Tips for parents and caregivers who support a child with a disability for reducing stress during the school holidays, and enjoying time together as a family.
Tip 1—look after yourself
As a parent or caregiver you’ll have good days and not so good days. Don’t try and be the therapist and teacher every day. Try to have fun.
Tip 2—rely on your support network
If you have a child with a disability or a disorder, you may tend to isolate yourself from your supports. There is a general trend to pull back, and it puts a lot of pressure on everybody—the parents, the siblings and the child.
Plan, develop and use a support network. Your support network includes your friends, family and possibly community or church groups. Your network may also include your doctor or specialist. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help. It’s ok to ask for help.
Tip 3—take the time to plan
Do a calendar of the holidays and sit down and plan what you know is going to happen, for example Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, visits to other family members or if you are going away on holidays. Think ahead of time about the people that the family is going to come in contact with during the holiday break. It helps the child to see what is coming up.
Tip 4—support siblings
Don’t forget the siblings. Parents and caregivers can focus on the child with a disability to the detriment of their siblings.
Tip 5—find out about activities
Look into options for school holiday programs provided by organizations. A lot of councils run activities during the school holidays.
Tip 6—know your limits
Set realistic expectations and goals about anything you do, especially if you or your partner has to work. If you need some help—anticipate who is going to be available, and who’s not. Set aside time when you get breaks—your own “down time”. Don’t feel guilty about making decisions about where, when and what you do in the holidays.
(This information was sourced from Mr. Michael Katona, Autism Queensland)