Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Tips for Settling a Foster Child into your Home

Fostering is something Jon & I have been discussing lately - we've been talking about the possibility of planning a second baby and also discussing whether we would rather attempt to adopt a child instead - so naturally fostering also came up.

We decided that we probably won't do this right now while Tyne is so young, but it is definitely something we hope to do when he is a little older.

When providing a foster child with a home – regardless of how temporary a time – it’s important to help them settle in as quickly and easily as possible.

At first they may find it difficult to feel at home in your house, and likewise, your other family members may find adjusting to having a new arrival in the home hard.

Below are some tips on how to make this transition as smooth as possible so that all family members feel happy and secure.

Learn as much about them before hand as possible

The fostering agency or local authority will be there to help you every step of the way, whether you’re fostering in Cornwall or any part of the country, and taking advantage of their assistance before the child moves in can be really beneficial. Get clued up on any behavioural problems or emotional needs they may have beforehand so that you can begin to mentally prepare yourself and your family for more difficult times.

Avoid grand gestures at first

Although it may be tempting to bombard the child with gifts and grand gestures as you no doubt want to treat them and make them feel special, they will appreciate a loving and stable routine just as much at first. Refrain from overwhelming them with extravagance and aim to just make them a part of your normal family life.

Treat them as one of the family in terms of chores and rules

Treating them as part of the family is really important, and shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to things like house rules and chores. Giving them a simple job or two to do can help them feel included and will help bridge the gap between themselves and your own children. Establish behavioural rules early on too so that they understand what is expected from them whilst in your home.

Help them make a space in your home that is their own
Whether they have their own room or not, giving the child a space in your home that is theirs alone can really give them a sense of comfort and pride. If you are limited on space, you could get them a special storage box that is private to them, and help them decorate it to show them that they are at home.

Listen to any concerns they may have along the way
Taking their feelings into consideration along the way is essential for helping them feel happy and accepted. Many children who are under foster care suffer from low self esteem so the fact that you
listen to them and adhere to any requests or problems they have will show them how important they are.

Spend time as a whole family unit
Invite them to any family gatherings you have so that they can feel a part of the wider family circle too, and spend time together as a household. You could let the children take it in turns to choose an activity so they all understand how much they are loved.

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