Brent Foster Carers and their children make the most of time indoors

4 May 2020

Lockdown has changed our lives completely but we can all agree that it has brought us together and also made us stronger. Our foster carers and their children made the most of their time indoors, learned new skills, and bonded over daily activities. Here are a couple of stories from lockdown that they shared with us. If you want to learn more about fostering, visit brent.gov.uk/fostering or call us on 0800 001 4041.

‘Lockdown started, schools closed, and leisure activities suddenly became unavailable. Video calls replaced all face-to-face meetings and in only a few days the way we were living our lives changed completely. As foster carers, we had to think about the wellbeing of our foster children while taking on the role of teachers, entertainers and friends. Not to mention we had to learn how to navigate the digital world and master a host of digital tools.

My foster children and I created a weekly timetable. This way, from Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 12 pm, the children logged into the school’s website to catch up on classes. The rest of the time, they enjoyed other fun activities like cooking, gardening, painting and so on. For example, we combined geography with cooking and explored different cultures by making traditional dishes from around the world.

Despite being stuck indoors for most of the time, we did not forget about the importance of daily exercise. We also went out regularly for the children to get fresh air and enjoy a change of scenery. These weeks will live in our memory for quite a while, but I hope that the children will remember them as pleasant and unique in a good way.’ - P., Brent foster carer

'Everyone is dealing with the lockdown in different ways. The younger ones are loving the time at home and we're doing arts and crafts every day. The teenagers are either completing homework or fixated on their phones. I try to do different activities every day so that we can all  come and do something together for some time (they don't always come). I am trying to be flexible, as I can understand the uncertainty this situation is causing but also trying to keep some sort of routine. I have been encouraging the older children to keep a diary of their feelings and events during this pandemic (I am yet to see if they have been doing it).' - M., Foster carer

And here's a slightly longer one, which we hope you'll enjoy as much.

'Covid 19 is here and we are all in this boat together trying to survive and keep safe. This is an extremely anxious, challenging, and unknowing time for us all. It has been a month now of no school, college or leisure activities. Some children and young people have adjusted well and they have enjoyed being at home, but others, not so much. I am sure like myself you are missing face-to-face contact with friends and family.

We have had to get used to a new routine, online schooling and Zoom. I am proud to say that the girls in my care have become quite confident in IT. To pass time we have started gardening so we can get our vitamin D, and have been taking little walks as part of our exercise routine. It is important to try to get fresh air to improve our mental health in this time. We also go on quick trips to the supermarket where we follow social distancing rules.  

Every day is different and we are facing new challenges but we try and deal with what life throws our way by sitting down for our one meal together which is important for us. This is when we take time to express, see, listen to, feel and reflect on feelings opinions, worries, joys and laughter. It is important that I as a foster carer take notice of change; it can be just by listing or observing the young people’s behaviour, silence, mood swings, facial expressions, language and so on. The young people in my care have tried to keep things as normal as possible with talking to friends on the phone, watch TV, do their school and virtual school work, get fresh air and pop to shops to get their goodies. 

We have limited watching the news to once a day as it can be rather sad at times. I feel it is important to take the good from this situation and reflect on how we can improve ourselves now and after this is over. We must learn to appreciate one another that little bit more and move on with a positive mental attitude. Together we will fight this with social distancing, washing our hands and following government guidelines for our safety. It is up to us to care for ourselves and for others. 

Let us not forget the good things that happened as well - the planet has been healing while all this was going on, so let us continue to do our bit to try and help the environment. Let us also be thankful to our communities that have all pulled together to help one another in this this challenging time. I would like to personally thank a lovely young woman who informed me of donated food from local cafes and restaurants at our local community centre, and one of my foster children who came with me, wearing their mask and gloves, to deliver milk and vegetables to people in our neighbourhood by leaving it at their door.

As I say, this too shall pass. Stay safe, everyone,’ says A, one of our brilliant carers.

We hope this stories convince you of the importance of fostering children particularly during hard times when they need love, care and support most. Fostering is crucial for the community and foster carers are key workers so let us thank them for their dedication and resilience. 

If you'd like to join our community of foster carers, get in touch with us for a chat on 0800 001 4041 or write to us here.