101 Foster Care Tips: Don’t Forget About Your Own Needs!
Over the last couple of months we’ve taken a closer look at some of the most important issues that impact the everyday life of a foster carer.
From finding ways to build up trust once a foster child has arrived in your home, educating them on benefits of healthy eating to knowing how to deal with difficult situations, we have visited a broad range of topics and provided you with some wonderful pieces of advice from our fostering community and fostering services manager, Joanne. In the final installment of our 101 foster care tips series, we’ve decided to investigate the importance of not forgetting to look after your own needs as a foster parent.
We’ll be the first to tell you that joining a leading foster agency and starting your journey as a foster carer is probably one of the most courageous and selfless acts that anyone could ever make. You’ll now have the privilege of providing care and support to some of the most threatened and exposed children and young people in your local community.
Although the overall experience of being a foster carer is very rewarding and enriching, it’s also a humbling one as well. Ultimately, we understand that while there a very few barriers to becoming a foster parent, fostering may not be something that’s for everyone. It’s therefore important that you’re able to recognise the impact that fostering will have on the life of you and your family, because hopefully it will change things for the better.
The overriding feeling we get from our fostering community is that it’s a hugely positive experience for the whole family. As part of the training, support and advice we provide our foster carers with, we not only think deeply about the needs of the foster child, but we also recognise fostering can test you as a person, so that’s why we’ll never forget about your needs either.
Fostering is an enjoyable and remarkable experience, however, it’s very easy to get engrossed and overwhelmed by the whole occasion. The levels of support we offer our carers are specifically designed to meet their needs, as Joanne explains. “Asking for our support while you have time to yourself is never a weakness in our eyes. In fact, it’s a strength. Taking time out helps you to come back stronger, having a coffee and a giggle with friends can be so refreshing!”
Here’s what tips and advice our fostering community have on the subject of not forgetting about your own needs
“Fostering is a joy but it will only remain enjoyable if you are not overwhelmed. You have to take time out for yourself every so often.” – Cathie
“If you are happy it benefits the children. If you are not under strain then you will deal with situations in a calmer way which is better for everyone.” – Elaine G
“You have to think about yourself and try and have a bit of ‘me time’. That might just be going for a walk, taking a bubble bath or meeting friends for a coffee but it is all important. You need to let off steam from time to time.” – Elaine G
“You need to recognise when you need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Take advantage of the support available – from your family, your husband, children and your agency. Thankfully, I’ve not had to ask for it too often but it’s good to know it’s there when I do need it.” – Cathryn
For more help and advice on any of the topics we’ve covered in our 101 foster care tips series, or if you’d simply like to get in contact with a member of our team about becoming a foster carer, then we’d love to hear from you.