Do your kids like going for sleepovers at a friend’s house? Do your kids like having their friend’s sleepover? Do your kids like going to grandparents or cousins’ houses for sleepovers? And as a grandparent, uncle or aunt – do you love having your grandkids, nieces and nephews over and spoiling them and having fun?
Children growing up in out of home care, in foster or kinship care, are just regular kids who would also love this.
For a whole range of reasons, from both the side of the full-time carers and the side of extended family or friends, children growing up in care, just don’t seem to be asked for sleepovers or formal respite.
For carers it may be because they are too nervous to ask or impose, carers want their extended family or friends or parents of their kid’s friends to want to help, carers worry about their children’s behaviour or needs being too much, and often, just feeling too overwhelmed to ask.
For extended family, friends or other parents - they may think they have to be ‘approved’ or they aren’t allowed to help or fears about birth family or that they need to understand more about trauma or a whole mix of these things.
What all this leads to is full-time foster and kinship carers becoming isolated and worn out. Children missing out on extended family and the normal friendships of growing up.
To debunk the first misconception – children in care can go for sleepovers! Please invite them, treat them like your other children’s friends or children in your family.
If you would like to step into a child’s life more intentionally and be a respite carer for that child, the carer would LOVE it! As a carer, I like to think of respite care as extended family, that person or couple or family that opens my home to my child, just like grandparents, uncles, aunts. It just needs to be a bit formal so everyone is safe. Extended family can be that respite care too or it could be a friend at school or church.
Every week we receive requests for carers wanting a respite carer, they want someone or a family they can have a relationship with, trust, and as mentioned above, can become extended family for the child.
You can be at any stage of life to be a respite carer – single, a couple with or without kids, haven’t started your own family yet or your family has left home, or you are at that stage of life with kids at home and used to sleepovers and extras being around!
If you would like to consider respite care, get in touch with us, let’s have a coffee or chat.