TIP of the WEEK: In Home Caregivers
Although the idea of taking time away, running errands solo or just being able to finish a thought sounds wonderful, the idea of leaving your child with family members or paid help can be daunting at best and dangerous at worst. Here is what to plan for, look for and expect in people left in charge of your child.
- If it is a family member that you have entrusted to watch your child be sure that it is a mature, considerate, and proven ally. Tempting as it may be, your 14 year old niece who texts more than she talks is probably not the right choice but siblings, parents, and grandparents can be a great support to you given the correct information and expectations.
- If your child has challenging behavioral or medical complications plan for two or more caregivers at once. Multiple caregivers ensures that your child’s needs will be met and will also give you a more accurate picture of what happened while you were away.
- If you are using an agency to schedule short term caregivers, insist that whoever they send watches one of the many PWS training videos. You are paying for this service and are well within your rights to ask for this to be done. You can also ask for the person who will be watching your child to come to your house to meet your son or daughter beforehand. This is a reasonable request that can ease a lot of anxiety on the part of you and your child.
- If you are not satisfied with a caregiver, either from an agency, the school or even your own family, offer feedback and support before switching to someone else. We are used to many of the common behaviors and idiosyncrasies of PWS but for someone new to the syndrome they can be confusing and baffling. Take time to teach and explain, support and foster before giving up. This is, of course, barring any egregious acts.
Whomever you decide to use take the time to train them to the needs of your child. Have them spend time with your child while you are home to get an idea of the dynamic between them and to offer help in the moment when any issues arise. Being present initially allows the caregiver to see how you would handle a difficult situation and allows your child to see that everyone is on the same page. Be sure to go over your expectations with your child before you go and hold them accountable for any undesired behaviors that occurred, this sends a clear message of your expectations for them regardless of who they are with. Most importantly, if you find a good caregiver that you trust- treat them well and hang on to them tightly! Good, trusted caregivers are hard to find and are so necessary to your overall well-being.
Manager PWS Services