Well-being is a hot topic for foster carers in 2023, and it absolutely should be. There is a lot to be said about general well-being, and the focus should be on both the carer and the children that they look after. This is essential for establishing supportive environments, and here are five ways it can be done.
Be Your Authentic Self
It is often difficult to let yourself be your authentic self. However, when you are in a role like foster care, there are no other options. It is possible to have boundaries and maintain a degree of professionalism while also showing up with a whole heart and being an authentic role model too. This is never more important than when working with children and young people. It will teach them that it is okay to show people who they really are and help to establish that all important trust.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries in Your Home
Boundaries are an essential part of establishing well-being because they provide structure and security. They also support the formation of healthy relationships because boundaries, when kept correctly, make a home feel safe. The trick is to ensure they are relevant to the environment and have the child as the core focus.
Focus on Positive Habits
Foster carers can always instil positive habits. Firstly, by role modelling things like self-care and positive conversation models, and secondly, by following through with their words. Everything a carer does in their home will be observed, and more importantly, absorbed. Therefore, actions like eating well, regulating emotions, being a positive part of local community settings, and so on are non-negotiable.
Look After Yourself as Well
If you don’t look after yourself, it makes your actions less impactful. Every private agency like Fostering People will ensure that their carers have a team around them including social workers and general support members. These are the people that you can lean on throughout your time in this arena, and it is through these channels that you will be able to plan time out for yourself. It is not selfish to need downtime, and self-care is always essential for well-being. When you show up refreshed, recalibrated, and ready for anything, you will be a better carer.
Promote Prosocial Behaviour Models
Prosocial behaviour is something everyone can work towards, but it is never more important than when working with young people. A top goal for foster carers is to strive towards creating a safe space for a child to feel as though they are able to build healthy relationships and become involved in the community without fear and in a positive way. It is this that will help them step into adulthood with a sense of self, know how to handle peer relationships and understand their place in the wider world.
Well-being is something that all foster carers can work hard to support. Doing this will ensure that the time children spend in the foster home environment is something they will remember in a positive light. It will also encourage them to build a realistic and positive image of who they are and what they can achieve on their own.