Ask anyone who has been a respite carer what it is like to provide respite care for a child (or children, even) and they will tell you it’s a worthwhile experience with untold rewards. That’s not to say the challenges aren’t there. They are. It's no walk in the park we can assure you. And yet, despite the difficulties that come along with day-to-day respite care-giving, it can be very much fulfilling. We cannot guarantee that the journey as a respite carer will be smooth sailing. But we most certainly can guarantee that your journey as a respite carer will be life changing.
In fact, we can give you five reasons why the respite carers in the Sanctuary Care family are say it's one of the best experiences ever:
All respite children are different; some more difficult to manage than others. However, no matter the difficulties faced, when a child is placed into your home, they immediately become a significant part of your life. Your home will be filled with more love than you could ever have imagined. And wait till they really settle in, that's when the whole family really begins to have fun.
Laughter so contagious
Have you heard a child laugh? It is so infectious, you are most certain to have a smile on your face after. Now, children in respite care very rarely come to your house smiling. Given a choice, they would rather much be home with their mum and dad but circumstances warrant otherwise. So when your respite child breaks into a grin or even laughter, you can imagine the wave of relief, excitement even, washing over you. It is incredibly heart-warming to know that your respite child is able to feel happy despite being in an otherwise unwelcome situation of being away from one's parents. Being a respite carer provides you and your family (that includes your kids) with the privilege of watching a child learn how to play and laugh again while interacting with the folks in your home. We would say that laughter is often healing for everyone involved but you've got to try it to find out.
As a respite carer caring for a child, it is sometimes easy to forget that the parents of your respite child are people in need of a little help. Caring for respite children means that you are not only helping a child be safe and happy, you are also helping their parents, who love them very much, work towards getting back on their feet faster without the added worry of not doing right by their children. To us, the act of giving respite is an important lesson to your family, and the one you are helping, in kindness and the spirit of community.
Never a dull moment
The needs and responsibilities of so many children one after the other can, at times, be exhausting. However, because of the new-found playful energy at home, there will never be a dull moment. Each day is an adventure that holds new surprises.
The learning never stops
Being faced with new challenges every single day, you constantly learn new perspectives from children of differing backgrounds that enter your home. This constant learning process helps you develop as a person as an parent. But wait, it's not just you. Many veteran respite carers with children of their own will tell you that they are grateful for the opportunity for their children to learn important values; such as selflessness and the need to give back. To teach the next generation how to be compassionate members of society is a gift on its own.
The rewards never end
Have we made respite care sound so wonderful? We are not gonna lie, this might possibly be the most difficult ‘job’ you will ever have. But hey, it is by far the most rewarding one you will ever do. With each child that you open your heart and home to, you and your family will be even better at adapting and enjoying having another person (and his or her family) become a part of your life.