Helpline: Caregiver Support - Involve Children Support

Children as Caregivers
Health problems of a loved one can affect children in the home just as it affects adult family members. Often times, young people get involved in caregiving. When children act as caregivers, it can create conflict in the parent-child relationship. Caregiving is a challenging task. A child caregiver may experience emotional and physical problems due to caregiving.

Children get involved in household matters, and you cannot stop them completely when it comes to caring for a loved one. If someone in the family has arthritis, your teenager and even younger children may help quite a bit with caregiving. However, as a primary caregiver, you must be sure your children are not experiencing serious challenges and being overwhelmed while taking care of the patient.

ExtendaTouch members can share their experiences and ideas with you about children as caregivers. They can tell you how you can ensure the well-being of the children and keep them from being overwhelmed with the responsibilities.

Young People and Caregiving Responsibilities
Even if your children volunteer to participate in caregiving for a family member with chronic illness, it is your primary responsibility to make sure they do what is considered as children's work. They need to enjoy and have fun as regular children. Do not involve them too much in caregiving roles. It's important that they do not take on the role of full time and long term caregivers.

Second, keep an eye on possible signs of stress. If young people complain of headaches or physical exhaustion, or if they are unable to have proper sleep or diet, it is a possible sign of excess burden. You should be supportive at such times, reconsider their caregiving responsibilities, and think about their health care.

Our unpaid family caregivers at ExtendaTouch can share with you their experiences about young caregiving. They can provide you valuable ideas, advice, and information on the subject. Request contact of our members now and start exchanging information.

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Make sure to include children living in your home with any plan of moving others in or supporting others not at home. What does the school need to know? Do you need to make a change in arrangements for pickup/drop off of children, etc. Telling your child that grandma is coming but she might not remember your name is key to helping the child understand the situation better.