Are you a super grandparent? A super grandparent is someone who regularly cares for his or her children and grandchildren. It’s a lot of work that sometimes goes unappreciated. All of this work can eventually lead to stress.
There are millions of grandparents in the U.S. (about 65 million), and many of them care for their grandchildren in some form or other. According to Pew Research, most grandparents only take care of their grandchildren occasionally, but 22 percent (that’s one in five grandparents) regularly provide childcare for their grandchildren. Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that seven million grandparents live with at least one of their grandchildren and 2.7 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren.
While grandparents obviously love their grandchildren being the primary caregiver can lead to stress. A study published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research found that grandmothers raising grandchildren experienced depressive symptoms especially when they lacked subjective support and resources. Another study published in the Journal of Family Studies focused on grandparents raising grandchildren with “abnormal and hyperactive symptoms.” The researchers found that these grandparents scored higher on “measures of anxiety, stress, and depression, and were more likely to report less life satisfaction.”
Whether you are a grandparent who occasionally takes care of your grandchildren or the primary caregiver of your grandchildren, the right tips can help reduce your stress. Listed below are three helpful suggestions that may help.
- Take care of your mind, body, and soul. The stress of caregiving can wreck your health, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Make regular visits to your healthcare provider. Be sure to get regular mental health checkups as well. Participate in activities that feed your soul.
- Join a support group. You don’t have to struggle through super grandparent stress alone. There are millions of other Americans who are experiencing some of the same challenges that you are. Reach out to others and join a support group. You can find groups at local community centers, state offices for children and families services, and even your grandchildren’s school.
- Add a little fun to your life. When you’re a guardian you lose out on a lot of personal time, so it’s important to set aside time for fun. Try having at least one evening a week to yourself. You deserve it!