Christmas is no easy time to be a parent or guardian for anyone. For those supporting family members with a disability, the NDIS shutdown period over Christmas can make this harder with everything else going on during this time. So, we’ve got some advice to help you through this period.

Take time to plan

First and foremost, set aside time to plan the holiday as much as possible. This is useful both for you and the person with a disability. It enables you to visualise when and what will be needed – whether at home or away. You can prepare the person and the environment so that it suits everyone. This is a key factor for minimising stress across the board.

Have a support network

Make sure to have a group of people in place to help support you during the holiday period. This will often involve friends, family, community or church groups, doctors, and other suitable professionals or helpers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially during the stressful Christmas period. Your support network will understand and be there for you if they can.

Support your family

It is very easy to focus efforts on people with disabilities, and we need to ensure that we support other family members too during Christmas. There are often more chores than usual with extra people, outings, events, changing environments, and the like. Ask for help, use your support network, and look after the whole family.

Find out about activities

There are lots of holiday events and holiday camps that can provide enrichment for your family member and give them time away from the everyday stresses we all face at Christmas. There are organisations and websites around that can point you towards suitable events or camps. This can include inclusive events and camps, accessible social happenings, and general support during this time. Check out our other Christmas blogs for help with resources and tools like here on the MyCareSpace website.

Know your limits and look after yourself

During the holiday season, there is so much going on that it is easy to get overwhelmed. Make sure that you know your limits and how to recognise when you are reaching them. Talk to partners, family, friends, doctors, and professionals to make sure you are prepared. Set aside time each day or week to take for yourself and work this around the availability of others to give you that break. Your whole family will appreciate you being your best self during this period. You can’t be the perfect carer, therapist, or professional every single day so don’t try to be. Remember, it’s your holiday too during Christmas!

Make sure to check out our other resources for the best tips this holiday and have a great Christmas.