Summer Holidays As A Foster Parent

5 Tips For Summer Holiday Adventures as a Foster Carer

Summer is just around the corner, or at least we hope it is, who really knows in the UK? Foster family or not, the prospect of a whole six weeks off can be both enchanting, but also a little daunting. 

As a foster carer, you are well versed in prioritising your foster child all throughout the year, and this down time from education is no different. As children we used to wish away the days and weeks until the middle of July, the prospect of what felt like a lifetime without school was the best. Essentially, it was just a month and a half dedicated to ‘fun’. 

That said, as a foster carer, you have to be mindful of how this time period can affect both yourself and your children on a deeper level. With spare time can come boredom. For many foster children, boredom can facilitate intrusive thoughts and possibly negative coping mechanisms. By proactively preparing for this time, making thoughtful plans and embracing the summer holidays for the children in your care, you can create a meaningful and positive time for all. 

Summer Holiday Activity Inspiration For Foster Carers

So we’ve worked out, as a foster carer looking after foster children, no matter which type of fostering you have chosen, it is important to make the most of the summer holidays. However, they do span a couple of months, and you might find yourself struggling for inspiration. But struggle no longer! Family Fostering Partners are here to provide all of the information you need. 

  1. Get Out in the Country – Exploring the countryside with a foster child can offer enriching learning opportunities and a chance to connect with nature, which can enhance their curiosity and appreciation for the environment. It also promotes physical health through active, outdoor activities, contributing to the development of a positive and nurturing relationship between the foster carer and child.
  2. Arts and Crafts – Engaging in arts and crafts with a foster child can stimulate creativity and self-expression, providing a therapeutic outlet for emotions and thoughts. This shared activity can also enhance fine motor skills and offer a sense of accomplishment, fostering a positive and supportive bond between the foster carer and the child.
  3. Communicate Through Cooking – Cooking together with a foster child can be a delightful way to foster communication and teach valuable life skills. This shared experience not only nurtures culinary talents but also encourages teamwork and the sharing of cultural and personal traditions, deepening the connection between the foster carer and the child in a warm and inviting environment.
  4. A Bit of Retail Therapy Never Hurt Anyone – Engaging in a bit of retail therapy with a foster child can provide a unique bonding experience for the foster carer and the child. It’s an opportunity to boost the child’s self-esteem by allowing them to make personal choices, and it also serves as a practical lesson in budgeting and decision-making. 
  5. Camp Out – Camping out with a foster child offers the foster carer an excellent opportunity to build a deeper bond in a natural setting, free from the usual distractions. This shared adventure fosters teamwork, resilience, and self-reliance, allowing the foster carer to teach practical outdoor skills. It’s a chance to instil a sense of adventure and exploration.
  6. Take Up Gardening – Gardening together presents a foster carer and their foster child with a tranquil opportunity to nurture growth, both in the garden and in their relationship. This hands-on activity can teach responsibility, patience, and the rewards of diligent care, fostering a deeper connection and sense of accomplishment.
  7. Develop a New Skill – When a foster carer and their foster child embark on developing a new skill together, it creates a supportive environment for learning and growth. This journey not only builds a child’s confidence and self-esteem as they acquire new abilities but also strengthens the bond between you as a foster carer and your child, as you both share in the challenges and triumphs of mastering something new.

5 Tips For Foster Carers To Make The Most Out Of Summer Holidays

Stated previously, as a foster carer, this 6 week period is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with the children in your care. Schooling can be stressful and overwhelming for both parties, this is the chance to rest and recuperate as a family. 

The sudden change in routine and normality can bring about a number of challenges. As a foster carer, being as prepared for this as possible is highly advised. Many parents and carers can find some aspects of the summer holidays difficult, after all, six weeks is a long time! To help you have the most stress free and enjoyable summer holiday this year, we have put together some tips for you.

  1. Be Organised – Without the regularity of the school run, it might become difficult to track the days, much less remember important meetings. To stay organised, consider using a planner or diary to jot down crucial visits, appointments, and meetings throughout the summer. Being organised is equally important when planning enjoyable outings and vacations. While spontaneity has its charm, having a well-thought-out plan can minimise stress and prevent issues later on.
  2. Be Led By Your Foster Child – While it’s not feasible to hand over complete control of the summer holidays to the children in your care, allowing them to make some choices can significantly benefit their well-being and help them feel like an integral part of the family. This could be something as simple as selecting picnic snacks or deciding on a day’s outing or home activities. Children in foster care may often feel powerless, with foster carers making all the decisions. By entrusting them with the responsibility to make a few family decisions, you’re not only giving them a sense of control but also enhancing their self-confidence.
  1. Prioritise Finance – Given the financial strain of the cost of living crisis affecting families across the UK, it’s wise to find ways to economise during the summer holidays to alleviate money-related stress. Before planning a day out, consider cost-saving measures like walking instead of driving, packing a picnic rather than purchasing meals, checking for cheaper online ticket options, and exploring discounts available for foster families. Many such discounts can be accessed through FosterTalk, every foster carer of Family Fostering Partners gets free membership of FosterTalk and access to all of their deals and discounts.
  1. Get Creative – Filling six weeks can be daunting, especially for caregivers looking to keep children entertained and engaged with a variety of activities. Online resources like Pinterest offer a treasure trove of craft ideas and activities tailored for younger children, while the Five Minute Mum website is another excellent source of inspiration for quick and fun games. When conventional activities lose their appeal, it’s time to get inventive. Creating your own games or encouraging the children to come up with their ideas can lead to unexpected fun.
  1. Don’t Be Afraid to ask for Support – If the shift in routine during the summer becomes overwhelming for you or the children in your care, don’t hesitate to reach out to your support network. A conversation with a friend, especially one who also has children, can be incredibly reassuring, as they’re likely to have experienced similar feelings and can offer empathy and advice. Additionally, Foster Family Partners are on standby 24/7, whenever you need us. 

Ultimately, as long as the relationship and shared enjoyment is present between foster child and foster parent, there is no right or wrong way to spend the summer holidays! There is no perfect scenario, some days will be good, others not so, but it is important to remember this is a normal scenario in all families. 
If you are interested in fostering with Family Fostering Partners, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch to speak to a member of our amazing team today.

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