Relieving childcare pressure without watching kids

said to :

There’s a problem in my family: my cousin and his wife are in quite a tight spot (little kid, both work full-time, even overtime sometimes, not a lot of money), and receive little to no support from my cousin’s parents.

As my mum (his aunt) was always really close to him, we often help them instead, both with money and babysitting (esp during the holidays). I’d like to help them as well, but I’m rubbish with kids (she’s four and very hyperactive). Is there another way for me to support them?

realsocialskills said:


I don’t know them, so it is hard for me to say what they need help with.

The best way to find out might be to ask them, possibly by saying something like: “I’m not comfortable watching children, but I’d really like to find other ways to support you. Is there another way I could be helpful?”

That said, asking an open-ended question might not make it possible for them to tell you what they did. Open ended questions don’t tell them much about what you are and aren’t ok with. If you don’t know what someone is likely to feel comfortable helping with, it can be really hard to ask for help.

So it might be better to offer something specific.

You may be able to help with childcare needs indirectly:

  • People who have young kids and no childcare have to take their kids with them to a lot of places
  • That makes a lot of errands take longer
  • It also makes them more draining for both the parent and child
  • Eg: Parents who have no childcare have to bring their kids to the grocery store
  • At best, this means that grocery shopping takes longer because they have to supervise their kid and shop at the same time
  • And they have to bring their kid even if their kid is too tired to tolerate it well
  • Then the kid is miserable, and the parent has to deal with caring for a miserable (and probably uncooperative) kid in a public place while judgmental strangers stare at them
  • And it’s likely that both parent and child will be upset even after the errand is over
  • And it can interfere with sleep and make the next day difficult as well
  • If you can do some of their grocery shopping for them, that can relieve childcare pressure without you having to watch any kids

Some other things that might help to relieve childcare pressure:

  • Picking up their mail
  • Picking up their prescriptions when they or their child is sick
  • Dropping off things that they need transported
  • Being at their house for the plumber/cable company/etc so that they don’t have to take off work (which means they have more time off available to deal with child-related things)
  • Household tasks that are difficult to accomplish with children who need close supervision (eg: mowing the lawn if they’ve got one)

A rude thing that people do to wheelchair and mobility scooter users

So, here’s a thing that happens a lot:
  • Someone rides a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a room that has many chairs in it
  • They want to sit on one of those chairs.
  • Several people, trying to be helpful, dart in to remove the very chair they wanted to sit on

This is very annoying.

  • Especially when it happens several times a week
  • Especially when the people who dart in to remove the chairs are very proud of themselves for Helping The Disabled
  • Even more so if they don’t understand “actually, I want to sit in that chair”, and keep removing it anyway
  • Even more so if the person has to physically grab the chair they want to sit on to prevent it from being removed
  • (And sometimes people react badly to being corrected and become aggressive or condescending)

Do not do this annoying thing.

  • Instead, find out what the person you want to be helpful to actually wants
  • People who use mobility equipment are not actually glued to it
  • And different people have different preferences about where they want to sit
  • You can’t know without asking them
  • (You can’t read their mind, Some people seem to think that mobility equipment transmits a telepathic call for help regardless of the person’s actual apparent interest in help. Those people are wrong. You have to actually ask)
  • You can’t know where someone wants to sit unless you ask, so ask
  • One way you can ask is “Would you like me to move anything?”

If you forget to ask, and make the wrong assumption:

  • Recognize that you have been rude
  • And apologize, and say “Oh, excuse me” or “Sorry. I’ll put it back.”
  • This is the same kind of rude as, say, accidentally cutting in line
  • Or being careless and bumping into someone
  • This is not a big-deal apology, it’s basically just acknowledging that you made a rude mistake
  • People make and acknowledge rude mistakes all the time with nondisabled folks
  • The same people who say “excuse me” when they bump into a nondisabled person, are often completely silent when they do something rude related to someone’s disability
  • Being on the receiving end of a lot of unacknowledged rudeness is degrading and draining. Particularly when you see that the same people who are rude to you without apologizing say “sorry” and “excuse me” to people without disabilities they interact with
  • Do not be part of this problem
  • When you are inadvertently rude to someone who has a disability, it’s important to acknowledge and apologize for it in the same way you would for any other inadvertent interpersonal rudeness



I’ve recently made friends with a guy with a seizure disorder and he let everyone in the class know about it, so i figured it wasn’t a big deal but he started having a seizure today in class and it freaked me out,
I think i just need your opinion on how to deal with being around this person because I figure it must be annoying to mention what happened all day long to him, or to like ask him if he’s ok, and stuff.
It kind of worries me that he’s gonna like start having a seizure or something. Should i treat him like everyone else or is it ok to be worried?
realsocialskills answered
A couple of things:
Epileptics have seizures, whether or not you’re around to see them.
Folks who have seizures have the right to be in public places and participate in classes and everything else. And it’s really important that other people accept that, and not get intensely uncomfortable with their presence. Other people’s discomfort can be a really heavy burden to bear - it’s important for everyone’s sake that you find a way of getting over it.
That said, it sounds like a lot of the problem is that you’re not used to being around people who have seizures, and that you’re uncomfortable because you don’t know what the rules are. It sounds like maybe you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do if they have a seizure, and that being afraid of doing the wrong thing is stressful.
I’d say - if they’ve told you they have seizures, they’re probably ok with you asking if there is something you should do if they have one. And, along those lines:
  • Believe what they tell you, even if it contradicts things you think you know about seizures
  • Do not argue with them about their needs
  • Write down the thing they’ve said to do so that you will remember it
  • And if they have a seizure, do that thing

Also, if they have seizures that are triggered by something in the environment, it might be good to offer to help protect them from that thing. For instance, some people are triggered by flashing lights or music with a heavy beat. 

Policing access needs is exhausting, and it can be physically impossible for someone once they are triggered. If you can help bear that load and make the space safer, do so. But make sure you’re doing it from an informed place, and that what you are doing is actually helpful. (For instance, not all epileptics have problems with strobes, and being the flicker police for someone who isn’t triggered by light is the opposite of helpful.)

Again, this is a thing you can ask them about - are there things that are dangerous to them that it is important to keep out of the classroom? And again, believe them and do what they tell you to do regarding this.

It’s also important to keep in mind that their medical condition is not actually any of your business. If they don’t want to tell you any more than they already have, that is their right.

And part of what that means is - it’s not ok to expect reassurance from them about everything being ok. They might not be ok - people who aren’t ok still have the right to go to school and keep their private life private. So if you’re asking whether they’re ok because you’re worried and want to know if they need help, that can be good. But checking up on them for your sake because you want to be reassured and made comfortable is not good.

ragingpeacock said:

Great post! My biggest fear when having a seizure in public is that ppl are gonna be freaked out around me all the time. I got this. Most of the time I go hide my seizures so I dun upset anyone. That isnt as good as if I felt OK having them around others. Like I’d be less likely to hurt myself and I could get care afterward. So. Play it cool. I dun want to be a spectacle. 

Trust the person to take care of their needs. Most of us can sense it coming. Helping protect them from triggers would be A+. But also dun act like we’re gonna go off at any moment. 

Best things: 

  • if they say they’re going to have a seizure, encourage them to lie down in a clear spot and put something under their head. They may need help getting to a good area. 
  • beforehand: find out what they want. do they need an ambulance called? do they just need to rest for a while? 
  • help them get class materials for things they miss. 
  • afterward: let them rest quietly. I usually want water or food. see what they need
plz dun ask randomly what they need. Like I put a lot of effort into acting OK. Being asked would make me feel super self concious. I dun want ppl to be afraid of me.