Family holidays are a great way to see more of the world, or your home country, bond with your family and create fantastic memories together. As a foster parent, you might be keen to enjoy the benefits of a trip with the children in your care but perhaps worried about the legality of a break, or how to make sure your foster child enjoys the experience without becoming overwhelmed or scared. Here are some tips to enjoy your first adventure with a foster child.
Check Their Documents and Check in with Your Keyworker
Whether or not you can take your foster child on holiday will depend on the specific situation, their needs, and the length of their placements. You can typically take a foster child on holiday in the same country but taking them abroad might be more difficult. If you do plan to take them abroad, make sure you check their passport is valid and in-date, and wherever you are thinking about going, make sure you check with your keyworker or social worker before making any bookings. If you want any advice on any aspect of fostering, including travel, you can get it from your nearest Fostering People office.
Ask for Their Input When Planning
One of the best things about going on holiday is looking forward to it in the months and weeks before. Planning the trip, taking the time to research the local area, and finding activities to enjoy while you are there give you something to look forward to, and make boring days more bearable.
This is true for children too. Don’t just book a trip and tell them about it. Involve them in planning your trip, let them voice opinions and tell you where they’d like to go, and make decisions together. This will help them to feel enthusiastic and knowing what to expect will give them time to prepare mentally and emotionally.
Give Them Time to Talk
Not all foster children will have happy memories of family holidays. Some won’t have memories at all, and others might have had negative experiences. Make sure your foster child knows that they can talk to you, share memories, and ask any questions that they might have.
Let Them Know What to Expect
If your household has any holiday traditions, such as activities that you always do, or places that they always visit, make sure you tell your foster child beforehand so that they don’t feel left out.
Consider Accommodation Carefully
Some foster children will want to stay close to you for the whole break. They might be overwhelmed by visiting a new place and feel safer if they sleep in the same room. Others might prefer to have their own space during the trip. Ask them what they want and think about their behaviours at home before you book anything.
A family holiday is a wonderful thing, and your foster children are bound to have a fantastic time. Just make sure you take their needs and opinions into account, and that you make time for them to ask questions and talk to you about any concerns that they might have both before you travel, and while you are away.