Balancing Extracurriculars for Kids in Foster Care

The schedule of kids in foster care can be very demanding. Balancing extracurriculars is important to empower kids in foster care to be kids. 


Something I completely underestimated when we started our foster care journey is the pure number of appointments that would be added to our schedule. Granted, this is natural when going from no kids to four kids. However, beyond the typical wellness checks and teeth cleaning, kids in foster care have so much more. 

Obviously each kid is different, but some commitments are universal. There are social worker visits. We have two social workers, each of which visit a minimum of twice a month. Counseling is pretty universal, but those appointments can vary in frequency. One of our kids goes twice a month and the other has three hours a week of therapy in our home. We also have a psychiatrist that manages medication for one of our kids, so that is another monthly commitment. It all adds up. 

Appointment waiting room entertainment.


Extra Commitments

Then we add extra things that are not quite essential but valuable to the support and development of our kids. These are things like tutoring & mentoring; both of which have been weekly additions to our schedule at times. Over time we’ve also had various specialists and assessments with ENT, Behavioral Health, Ophthalmology, and more. 

All of these appointments make it feel like we’re always running somewhere. There has not been a single week since the kids were placed with us over a year ago where we haven’t had appointments. It’s a lot on us as caregivers, but then I think about the kids. I always come back to how to give these kids their childhood back. Some of these things are unavoidable and essential for the kids. 

Finding Balance

It seems backwards to add another thing to our schedules. I struggled with this for some time. However, with all of these appointments and visits demanding time from the kids, it felt like we needed to give them something that was theirs. Would this add extra chaos to our already chaotic schedule? Yes. Would it be worth it? Absolutely. 

So that’s what we did. We have to keep a boundary of one activity per kid, but I think that’s fairly normal of any family with multiple children. Our two older kids have now each tried two different activities. We’ve done dance, taekwondo, soccer and baseball. I’ve seen how prioritizing these activities has given a piece of their childhood back. They get to do regular kid things with other kids and find out who they are and what they love. As the younger kids get older we’ll continue to figure out how to carve out this space for innocence

Every kid deserves the chance to pursue their interests and kids in foster care are no exception. If anything, it’s even more important to balance out the heaviness of their schedule with things that keep them kids.

Developing soccer skills.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: