Self-care for Carers
Are you stressed and run down? Maybe you find you are spending a lot of your time cleaning up, transporting, managing children’s emotions and behaviours. You are doing a great job feeding the kids healthy food and settling them to sleep, and yet you may not be factoring in your own nutritional and sleep needs. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed by some of the things the children in your care have experienced.
The children and young people in your care need you to be emotionally and physically well. When you are parenting children and young people with attachment and trauma related issues, it is even more important that you prioritise looking after yourself.
Self-care is mostly about taking practical steps to keep your life running smoothly, putting your own health first, taking the time for those things that keep you strong and well, and fitting in the occasional indulgence.
Our carer support team have put together some advice on how to build strategies and routines into your life to help you stay healthy and well – and so that you can be there for the kids as long as they need you.
Creating a routine and sticking to it might sound like hard work but it will pay off. Predictable routines help children and young people to feel safe and stay calm, your household run more smoothly, and save you time and stress. Best of all, you can schedule in regular time for yourself.
This isn’t rocket science, but it’s so easy to put your own physical needs last. Getting regular exercise, making sure you are eating well and having enough sleep is vital for everyone’s well-being.
Have a life away from the kids
Schedule in time for seeing your friends and keeping up your own activities. This might mean the kids spend a weekend a month with a respite carer or family member, or you could schedule in some time when they are at school or day care.
Ask for practical help
No one can do it all on their own. Ask friends and family if you need help with shopping, babysitting, or picking kids up from school. You will be role modelling good strategies to the children in your care, and helping them to feel part of your community and wider family.
Take opportunities to attend training and read up about parenting children with trauma and attachment issues, navigating the system, and managing your relationships. See the MFF statewide training calendar and the resources section on our website for more information.
The carer journey is often quite isolating and at times it is hard to find people who understand. Make regular times to talk to your case-manager, join a carer support group, or speak to a psychologist or counsellor.
Remember, the MFF Carer Support Team provide free and confidential support to all NSW foster and kinship carers, guardians and parents who have adopted children from out-of-home care.
Find out more in the Carer support section.