Feel like a rubbish carer

Hello everyone

I’ve been working as a carer for 5 years, doing mainky care for elderly. I’ve recently moved into a new area and a new job where I am doing complex care. Their packages are mainly children with different issues as well as elderly too.

I am currently a carer for a young boy 2 nights a week. He is now 3 and will be soon attending school. Usually he will be asleep before the start of shift at 22.00 and usually wakes up at around 5am. The issue at the minute is as soon as he wakes up he likes to play on his tablet and/or play with toys, so it can be difficult to keep him quiet at such an early hour as hes too awake to go back to sleep.

Starting from last week his mother has requested we try and keep him asleep until 6.30 at the latest so he can get into a routine for when he starts going to school.

It has been difficult for me as he does cry a lot when he wakes up wanting his tablet, and he refuses to sleep no matter how much I try to comfort him and try and get him to sleep. This morning he had a very bad crying episode wanting his tablet at 6am and his Mum came down to help calm him down as I couldn’t calm him. He eventually did calm down when his Mum gave him his tablet and he calmed down after working himself up.

I’ve left the shift feeling really bad that I couldn’t calm him down myself and his Mum had to wake up earlier than usual to help calm him down. This is my first time being a carer for a child, so its brand new to me as I dont have kids of my own. I’m probably just being silly but I feel like a rubbish carer from it.

Hello Jennifer

I’m sorry to hear of the problems with the child you care for but Carers UK is a charity that was set up to support and advise those caring for relatives and/or friends in an unpaid, non-professional capacity - likewise forum members provide, in the main, peer support to others in similar situations.

Having said that I know that we have many members who care for their own children with complex needs 24/7/365 who may have some suggestions on how to handle his early waking.

My son was hyperactive and brain damaged. He woke early every day for years. What does mum think you can do to make him sleep, for heaven sake?!?!

There is no issues with the Mum, she is younger than me (I’m 26) so I do feel for her. Shes had no complaints of me, I guess it’s more feel defeated from a shift because I have no experience with kids so I have no idea how people cope.

It’s not your fault!! The Mother needs to control the use of the tablet. It’s her responsibility not a carer- would take responsibility given the 2 night care package. Most children are manipulative and know very well. How to get the needs met. Speak with your agency to talk to the mother. The mother needs to keep the child up until you come. And you both need to do the same bedtime settling down.

I speak from a former life of twenty years as a foster carer.

Hi Jennifer,

I don’t think you are a rubbish care worker, I think the mum has set you an impossible task!

Does he sleep through to 6.30 on the mornings it’s not you? I doubt it.
Many young children wake early. Also, his mum had to come and calm him - and how did she do it? By giving him his iPad!!

Once he is at school he will be a lot more tired. School wears them out.
Suggest you focus on how to entertain him quietly until his Mum wakes up.