How foster carers can avoid burning out

Becoming a foster carer is a rewarding experience due to the positive changes you get to make in the world. However, parental burnout is real, and it affects foster carers too. Parents who experience burnout feel exhausted all the time and may develop mental health issues due to the constant stress they are under. Here are four things foster carers can do to avoid burnout and remain effective carers.

family sitting on the sofa with granfather to check the Family app to help grandparents
Image credit: Famileo Press 2022 (c) Thomas Millet

Seek and Accept Help

Many parents do not want to accept help because they think that makes them weak or a failure. This is untrue because a key tenet of strong parenthood is knowing when you need help, seeking it, and accepting it.

The best place to find help is your foster care agency. Foster care agencies arrange for support groups and events so carers can come together to discuss what is happening and find help from more experienced people.

Additionally, those fostering in Stafford can get help from respite foster carers. These are foster carers who take care of children for a few hours or overnight so the primary carer can take a break. Your foster care agency will arrange respite care whenever you need it, so do not be afraid to ask for this arrangement if you ever feel overwhelmed.

Focus On Things You Can Control

Many foster carers take on much more than they are required to. For example, they may want to talk to a biological parent to ask them to change their behaviours. Such a change is out of the foster carer’s control, and so this is not where you should be placing your energy.

Instead, you should focus on providing a comfortable, welcoming and loving home to the children under your care. You can control how much time you spend with them or the activities you do together, and these are the things that make a difference.

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself means you will have the energy and focus to provide the care a foster child needs. Start by getting enough sleep. Remember to get seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep for the best results.

Next, switch to a balanced diet and start exercising. Both can make you feel much better and are great ways of relieving the stress, anxiety, and negative emotions you may experience, especially if you are a new foster carer.

Have Fun

There is nothing wrong with being transported to a different world, even if it will be for a few hours. Watching movies with your foster children can provide some escapism where you do not have to worry about anything. Doing so is also a good way of spending quality time with them, and it can affect your relationship positively. Also, consider scheduling some time to play games or engage in fun activities your foster children are interested in.

Parental burnout is real, and it can affect foster carers. The good news is that you can avoid it using a few simple tips and strategies. Importantly, always remember why you became a foster carer, how rewarding it is and the positive impact you have on a foster child’s life to keep going.

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