Family making breakfast in the kitchen

Support and advice for families with young carers

Read our tips for supporting your physical and emotional wellbeing whilst living in a family with young carers or shared caring responsibilities.

Family happily sitting on the couch watching tv

You might have heard this be referred to as ‘young carers’. This is where a child under 18 helps to look after someone with an illness, disability, or substance abuse problem. They might undertake tasks such as doing the shopping, picking up medicines, doing the school runs, washing, cleaning, cooking and so on, to help a parent, relative, or someone in their household.

We know that for families who have young people with caring responsibilities, the pressures have greatly increased - or maybe this is you, and you are caring for another adult. We want you to know that you don’t have to deal with this alone - and at Barnardo’s, we’re committed to helping any family who might need extra support with this, however we can.

Here are some quick tips we wanted to share with you:

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Small steps at a time

There’s nothing wrong with thinking big, like planning future exotic holidays for example, but in the midst of uncertainty, perhaps taking smaller steps, like taking each day at a time can help to alleviate any anxieties you might have about what the future might practically look like, especially when you are feeling really stressed. Set smaller daily goals you want to achieve, but remember, it’s okay if you don’t always get there - they can always roll over into the next day.

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Make time for yourself

Parents have often told us that they have felt ‘guilty’ for making time for themselves, but we want you to know that you should never feel guilty for taking some time out to breathe, reflect and regroup if you ever feel that things might be getting too much. Your emotional wellbeing is incredibly important. You can use the controlled breathing exercise or muscle relaxation exercise from the Samaritans to help you with this.  

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Fresh air

Yep - here comes the portion of the article telling you to get your exercise in! Even if it's a stroll to the bottom of your road, if you can, it really helps both your emotional and physical health. Again, if you can't always get to it, that's totally fine - don't be hard on yourself - everything at your own pace. 

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It's okay to disconnect

You might have read a lot of content online which rightly talks about keeping in contact with family, friends and networks, but we also wanted to let you know that it’s totally fine to have days where you completely switch off from the wider world, and focus your attention on you and your children. Give yourself the permission to do that - you deserve it! Just remember to let your networks know you're having some time to yourself so they don’t worry.

  • What is a young carer?

    Find out more about what a young carer is and how Barnardo's supports young carers with our services across the UK.

  • Read about how Barnardo's supported young carer Bella

    Bella helps look after her family, and things became especially difficult as the cost-of-living crisis made everything more expensive.

  • Donate now to help us support young carers

    Help us continue to provide our services to children and young people across the UK who need support. Your could help us change a life.