Christmas can be difficult for fostered young people – what do you do in your home to help children and young people cope with/enjoy Christmas?
Christmas for foster children can be very hard. They have quite often experienced disappointment and been let down, as well as the fact they are not with their family. We always include the children with the decorating of the house. We allow them to look through toy catalogues choose things they like and we explain we will pick things from their list. This gives them some control and the feeling of confidence they will receive something they have picked. We always bake things together. We stagger the giving of presents so not to over whelm the children in our care.
What is your favourite Christmas memory while fostering?
My favourite Christmas memory was last year the family went to so much trouble to do the ‘Santa thing’ for our very young foster children and the two year old shouting “he’s been!” and discovering everything; boot marks, food scattered etc. It was truly magical.
Young people in care may have had very different experiences of Christmas than someone who has not been in care. Can you give us an example from one of your placements to help people understand what these children have been through and why Christmas can be stressful for them?
Parents may not even acknowledge Christmas. There may be no money, but still they are promising children things they could not produce. They might not have had any food. Shouting arguing, drugs, alcohol abuse etc. Maybe not even being allowed out of there room. Fear, possibly, of physical abuse.
Christmas does not stop any of these things happening.
Foster carers need to be aware of the fear that may be associated with this stressful time of year.