The second time around: How to care for yourself while raising a grandchild

March 1, 2017

It's an Act 2 you didn't anticipate.

After your last child left home, you thought your child-rearing days were over. But now you're raising a grandchild—and are back on the job again.

As much as you love your grandson or granddaughter, watching over a child late in life can be challenging—physically, emotionally and financially. Still, there are ways to lighten your load.

First, ask for help. If you're hesitant, be aware that turning to others for support is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows that you want to do the best possible job of caring for your grandchild.

You might:

• Make a list of ways—large and small—that others might lend a hand. Then speak up. Very likely, your family and friends will want to pitch in. But without direction from you, they might be unsure about what to do.

• When making that list, be sure to include help with responsibilities beyond child rearing. For example, a friend might take your aging parent to a doctor's appointment. Support like this can give you more time and energy to tend to your grandchild.

• Consider calling a family meeting with close and extended relatives to discuss how your life, your grandchild's life, and their lives might change as you all work together.

• Let friends know that you still want to socialize but may need help with babysitting.

And speaking of needs, yours still matter. Stay physically active, eat balanced meals and carve out at least some time for activities you enjoy.

Finally, since raising a grandchild is expensive, see what financial resources may be available to you at morehealth.org/guide.

Sources: AARP; Office on Women's Health

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