Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and the author’s views here do not necessarily reflect those of the blog owner.
Parenting is hard, and self-care for parents is essential. Taking some time for yourself gives you the patience and energy that you need to look after your family and give them the attention that they need. This is even more true when you are a foster parent. Fostering is deeply fulfilling, but it’s also a huge challenge, and it can be enormously draining. You need to take time for yourself, to be able to stay mentally strong for others.
Take Some Time for Yourself
Time for yourself is incredibly important for all parents. Parenting is exhausting and emotionally draining. Spending time on your own, away from your children helps you to unwind and refresh. It can help you to gain perspective and boost your energy levels. If your foster child is in school, make sure you try to get a little time to yourself while they are out of the house. If they are at home, spend time once they are in bed or napping doing something for yourself, even if it means leaving chores for a while.
Build a Support Network
If you want to stay mentally strong as a foster carer, you will need a strong support network. Make sure your family and friends know that you are fostering and talk to them about the experience and the challenges that you are facing.
Exercising is a great way to burn off negative energy and stress, boost your confidence and energy levels, and improve your mood. Even when you don’t have time for a workout, try to get out for a short walk.
Keep in Touch with Your Agency or Social Worker
Your social worker, agency, or FCA Devon is there to offer you support, advice and help when you need it. Their job doesn’t stop once a child is placed with you. If you have specific worries or questions, make sure you get the right advice and support, instead of just worrying on your own.
Savour the Small Moments
Time to yourself will sometimes be an hour in the bath or a long lunch with friends. But as a busy parent, these treats might be rare. Learn to savour small moments, like a cup of coffee with a book and a biscuit.
Connect with Other Foster Carers
Look online, and on social media for foster carer groups. There’ll be groups that you can join online, where you can talk about your experiences and ask for advice from other carers. There might also be meet-ups in your local area.
Don’t Punish Yourself
Caring for a foster child is hard work. There might be behavioural or emotional problems, especially in the early days when they are settling in. This isn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t punish yourself.
Having plans can give you all something to look forward to. Try to have something booked in for the whole family, but also things with your friends and loved ones.
When it comes to self-care, the main thing is not to let yourself feel guilty. Time for yourself isn’t bad because it’s time away from your foster child. It’s what allows you to give your foster child the time, focus and love that they need.