Like most parents, Claire says her top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is making sure her kids are happy and safe.

But that’s a difficult task when you’re a foster mother to five high-needs children under the age of 11. The kids in Claire’s care have faced multiple traumas in their short lives. Some have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Others have trust issues.

Taking care of her kids can be challenging in the best of times. Add in a pandemic where both Claire and her husband are working from home and it can be overwhelming.

“Nobody really had a plan. Nobody knew how to do what they’re going to do. We kind of just were going with the flow,” she says.

Now, more than a month since schools closed, Claire’s family has found a rhythm, which includes lots of time outside.

The kids get up at 8 a.m., have breakfast and brush their teeth.

“I try to get them to do their academics either right after or they go outside and burn some energy and then they do their academic booklet for a couple hours,” she says.

“I try to do my phone calls through that time. My husband and I kind of take turns.”

Then it’s lunch, after which the whole family goes for an hour walk.

“Depending on the day either the kids come back and do some baking or they clean or they play in the garage. Then we cook dinner together and then go for another walk.”

Claire says while she expected some behavioural changes with the new routine, her kids have been thriving.

“A lot of my kids have severe trauma and they’ve actually been doing really well because they’re being fed every day, they’re in a safe place and they don’t have the pressures of school.” (Read more…)