'Tis nearly the season...

Posted 9 November 2021

Currently on a nice campus in Glasgow, world leaders are gathering at the COP26 summit. Their challenge is to stop climate change and save the planet. Elsewhere across the UK, surgeries and pharmacies are busy giving flu vaccines and COVID-19 boosters ready for the winter months. Their task is to end a pandemic and save lives. Both are big deals in preparing us for the future.

Christmas, in comparison, may seem small, but your celebrations too could benefit from a bit of preparation – especially if a foster child is involved. Bye-bye Bonfire Night, 'tis nearly the season...

So, do we really need to start planning Christmas already? Well, yes. As we’ve said before, the shops are filled with mince pies, Father Christmas is back on Coca Cola cans and John Lewis have dropped their Christmas 2021 advert. The festive season will soon be fully upon us and the better prepared our foster children are, the better their chance of coping well and having a positive time to remember. To get you started, here are some of our top tips:

Firstly, talk. Many foster children will have bad experiences of Christmas, or have never experienced it at all. It may make them miss their birth families, or simply leave them feeling overwhelmed. Talk with your child about what they are used to happening at Christmas and how you usually celebrate, also ask what they might like to do. Talking now will give you both the maximum amount of time to process information, ask questions and address concerns.

Next, plan as best you can how you will spend each day around Christmas. At a suitable time, introduce this schedule to your child so they can be prepared for who they might see, where they might go and what might be expected of them. If appropriate, arrange contact with their birth family close to the big day.

As the day draws nearer, plan activities to help your foster child to feel included in your own family Christmas. Make decorations with people’s names on and proudly display them, or try a family advent calendar with lots of treats to help you spend time together. If possible, include some of your child’s traditions too. Ask them to help with the festive grocery shop so they can see there will be plenty of food and what that food will be.

Christmas can be a whirlwind for even the most seasoned celebrator, so as you plan remember to include downtimes and a few early nights. Keeping some regular parts of your routine will also help as will getting outside in the fresh air each day.

Finally, plan for when things don’t go so well, or your foster child just needs a break. Ask them where they might like to go and what they might like to do in those times so there is a safe space and activities ready, rather than feeling stressed in the moment.

There’s probably more than one way to save the planet and there’s definitely more than one way to have an amazing Christmas. Plan now, enjoy what comes along and we know you’ll give your foster child a great time to remember.

If you want to talk through any festivities, please contact us – you’ll find us nearly decking the halls.