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Respite ideas for stressed out foster families

Foster parents put in endless effort to provide a safe and loving home for their foster children. However, it's essential to remember that taking care of themselves is just as important as taking care of others. That's where respite care comes in, offering a much-needed break and support.

May 24 2023 - 3 min read

As a foster parent, providing care to children who have experienced trauma can be both rewarding and challenging. Foster parents work tirelessly to provide a safe and loving home for their foster children, but it's important to remember that self-care is just as important as caregiving. This is where respite care comes in.

What is respite care?

Respite care is temporary care provided to foster children by another caregiver, allowing their primary foster parents to take a well-deserved break. Respite care can range from a few hours to a few days or even a couple of weeks, depending on the needs of the foster parents and the child. Here at Fostering People, we offer our foster families 14 nights paid respite a year, which can be taken in one block or a series of shorter breaks. The wellbeing of the child is always front of mind, so we work hard to build trusting relationships so that they feel safe and comfortable when staying with a respite carer.

How to reduce stress with respite foster care

Looking after children or teenagers can be taxing at the best of times, but foster parents have an extra special job of caring for young ones with traumatic pasts. Dealing with the ramifications of abuse, neglect or violence isn’t always easy, as these children can exhibit challenging behaviour or have developmental delays. Foster parents need to be healthy, rested, and emotionally stable in order to provide the best possible care for their foster children. Respite care provides foster parents with a much-needed break, allowing them to recharge and return to caregiving refreshed and renewed. Here are some of the key reasons why respite care is so important for foster parents:

  • Preventing burnout: Foster parenting can be emotionally and physically exhausting, and it's important for foster parents to take a break before they reach burnout. Respite care allows foster parents to rest and recharge, preventing burnout and ensuring that they can continue to provide the best possible care for their foster children.
  • Reducing stress: Caring for children who have experienced trauma can be stressful, and respite care provides a much-needed break from the daily stresses of caregiving. This can reduce stress and anxiety, and help foster parents to feel more relaxed and centered.
  • Improving relationships: Respite care can improve relationships between foster parents and their foster children. When foster parents take a break and come back refreshed, they are better able to connect with their foster children and provide the love and support they need. Also, some foster parents might use respite to spend some one-on-one time with their birth children, which is crucial to maintaining a solid family unit where everyone gets the attention they deserve.
  • Promoting stability: Respite care can promote stability for foster children. When foster parents take a break, it ensures that the foster child will continue to receive consistent care and support from another trained and approved caregiver.

11 respite ideas for foster families

If you’re feeling like you could do with a bit of a break from your fostering duties and need some self-care ideas for stress, here are some ways to make the most of the respite care offered to you.

  1. Plan a staycation: Why not soak up the sights of your own city that you’ve never explored before? We often get so used to going to the same places that we forget there are hidden gems or historical landmarks just a little further afield than our immediate area. This would be an ideal time to get to know your city a little better, and you’ll have some great nuggets of information to share with your foster child when they return to your care.
  2. Take a weekend getaway: A weekend getaway is a great way to explore new places and make new memories. It's an opportunity to recharge your batteries and spend quality time together as a family.
  3. Go camping: Camping is an excellent way to disconnect from technology and spend time in nature. It's an affordable way to get away from the stresses of everyday life and enjoy some quality time with your family.
  4. Spend time with birth children: This is a great opportunity to spoil your birth children and give them some undivided attention. Have a parent and child dinner date or a movie marathon at home with popcorn, sweets and snacks.
  5. Treat yourself to a spa day: A spa day is a luxurious way to unwind and relax. It's an opportunity to be pampered, de-stress, and take care of your mental and physical health.
  6. Attend a sporting event: Attending a sporting event is a fun and exciting way to take a break from the daily grind. It's an opportunity to cheer on your favorite team, enjoy some snacks, and spend quality time with your family.
  7. Volunteer in your community: Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community and feel good about yourself. It's also an opportunity to teach your foster children about the importance of helping others and making a difference in the world.
  8. Take a yoga or meditation class: Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation. They can help you improve your mental and physical health, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve your sleep.
  9. Visit a theme park: Visiting a theme park is a fun and exciting way to let loose and have some fun. It's an opportunity to enjoy rides, games, and attractions, and make lasting memories with your family.
  10. Go on a road trip: A road trip is an excellent way to explore new places and spend quality time with your family. It's an opportunity to create new memories and enjoy the scenery along the way.
  11. Take a trip to the beach: Taking a day trip to the beach is an excellent way to relax and unwind. It's an opportunity to soak up some sun and enjoy the water, sand, and waves.

Respite care can be essential for foster parents who provide care to children who have experienced trauma. It's important for foster parents to take care of themselves so that they can continue to provide the best possible care for their foster children. Some families don’t feel that they need respite and that’s fine; these 10 respite and self-care ideas for stress are just a few ways that foster families can take a break and recharge with or without their foster children. Whether it's a weekend getaway, a spa day, or a day trip to the beach, there are many options to choose from. Remember, self-care is not selfish, it's necessary for a healthy and happy life.

If you’re currently a foster parent but feel as though your fostering provider doesn’t prioritise your wellbeing, you may want to start think about transferring. We offer a generous 14 nights paid respite, along with many other perks and benefits to ensure our foster parents are rewarded for their amazing efforts in helping vulnerable children.

Get in touch with our team today and rest assured, we’ll treat your enquiry in the strictest of confidence.