Emma’s Fostering Blog
With the New Year comes the thought about holidays. I always make sure I get a letter from the Social worker in plenty of time, arranging permission, getting paperwork signed; obtaining passports and overcoming any legal issues, booking a holiday can be a lengthy process. Before our main summer holiday we go camping as often as we can with all the children and young people as they all love the fresh air and the freedom to run wild and play games, and making great memories about places they have been.
Experiencing a ‘typical’ family holiday benefits children in a number of ways – it introduces them to new cultures and experiences, helps them to socialise, builds confidence in different circumstances. And of course, it gives them notes to compare with school friends about how they’ve spent their six weeks off! I have different experiences of taking foster children away with us so I can say sometimes it is very stressful and they don’t always cope well with the change so I always complete a risk assessment, and involve them with showing and talking about where we are going. However sometimes a child just can’t cope with a holiday it depends how long they have been with you and their nature.
Despite my best efforts I took Megan 11 on holiday she was very excited as she had never been on holiday but the expectations for her were too much and she ended up having several meltdowns before we decided to cut our holiday short to return home.
Going on holiday is fun but it can also pose a risk as in safety- less familiar with the child’s personal sense of safety, or running away as holidays made Megan think about her own family and how she wanted to be doing this but with them. This holiday was in the UK and we were prepared and briefed for any potential hiccup, I wanted to test the water as I had doubts whether she would manage going abroad this year.
Over time going on weekend breaks and getting her used to camping, team working, being involved putting tents up, cooking and other tasks, she absolutely loves it. Now settled Megan has enjoyed so many holidays abroad, taste of a different culture, language and food.
My thought are thinking and planning ahead and fighting for the rights of looked after children to have as much normality in their life as possible, which includes holidays. We should also take annual leave to allow the opportunity to rest and recuperate too. It’s getting the right balance which stops you burning out as a Foster carer.
Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!