Meet Foster parent Lynne from Cymru, who has been fostering for 24 years with FCA. We sit down and chat with her to find out some of the stand-out summer memories she has with the children and young people in her care…
What’s been your favourite family holiday moment?
I’d say when we took the four children (aged, 4, 5, 10 and 12) we had in our care at the time to Morocco. There was something so special about riding the camels, it really stuck with them and it was certainly one of my favourite memories. Seeing the look on their faces as they experience new things, from getting on the plane to go, to sorting out their passports…it was amazing to watch them enjoy the things we take for granted.
The children would say their favourite moment was going to Disneyland, going on all the rides and playing in the pool!
What do you think children love about summer?
Endless Ice cream! Also, children like the time to spend with adults, playing games on the beach or in the house on a rainy day. They enjoy the relaxed rules of the summer holidays. Although we still keep within the boundaries - they enjoy the different routines and sense of freedom.
Usually, after Sunday dinners they always had to do the washing up, but in the summer, my children would love it when I said; “right, let's leave everything and all go to the beach!"
What's your favourite activity to do with your children and young people?
Where I live (in Anglesey) I've got beaches all around me. There is one beach in particular we love going to where it's a lot more private, you have to climb to get to it. It’s all red from previous copper mining, so l love saying to the children; “Let's take a picnic and go to mars!” - even the teenagers love going to Mars for lunch. There are caves we can explore, and on the way back we get ice cream from the milkshake shack.
What's a happy summer memory from your own childhood?
As a child, we would always go down to Bournemouth. When we arrived after travelling the long journey down from Liverpool it would always feel like a different world from the city. I loved going out for dinners, and taking walks in the evening. It was enjoying the sense of freedom and quality time with the family.
What are your tips on keeping children and young people entertained over the summer?
My survival strategy is to plan for an activity every half an hour. Then, if they are busy and happy, carry on. If not, simply switch to the next activity and move on. I have a chalkboard where I plan all activities, rotating these to keep them entertained. It’s a lot less stressful if you have a back-up plan!
Have you got any advice for someone who is looking to start their fostering journey this summer?
Firstly, don't expect too much! My advice is that it's going to be very alien to the children and young people in your care. Some children may feel guilty about having fun, and that’s ok. They may try to sabotage their happiness. If that does happen, just sit back and hug them and say; “I understand today was really difficult for you, what shall we do tomorrow that will be ok?” Remember to pick your battles.
A great thing to do is to involve them in the decisions that you are making when choosing the activities over the summer. Get them involved in writing up a big list of things they would like to do and have this displayed as a visual calendar in the house where they can see it. Remember to include down-days in this, where they can relax with no expectations. Also, ordinary things like watering the garden and washing the car can be made fun with water fights thrown in!
Children don’t want money thrown at them, they want your time and presence.
Oh, and the biggest piece of advice…forget about having a tidy house, all that can wait!
Can you make a difference this summer to a child or young person desperately needing care?
Take the first step in your fostering journey and contact the team today.
#WithYou children and young people can have the safe and fun summer they deserve.
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