Emma’s Fostering Blog
It’s very difficult to find activities and hobbies for children when you have no idea what they like, or choosing birthday or Christmas presents for a child you don’t know, this is very difficult.
I soon learned when Dan had pocket money that choosing something was a mammoth task for him, so I would find two things he liked and then get him to choose which one he would like, but even that would take ages.
It was almost his birthday, he had only been here 4 weeks so we tried to find out what he liked, only he didn’t know what he liked; he just found it impossible to choose anything himself. In the end I got things like Lego, play dough and easy puzzles, things that we could work with together as Dan was much younger emotionally for his age.
I will never forget that birthday Dan opening his presents one after another, rather quickly, and it was obvious at that time, it meant nothing to him as he seemed emotionless stating ‘is that it’. I remember looking back feeling quite disappointed as I had tried hard to make his birthday special.
I have learned over the years with most children that it really is down to us to sow the seeds, and watch them grow.
It wasn’t long before I saw that Dan couldn’t play he didn’t know how to, so I set up a routine of play with him for a certain amount of time and then gradually over time moving away to encourage individual play.
Dan loved Thomas the tank engine he was 8 this seemed to be his only interest and whenever he saw a Thomas ride outside he wanted to go on it. At first it was ok he was small for his age but by the time he was 9 he had grown considerably and couldn’t fit in it anymore, despite him trying and then having a meltdown when we had to say no and this was very difficult and devastating for him.
While we were camping in Somerset we visited a small train station and we saw a steam train ‘flying Scotsman’ go past and people were waving so Dan started waving back, from then he loved all steam trains.
At Christmas we got him some DVDs, books on trains and a giant electric train set and he had a completely different reaction this time, as his face lit up. He spent ages playing and this was the first time we had seen him able to really enjoy playing alone.
My husband loves jigsaws he finds them relaxing, before long the two of them were busy working on ‘The mallard’ and when they completed it Dan was so pleased with himself, which was the best thing ever.
My thoughts are as Foster Carers it’s our role to support children to go on holiday and pursue hobbies, interests and talents and find opportunities for them to develop these.
Emma – A Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!