“My day starts at 6.30am on a weekday. I get up, check mum is OK and has her medicine and a drink. Because Dad leaves for work early, I make my own breakfast then shower and get ready for school.

Niamh

Mum’s problems mean she is very sleepy a lot of the time and she goes back to sleep after I’ve woken her so I have to make sure she wakes up again at 8 to take her tablets. As it’s all up to me, I have to remember to keep a close eye on the time and not forget so that I'm not late for school and remember all my things - Dad gives me my dinner money in one go on a Sunday evening so I have to make sure I only spend the right amount each day so I have enough for lunch for the rest of the week.

After I’ve left for school, my Mum’s carers come in and help her out of bed and with getting dressed. But sometimes when I get home from school, Mum is in bed and I have to help her up and get her dressed and then I get her a cup of tea and tell her about my day – after my homework is done I do the hoovering every day and the dusting every other day.  Dad makes sure we have shopping in, but sometimes he might leave me a note to go to the local shop for some bits to go with tea, that he forgot to get.

I make the tea and when we are finished I clear up and wash the dishes. Then I get my school bag packed and Mum and I can sit and watch TV together, unless Mum is ready to go to bed by then.

Before I get Mum in to bed I have to make sure the front door is locked and when I go to bed I have to turn off all the lights and TV. I help her get changed for bed and put her cream all over so that she doesn't itch because one of her medicines makes her itch. I help her into bed and fill her breathing machine with water where it needs it and make sure mum gets the mask on ok and sealed properly. I then check she has all her tablets for her night-time dose and that she has water to take them and then I go and watch TV or play on my Kindle or Xbox before my bedtime at 9 o’ clock.

I like the feeling of being responsible but sometimes I would like to not have to do it and just play out with my friends or have them over to play, but Mum isn't well enough most of the time, which means that it has taken me a long time to make a best friend.

I've grown up helping my Mum and caring for her, I like it most of the time but it’s good that I have the Action for Children Young Carers service for when I need a break or some support.

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