Christmas has now officially started – the Coca Cola advert has just been on TV.
Christmas is unlike any other time of year. For many, it’s magical, mysterious and joyful, a time for sharing and spending time with loved ones. It’s all too easy to forget that, for others, Christmas represents something altogether different.
The festive period can be a very challenging time of mixed emotions for children who will spend Christmas in a care home. Every child in care has their own story, a journey unique to themselves, and will respond to Christmas in their own way. It’s likely that the memories and sense of loss are heightened and harder to deal with at Christmas time.
But there is often a sense of camaraderie and a ‘we’re in this together’ attitude that can bring the children together and enable them to get through the season in a familiar way. A child’s joy can be infectious and even though they may wish that they could spend the day with their family, they come together to help each other through.
The care staff are so important in promoting this attitude. They have to be open to the fact that there is no norm when it comes to the way a child in care will cope with Christmas. The loneliness brought about by Christmas means that actually being there for the children as an emotional outlet, while not forcing things, is more important than ever.
The challenges for care staff are very real, but also very rewarding. Gone are the days when staff could invite children to their own family Christmas, but even if the festive period highlights the fact that these children aren’t living in the ‘normal’, pop culture ideal image of Christmas, the staff and the other children being there to listen and share with one another can be rewarding for all.
Despite the difficulties that Christmas can present to some children in care, many foster carers and children’s homes will be working tirelessly again this year to ensure these children are as happy and secure as possible. This is a tough time of year for them too as many of their regular staff take holidays and they are stretched to their limits.
The sector needs passionate people, now, more than ever, if you would like to help children like this over Christmas, get in touch and we can get you ready for work in time for the holiday season.