Dear Savvy Auntie,

My foster nephew is now out of school for the summer, and alone for several hours each day while his foster parents are working. Because of his foster status and history, he's not allowed to leave the house during the day. How can I (from 75 miles away) help motivate him to pass at least part of his time in productive/challenging pursuits, so that he doesn't rot his brain in front of the TV all day?

Caring Auntie

Dear Caring Auntie,

You don't mention your foster nephew's age. I assume he is older than 10 or 11years since he is being left alone.

It hurts me to think of a boy having to stay home alone for the day; so, the first possibility would be to engage someone to visit him who is rrustworthy and capable. You could look into Big Brother organizations. There is also a growing cadre of retired men who volunteer to work with kids. Capitalizing on his interests he could be tutored in academics, crafts, computer usage and games (chess,scrabble etc.).

Since we now have the technology to stay in touch anywhere in the world you could have a daily exchange with him via Skype or instant messaging. At the very least you could review the day's TV programs and decide together what he will watch and then ask him what he liked and didn't like on TV.

Please feel free to give me more info about your nephew so I might be able to offer more personalized suggestions.

He is lucky to have such a caring auntie.

Good Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

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