My name is Heather and my life completely changed June 7, 2013. It wasn’t your typical major life change of marriage or a birth of a child but it changed everything I knew about life just the same. My husband and 8-year-old daughter embarked on a journey that has been a blessing, a curse and all that in between. We became the new Respite family.
It’s pretty easy looking on paper but much harder in practice. So here are the basics. We have 6 beds for children who are in need of respite. Some are planned and others are emergency. We have kids come to us for a whole variety of reasons but the stay typically is short. Our youngest guest was 3 months old and our oldest was 17. We take babies, teens, boys and girls. We house them, feed them, keep them safe. Sometimes though real change occurs. We have had the pleasure of housing over 100 children our first year as respite parents.
By now you are probably asking what is respite care.
So what is respite? Respite is a positive and powerful piece to strengthen families. Respite care is temporary care to provide support to families struggling with crisis situations. Respite services are intended to provide assistance to a family and to prevent “burn-out” and family disintegration.
Respite is not punishment but rather a way to promote unity within the family and can provide help in a rough time in a family’s life. In addition to providing relief, Respite has added benefits, including:
Relaxation: Respite gives families peace of mind, helps them to relax, and renews their humor and energy;
Enjoyment: Respite allows children to pursue new interests and activities which they can share with their families;
Stability: Respite improves the family’s ability to cope with the daily responsibilities and maintain stability during crisis;
Preservation: Respite helps preserve the family unit and lessens the pressures that might lead to out-of-home placement, abuse and neglect;
Involvement: Respite allows families to become involved in a community and to feel less isolated.
Time Off: Respite allows a family to take that much-needed time alone or to spend time with the overlooked sibling, and
Enrichment: Respite makes it possible for family members to establish individual identities and to enrich growth and development
To become the new respite family we became certified foster parents, had background checks ran on us and had to prove we were the best family suited for the job.
Here are some of the things we’ve done so far:
- Trips to the library, local parks and playgrounds
- Learned how to make paper mache bowls, paper beads, paper water bombs and piñatas
- Watched lots of movies
- Baked cakes, cookies and breads from scratch
- Played lots of Mario Party 8
- Used lots of balloons for water balloons, balloon pop paintings, balloon rocket races
- Taught kids how to cook
- Attempted to make sugar crystals and coke/ mentos fountains
- Brushed lots of hair
- Created and shared lots of stories around the dinner table
- Showed and taught the kids card tricks
- Played with bubbles – homemade, store-bought, foam
- Swimming, paddle boating, water play
- Made lots of slime
- Made memories to last a lifetime
As we have learned how to do this we’ve joked that we are running a Hotel for Kids as we are constantly washing linen and pillows to provide a clean and comfortable room for when our new guest arrives. We provide soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant – all the necessities. We provide hot showers and fluffy towels. We provide a clean home with activities.
At Hotel for Kids you will find posts on respite parenting, how to become a peaceful parent, how to’s on cooking, arts, crafts, science experiments to conduct at home and how to heal and move on from a traumatic upbringing.
Enjoy and if you like what you find here please share with your friends!