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Lessons from a Caregiver 

My granddaughter was born with skin and tummy issues and I was fortunate enough help take care of her from day one. She’s moving toward independence and entering her senior year of high school. Although she only lived with me for the first few months, I’ve gotten to care for her and watch her grow from infancy into her teens with atopic dermatitis. I’ve studied how to take care of all of the dietary, autoimmune, and skin problems. I’ve also learned how to cushion her through the emotional bumps in the road that come with growing up. It’s all added up to lessons from a caregiver wisdom that I would love to pass on to any parent or grandparent.

Caregiver wisdom

  • Stay calm – When a child experiences discomfort, it raises an alarm for their caregiver. Our heart rate goes up, and our mind races to find a solution. Taking long, slow, deep breaths can provide silent relief for everyone involved. Actions are best taken from a place of peace.
  • Follow the rules  – Once you have a schedule or routine in place, be sure to follow it. Here is where you stick with what you know. If more information is needed, talk with a doctor, or research more about the topic on a website or forum such as this one.
  • Don’t smother  – Bumps and falls are part of life. This child is no exception. They will recover from the current skin episode, and everything else they encounter in life. There is no insulation from reality.
  • Tell the truth – Helping them to find the language, and vocabulary to talk about their allergy, rash, or break out can give them power. If you sugar coat it, they may not develop the skills they need to work through a problem.
  • Don’t pick at it – Try to encourage healthy habits and self-care without criticism. As they grow older, they may rebel against the routine you have in place. Be patient. State the truth calmly, and then give them room to make mistakes. They will learn, and come to appreciate your wisdom.
  • Stay happy – When a child sees the adults in their world worried about the future, it can give them the sense that life is not safe. Let your happiness come through even during the harder times. It will increase everyone’s joy, and help to lift the mood for the whole family. Sometimes, you fake it till you make it on this one.

Letting go

Believe me, I know these lessons from a caregiver are not easy to follow. Life with autoimmune, skin, and tummy allergy issues is not easy. Our role as a helper will always be needed, however wise caregivers have learned lessons that help them let go.

By modeling a calm and happy attitude, we spread out our love. By establishing routines, teaching the truth, and following rules, we allow them to become independent. Soon it is time for us to let them go without fussing or picking. By allowing them to make mistakes, take responsibility, and slowly gain independence – we are giving them wings to fly into their future.

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