10 tips to support children with care experience this festive season

mum and three children trying Christmas crafts Published: 14th Dec 2021

Christmas can be both magical and challenging! We share our top tips for supporting children with care experience through the festive season.

  1. Manage expectations – things could change again with  Covid-19 
    A child in care may have never had their own Christmas stocking or a tree or gifts. They may never have had a Christmas like your own and it’s important for them to understand what is going to happen and what might change.
  2. Get the conversation started with stories and games
    Books, games and films can help you start difficult conversations with children about their expectations and emotions around Christmas.
  3. Get them involved with festive activities
    Go outside and take photos, organise a Christmas themed treasure hunt, have a go at Christmas origami, draw or paint Christmas cards together.
  4. Involve them in food planning around Christmas
    Food and alcohol can be sources of stress for some children and young people. You can help to keep stress about food to a minimum by involving children and young people in meal decisions and planning.
  5. Talk about cultural and family traditions
    Knowing what to expect works both ways. It’s always a good idea to ask children and young people about their birth family's Christmas traditions. Where appropriate, try to incorporate some of these traditions into your own celebrations.
  6. Be predictable
    A lot of our children and young people can perceive unpredictability and excitement as threats to their own safety and wellbeing. You can help to reduce their anxiety by keeping your visitors to a minimum and by ensuring that children know when your visitors will be arriving. For some young children, it might be helpful to make a visual plan of the Christmas period, so they know what to expect, especially if this is their first Christmas with you.
  7. Be Mindful
    Additional lights and noise of the festive season could be overwhelming for some children. Get them involved in decorating and make sure they have a safe space to go to if they do feel overwhelmed.
  8. Take time to reflect and look forward
    Discuss as a family all the things you are grateful for and talk about individual goals you’d like to achieve by next Christmas.
  9. Have a chat with your family and friends before any togethers
    and make sure that they know what they can do to support the children in your care.
  10. Be kind to yourself, find time to relax
    Try to find some time to yourself and don't sweat the small stuff. Be easy on yourself and try to find some time to relax.

​​​​​Christmas is about love, laughter and light,
And keeping positive throughout this time.
Remember your reason for remaining bright,
It’s the end of the year and you made it to through the fight.
Merry Christmas to you all.

We’re here for you

If you’re a care giver for Birmingham Children’s Trust, we're here for you 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including Christmas day.

If you need help over the festive period, please make sure you get in touch:

For adoption, please email us at DutyPostAdoptionSupport@birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk - the on-duty support worker will get back in touch to arrange a call back

For fostering, please get in touch with your Supervising Social Worker or our duty team.