The summer holidays have landed! After a year of disrupted learning, lateral flow tests, pings and bubbles, it’s finally time to relax a bit. All over the country teachers are rejoicing, while foster parents brace themselves. Yes, lie-ins, late nights, no homework and no school run traffic are all great, but foster caring in the school holidays can be challenging too.
To help you make the most of the next six weeks, we’ve put together our top five tips for surviving the summer - because let’s face it, we’re all due a good time.
1. Plot Ahead
Plotting sounds so much more fun than planning, right? At the beginning of the holidays, ask every family member to suggest some things they’d like to do, then add their ideas along with other events to a big planner which everyone can see. Including days out and playdates will give children special things to look forward to, while including work commitments and household chores will help them to understand those are necessary too. Knowing what is going to happen will help with everyone’s expectations and enjoyment.
2. Go Outside
Aside from Footprints Foster Care, there’s another big advantage to fostering in Bournemouth and Poole. The beach. Yes, we live in an area with an incredible nine Blue Flag beaches, not to mention access to the beautiful New Forest and countless other parks and play areas. Make the most of these free resources! Getting children outdoors is a great way to let them burn off energy, stay healthy and be sociable. It’s perfect if everyone has been inside staring at screens for far too long and will also keep cabin fever at bay, not least for you. Bonus points for picnics and BBQs.
3. Keep Some Routine
We’ve previously written about the importance of routine for foster children, so rather than letting everything go, try to keep a balance - especially at bedtime. We all need the right amount of sleep to stay healthy, after all. To avoid tired and emotional children or adults, limit late nights and offer them as a reward for good behaviour. To help everyone feel sleepy at the right time, try finding a new favourite book and reading a chapter a night together before bed. You could even go outside and read under fairy lights or round a firepit.
4. Use Your Support Network
Your support network signed up for a reason, let them help you. If you need an afternoon off, an evening out or even just a coffee and a catch-up then tell them. Don’t forget we’re always around for a chat too.
5. Embrace Boredom
At some point in every holiday, every parent or carer will hear the phrase, “I’m bored”. Rather than letting it strike fear into your heart, embrace the moment. Allowing your child to be bored can help develop their imagination and resourcefulness. If you’re worried this will result in trouble, create a boredom jar to keep little minds occupied using their own ingenuity.
The summer holidays can be a challenge with foster children, but they also offer brilliant opportunities for relaxing and memory making. Enjoy your time have an ice cream for us.