Do you look forward to the summer holidays with your children? Time spent as a family, relaxing and having fun, or even visiting somewhere new, can make memories you will all treasure for the rest of your lives. If you have foster children, you may wonder how your summer will be different. Can you still take that holiday trip? What are some permitted activities for foster children? Will you have to change your summer plans? Here, we take a look at enjoying the summer holidays as a foster family, with an explanation of the rules that must be followed, along with some suggestions for summer family activities to enjoy together.
Seek permission for the activities that you’re planning
While you are mulling over some summer activity ideas, the first thing to do is to seek permission for whatever you’re planning. As a foster carer, you have been granted delegated authority, giving you the ability to make everyday decisions for the children, but you do not have parental responsibility. Parental responsibility may fall with the child’s parents, or it may be within the purview of local authorities. There are many factors that come into play, including the child’s legal status and age and the care plan in place. Your supervising social worker can advise you on your particular situation and help you determine the next steps to take, but ultimately, you will need permission from those with parental responsibility before you can travel with a foster child.
In some cases, the summer holiday you have imagined might not be possible with the foster children in your care, because of their care plan. Even if you can’t do what you’d originally planned, though, you can still plan some fun excursions and experiences for your family, including the foster children in your care. Just make sure to think about summer activity ideas for kids early, so that you can acquire any permissions needed and have a backup plan in case your original ideas are not possible.
Your foster child’s care plan will be integral in deciding how your summer will proceed. Talk to the social worker before you mention any ideas to the children, because you don’t want them to be disappointed. Once you understand the parameters within which you will be operating, you can involve the children, allowing them to help you come up with summer activity ideas. This will allow them to feel a sense of belonging, knowing that they have a voice in your planning. It can also help them get excited about what’s going to happen over the summer holidays, and adjust to the idea of changing their normal routine for a little while.
Certain activities will require additional permissions, including summer camps that take the children out of your supervision. If you do decide to send your foster children to a residential activity like a summer camp, consider staying nearby, perhaps planning activities for yourself and booking a nearby accommodation while the children are in camp. This can offer the children a sense of security, knowing that you are nearby to provide support if needed.
Can I take my Foster Child on holiday?
If you would like to take the children on holiday, whether you plan on travelling abroad or you will be staying in the UK, you will need to consider a variety of factors before you plan your trip. Your social worker will be able to guide and advise you, as well as informing you of any holiday allowance to which you may be entitled, in addition to the normal foster allowance. You will need permission from those with parental responsibility if you need to apply for passports or have the children vaccinated, and you will also need documentation of your status as a foster carer to take with you. When looking for accommodations, carefully consider whether the places you are considering will meet the needs of the young people you are taking with you. Think about any safety issues before you book. Make sure you think about contact arrangements between the children and their parents while you’re planning your trip, so you can reduce any disruptions.
Be careful when you are planning summer activities that you do not over plan. Some children in care can become overwhelmed if there is a rigid timetable of events or too many activities, especially children who are not used to so much commotion or have a spectrum disorder like ASD. The temptation to pack your summer with activity can be strong, but it’s important to give children an opportunity to decompress, participate in familiar hobbies, and enjoy some alone time. If you are going on holiday and taking the children along, build in some down time. Bring some familiar activities and games to provide a sense of continuity.
What summer activities can I do with my Foster Child?
If you are not travelling this summer, it doesn’t mean the summer has to be boring. While children do need periods of calm at home, and time to spend with their friends, you can also plan some fun family activities to help you bond and make happy memories. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Paint some rocks
This requires noting more than rocks, paint, and brushes, and is a good way to connect with your family and converse while you paint. You might discover that your child has a hidden talent, and the rocks can become special keepsakes.
Do a little gardening
Whether flowers or vegetables, plants you grow yourself can be rewarding. Your children will enjoy digging in the dirt, and gardening is a great way to connect to nature.
Camp out in your own garden
Set up a tent, take along some flashlights, and maybe build a campfire for stories and roasting marshmallows.
Have an outing and learn something new
A visit to a museum or some other educational activity can make for a fun family outing. Think of places with educational value, like a library, the zoo, or an aquarium.
Spending time with your foster children playing ball or having a picnic is simple, free, and a good way to bond.
Take a nature walk
After your walk, have your children journal the things they saw on the walk, and you will be not only strengthening your relationship but also building learning skills.
Become a Foster Carer with Acorn Fostering Services today
Are you interested in becoming a foster carer? At Acorn Fostering Services, we provide good quality foster placements for children and young people, and we are always looking for foster carers who can offer children sensitivity and care. An Ofsted approved and registered independent fostering agency, we are based in Leicester and provide fostering agency services throughout the East and West Midlands and Northern Counties. If you think you have the life experience and qualities that would help you care for children of all types and you want to learn more about foster caring, call us on 0116 251 3550 at or contact us through our website.