditions that help calm the body and mind, as well as build inner strength. Practicing these traditions may help you take care of yourself.

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Talk With Your Family

Everyone in a family plays a role in a child's life. Each person caring for a child, especially one with special needs, may have different ideas about the best way to raise and help that child.
2 women and a man sit together.
It is important to find time to talk together. This will help everyone understand how others feel. And if one of you is feeling tired or discouraged, the others may be able to help.
a man speaking to a woman.
You look tired. Can I help?

Ask Others for Help

You do not need to do all the activities with your child by yourself. Everyone in the family can help — so can friends and neighbors.

If you are feeling tired or discouraged, often just talking with another person can help. Try to find someone you can talk with often.

Talk to a blind adult, a health worker or school teacher, or someone who teaches children who are blind. This will be especially helpful if your child does not seem to be learning new skills after several months.

a man who holds a child speaking with a man who sits behind a desk.
It seems like Guddi should be walking by now.
Let me talk to Mrs. Patel, who teaches blind children in the city.