Well, we are so close to Christmas, where has the year gone? We appear to be heading into a similar situation to last Christmas. Have you had to cancel plans? How has this impacted on your young placements? Again, schools may be affected too! What contingency plans to you have?
We have to keep positive, act as if we are able to continue as planned and keep each other safe whilst doing so. We have been fortunate to meet up again for our annual regional Christmas lunches. West region went to the Plas Hyfryd in Narberth where we were treated to an amazing lunch. It was fantastic to see old and new foster carers and catch up on the last 20 months. Training has continued virtually, and a new schedule will be produced for 2022 and cascaded down to carers.
It is important to be mindful that Christmas is a traumatic time for the children and young people placed with us. Not being with birth family or even being thankful they are not with birth family can impact on the mood and atmosphere in the house during the festive period. Families have different traditions and may celebrate by eating Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and not Christmas Day . . . talk and discuss with your placement what they would like to do . . if they are able to have a discussion around their particular needs it will take the anxiety out of the day for them and you. It is also important not to over-compensate for previous Christmas’s by buying too many gifts, this can be overwhelming and lead to behaviours. Be open and honest and ask the placement if you are struggling for ideas for presents or how to set the scene for the big day.
My little one appears to be more conscious of Christmas each year. He had an opportunity to meet Santa at After School Club tonight and was so excited …. Not had this response before so it was a bit emotional. He has adapted to our traditions and Christmas is a welcome and wonderful experience . . . this is not an average scenario with children that are looked after. However, remember, your Supervising Social Worker, SSW, is a constant source of ideas for endeavouring to keep the day special but not daunting. Discuss with colleagues if you are feeling overwhelmed, their past experiences could help and guide you over the next couple of weeks. There is always someone on duty if things get difficult over Christmas, someone to talk to and offer guidance, just pick up the phone if you are struggling.
Have a fabulous couple of weeks, make the most of time together and try to forget about what is happening in the world around us . . . above all keep safe,
Daisy Doo and Julian too xx