Self-care for
Families


On this page:


Practicing self-care is essential during this time—not just for children, but also for caregivers. Feelings of unease and worry are expected during a pandemic, but it’s important that we learn how to manage stress before it becomes more severe.

Caring for your emotional, physical and mental health


Much research shows that caregivers of children with disabilities and developmental challenges experience higher rates of stress. Family life with a child with a disability or developmental challenges can be emotional and challenging at times. Siblings of all ages may need support too.

Consider:

  • Staying physically active
  • Being kind to yourself
  • Strengthening your support network
  • Joining support groups for families similar to you
  • Celebrating small and big successes and milestones (yours and your child’s)
  • Keeping to your family’s routine as much as possible
  • Trying mindfulness, breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Spending one-on-one time with your other children
  • You may be eligible to attend MyTime: support for anyone caring for a child with a disability or chronic medical condition.
  • Engaging in positive thinking. Identify the times or situations when you tend to experience negative thoughts, and check-in with yourself at these times. When experiencing negative thoughts, some strategies that may help are to:
    1. Look for another perspective. For example, “I have so much on my plate, I can’t cope with this as well” could instead be, “I have a lot on my schedule right now, and maybe it might be helpful to re-examine my priorities and see how I can make space in my schedule for this, or if now is a good time to reach out for some support.”
    2. Focus on the strengths or positives. Actively looking for the things we like about our family, and about ourselves, can help increase positive thinking.
    3. Recognise thoughts as a product of the mind, not as reality. Sometimes stepping back and making space for our thoughts, with the perspective that they are just words and not necessarily true, can help.
  • Doing some expressive writing. Having a private space in which you can write about your thoughts and feelings has also been identified as a helpful strategy by caregivers experiencing significant stress.
  • If you feel overwhelmed and need immediate support, call your family doctor or contact:

    Tips from the Australian Psychological Society

    The Australian Psychological Society provides tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety and maintaining mental health during social isolation.
    View the Australian Psychological society’s tips.

    AllPlay Learn's simple self-care strategies

    AllPlay Learn has also created an infographic outlining simple self-care strategies for parents.

    Celebrate what you have achieved this week. Make a list of five accomplishments from the last week—they can be as simple as managing to make dinner for the kids!

    Take a break when feeling overwhelmed. Set aside some time to relax with a book, bath, or cup of tea.

    Identify your and your child’s strengths and work from there. Download our Character Strength’s poster and work through it together.

    Combine tasks with your child’s interests where possible. This will help keep them engaged and allow you to relax.

    Re-center with relaxation breathing or mindfulness. Watch Elsternwick Primary School’s relaxation breathing video for an idea of what you could do with the kids.

    Infographic showing five self-care strategies for parents