We all know that Easter is a big symbol of new beginnings. But what is Easter like as a foster parent? We asked our Therapeutic lead Aly Thompson what she thought about fostering at Easter.
Aly goes on to say that regulation is the key to teaching your child how to regulate themselves. What do you as Foster Parents need to do to stay regulated, especially in times of stress? Times of perceived 'joy' can be hard for the children we see in the agency and Easter is no exception to this rule.
Parental presence can often disappear when you are trying to parent 'anger', yet the child needs foster parents to have a parental presence to feel safer. Our foster parents do structure their parental responses so that in times of stress they can maintain their safe parental presence. We do however understand that this is hard to maintain and so giving yourself some space to re-group is also important.
If the child or young person has a sensitive fight response safety is always the priority. Therefore, things to think about are:
Is everyone safe?
What do you need to do in this moment or for future moments to ensure safety?
What do you need to do to stay safe?
What do our children and young people need for holidays?
As with everything, helping young people to learn how to self-regulate takes time. It is one of the reasons why we provide long-term foster care as part of our Therapeutic Approach at Mosaic because it really takes time to be able to help children learn. We have regulating tasks and activities throughout the day, every day as this soothes the nervous system and eventually calms the survival response. Offer consistent and regular doses of high nurture. Nurture activates oxytocin that lowers aggression.
Purposefully and positively connect again and again despite the rejection. Anger often puts a wall between you and your child. Connecting with your child will help them to feel safer, lowering their stress levels and yours. When a child has gone into fight mode, they will need to be safely supported to discharge the build-up of anger or it may appear later.
Understand that you will get it wrong - all the time! Model repair so your child can learn that relationships can survive a rupture.
Teach your child what is happening in their body when they go into a survival response. Talk through emotions so that they can connect the feelings to a word and make it easier for them to explain in future.
Be compassionate to yourself and your child. It takes time for the nervous system to learn not to leap into a survival response.
An Idea for an Easter Hunt instead of chocolate
Have the young people fill in slips of paper with their wishes on, managed by you, so perhaps write some suggestions for them. This helps you to manage the wishes for your own window of tolerance. For instance:
Then hide the eggs and the eggs they find fulfil those wishes
As always, remember that we are here to support you in your fostering journey.
Looking for ideas of things to do with your young person this break? Why not take a look at day out with the kids website?
Want to learn more? Connect with us today!