What is Respite and Why is it Important for Parents?

As a parent, you are likely always thinking about your children and their needs. But what about your own needs? It’s important to remember that as a parent, you need to take care of yourself too. One way to do this is by taking advantage of respite care. It seems silly to me now, but it took seven years until my husband and I decided we needed respite days!

What respite is and why it’s important for parents

So, what exactly is respite care? Respite care is temporary care provided for children with special needs. It can be used to give parents a break from their caregiving duties, or it can be used when the primary caregiver is unavailable. There are many respite care options available, so you can choose the one that best meets your family’s needs. We believe respite should be pursued by many parents, not just those with special needs!

We were first blessed with respite when a previous caregiver suggested we take a respite and that she would make additional time to give my husband and me a full 24 hours once a month! Oh, joy did I have! On my first respite, I spent half a day with the Lord, a few hours doing things I loved, and then got more sleep than I had gotten since the kiddos came into our lives.

The benefits of taking a break from parenting

There are many benefits to taking a break from parenting, even if it’s just for a short period of time. Respite care can allow you to recharge and refocus. It can also provide some much-needed time for your own self-care. And, it can give you a chance to pursue other interests or hobbies. I am currently looking into taking a sewing class and my husband just signed up for pickleball tournaments.

My husband has stated that similar to the instructions on an airplane (put your oxygen mask on first before you put on your children), you need to be in good shape before getting others there too!

If you’re thinking about using respite care, there are a few things to consider. First, be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to find the right respite care option for your family. Second, make sure you’re clear about your expectations and needs. And third, be sure to take advantage of all the resources and support that respite care can offer.

My husband and I take turns giving each other one respite day a month. We also have family close by to provide us with the occasional weekend getaway (great for strengthening marriages too)! We have also been blessed with some excellent caregivers on other occasions.

Care.com has a filter where you can search for people who are experienced with special needs (including adult children) or multiple children. You can also read reviews from other parents who the caregiver had previously worked for. Care.com now requires background checks for all caregivers!

Tips for making the most of your time away from your kids

Once you’ve found the right respite care option for your family, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your time away from your kids. First, be sure to communicate with your caregiver about your child’s needs and routines. This will help to ensure a smooth transition for your children. Second, take some time for yourself. Whether it’s spending time with friends or family or getting some much-needed rest and relaxation, be sure to take advantage of this time away from your parental duties. And finally, don’t forget to stay connected with your child. Check-in regularly with your caregiver, and make sure you’re staying up-to-date on your child’s progress.

The importance of self-care for parents

It’s important to remember that you need rest to be your best. Before making respite care a normal part of our family life, we would sometimes feel selfish if we took time for ourselves. We now know that we can give so much more of ourselves when we’ve been able to refresh ourselves regularly. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, be sure to consider respite care as an option for your own well-being.

Parenting is a demanding job, but it’s important to remember that you need to take care of yourself too. And by taking some time for yourself, you can ensure that you’re always at your best for your kids.


Published by Dawn Huff

Daughter of the King, wife of Mr. Marvelous, and mom to four intelligent and amazing children

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