A day in the life of a Foster Carer: Part 8, lockdown

Picure by D's foster brother, aged 7

Today was a different way of fostering. A way of life that we never imagined we would be living in.

As the world changed and the Coronavirus Pandemic spread wildly across the planet, the country went into Lockdown. The Schools were closed, D’s Nursery was closed, and there could be no face to face contact with D’s family. We were to stay in our homes and isolate ourselves to keep us safe. The days had drastically changed, but we made the best of what we had.

Our day started with a morning workout. The whole family got ready for Joe Wicks to come on the TV and we followed his daily routine. D was getting used to this and he particularly liked the warmup. Jogging on the spot was his favourite and he would beam a big grin at us all whilst he did this! D always wanted to be with the bigger children, so he eagerly attempted to copy their moves. His favourite exercise was when we all did ‘press ups’ or the ‘plank’, which made a brilliant bridge for him to crawl under, and he loved to make it even harder for us by climbing over the top of us, sitting on our backs as if we were a bench!  As we ended our workout, slightly more tired, D was energised and ready for the next activity!

At 9.30am the phone rang, and D rushed into the playroom where it was propped up in position ready for a video call. Contact with D’s family was now virtual, so I had some toys and pictures he had made ready for him to show his family. D tried to zoom his cars into the video screen then back on the track I had positioned next to him. D started to get distracted, so I gave him a snack and a drink whilst he watched his family. I told his relatives what he had been up to since the last time we spoke, and handed D his pictures to show to the camera. Once D had finished his snack, he became distracted again and kept running off towards the other children to play, so we ended the call and D re-joined the big kids who had started home schooling.

Our dining room had now become our school classroom and we all sat around the table with some work. Today we were learning some recipes, so the children were writing up their recipes and drawing pictures whilst writing the method out. The children were all at different levels, so I gave D his colouring book and he coloured his pictures at the table, so he felt part of what was going on.

Before lunch, the children were ready to burn off some more energy, so we all headed onto the trampoline together. It was D’s favourite toy in the garden, but he especially liked it with the other children as he bounced even more! They squealed in pleasure, as they all bounced around the trampoline, laughing at each other and rolling over. As the weather was good, we sat in the garden and had a picnic lunch. D gets easily distracted so we are working on reminding him to stay sitting whilst eating.

After lunch, we started some baking, following the recipes we had written and drawn this morning. All the children had their own aprons, D loved getting his on and was quickly standing with his back to me, holding out his apron strings, waiting for me to tie his apron up. As the bigger children took the lead, I helped D with some mixing. He was getting the hang of mixing and keeping the mixture in the bowl, but we were still working on keeping fingers out of the bowl and the spoon out of his mouth! The flapjacks were soon ready to bake.

Whilst the flapjacks baked, ready for our after-school treat, we finished our school day with some maths. The big kids worked at the table with their school maths apps online, whilst D and I got some cars out and practised counting them. As our school day finished, the kids all charged into the garden to let off steam.  D played with the water table, splashing water around and refreshing himself at the same time. Luckily, we had a large supply of outfits to change into so he could splash as much as he liked to.

The government guidelines allowed us one hour of exercise each day, so we took the opportunity to get outdoors for a walk. We had discovered more and more different walks around our home, from forest, to park, to beach to farmland. There was always something new to find. Today we walked up past the sheep with their baby lambs. D loved seeing the animals and we were encouraging him to learn their names and the sounds they made.

Lockdown has been tough on many of us, but there have been some positive aspects for us. D has thrived with the slower pace of life and has loved having the whole family at home. We have had more time to spend with each child, ad have been able to see how well D’s development has come on in a much quicker time. Lockdown has given us quality family time and allowed us to really put our everything into fostering.

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Due to Coronavirus, our team our working remotly, but we are continuing to welcome fostering enquiries and applications because there remains a priority need for children to have safe and loving foster families. We are conducting information sessions, initial enquiries and home visits via WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams, and we are working closly with new applicants to progress their applications.

Please e-mail fosteringrecruitment@brighton-hove.gov.uk for details of our next virtual information session.