Travelling with foster children can be a rewarding experience for the entire family because it provides a platform for creating memories, strengthening bonds, and exploring new cultures and places. However, it’s important to consider the potential obstacles and challenges you may face, which is why we’ve put together this short guide.
Legal Considerations and Gaining Permissions
Before you travel with foster children, you need to obtain the necessary approvals from either your agency, like fosterplus.co.uk, or the fostering department at your Local Authority. Approach your agency with full details of the proposed travel plans, and they will offer guidance on whether permission can be granted or not. In certain circumstances, some foster children aren’t allowed to travel for various reasons, so take a look at the care agreement.
Understand Behavioural and Emotional Needs
Foster children often carry emotional weight relating to their experiences, which can manifest in various behavioural patterns. Before travelling with foster children, you need to understand these unique needs and have strategies for dealing with them effectively. Here are some general methods of supporting behavioural and emotional needs:
- Establish clear expectations
- Maintain routines
- Engage in relaxing activities
- Provide positive reinforcement
- Create calming spaces
Most of these methods should be used within your regular life as a foster carer, but you will need to adjust them slightly for travelling. For example, a calm space when you’re travelling may be a quiet cafe, public library, or other peaceful destination.
Choose an Appealing Destination
Selecting a child-friendly destination is essential for having a memorable and positive travel experience. Consider factors such as age-appropriate attractions, safety, and accessibility when making your decision. Prioritise places that offer a range of experiences that suit your foster children’s interests. Places like theme parks, national parks, and beach towns make for great travel destinations.
Set Clear Expectations and Routines
Travelling takes your foster children out of their regular routine, so it’s important to keep as much of their regular schedule as possible. For example, having breakfast at a regular time and keeping a similar bedtime can help them feel secure. Before you leave, have a conversation to discuss boundaries, address technology use, and outline clear expectations for behaviour and consequences.
Make It Inclusive and Positive
Travelling with foster children is the perfect opportunity to create positive memories, strengthen relationships, and broaden their horizons. However, it’s important to make sure the experience is enriching and inclusive. Speak to your foster children to find out what they enjoy, and have them get involved in the planning and decision-making.
If you aren’t able to take your foster children travelling, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a vacation. You can put some time aside and have a staycation, which is when you use your home as a base and head out to various activities – just as you would a typical vacation.
Careful planning, consideration of unique needs, and a commitment to creating a positive experience are essential for travelling with foster children. However, you need to make sure you get consent from your foster agency.
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