5 Tips on Preparing for Your First Vacation as a Foster Family

Father and daughter going out to enjoy summer vacation near beach
Tips for your first vacation with foster kids

Foster kids are in your home to be part of your family, they need to feel loved and cared for by you and they need to know that they are a part of your family. This often means taking vacations together. If you plan ahead and follow a few tips, the vacation can be a success.

5Don’t Travel at Night

It often seems easier to start a long road trip at night night while the kids sleep, but that may not be the case with your foster kids. A history of having been driven in a car by strangers, to live with strangers, can make foster children hyper-vigilant in a car.  They will constantly be on the lookout for danger, not trusting that the adults have everything under control. This will cause them to do anything to stay awake which is not a great start to your vacation.

4Manage Expectations

Ask the children what their expectations are and let them know if any of those expectations are absolutely not going to be realized. Discuss which are sure to happen and which are questionable. Then help them think of appropriate ways to handle disappointments or changes in plans.

Make anything to do with safety a level one priority. Other than that decide what is worth conflict and persuasion and what is best left alone. Skipping a bath or eating some junk food on vacation should not be a big deal. Refusing to wear a lifejacket on the boat.. worth the battle!

3Don’t Focus on the Other Passengers

When flying with kids do not try to appease everyone on the airplane. There are some people who simply do not like children, and will bristle at the mere sight of a child on a plane, even if your kid is an angel. Ignore these people and their glares, because your kids have as much right to be on the plane as they do. But be respectful of everyone’s right to an enjoyable experience. It’s your responsibility as a parent to do your best to make sure your kids don’t intrude on the other passengers’ space or comfort. Boarding a plane prepared with activities and snacks is a must.

2Be Aware of Your Child’s Triggers

Most foster children have experienced trauma. There are things that will trigger a response in them, beyond their control. Foster parents are always learning about the children in their care and need to be on the lookout for these triggers. If there are things that you know will upset your child be pro-active about avoiding those situations. That there will also be many new experiences while travelling and you may discover a new trigger. Be patient and use your training to get both you and your child through the reaction as smoothly as possible.

1Include Children in Packing

If the kids are old enough, pack with them not for them. There may be items that they really want to have with them, for reasons you may not understand. Ensure that they have the essentials, suggest their favourite toy or blanket then allow them to add what they feel necessary. Even if it seems like a strange choice.