Welcoming a new foster child into your home can be an exciting time, but also a daunting one for both parties. That said, while you might well feel nervous in anticipation of what the child will be like and how they will settle in, nothing will compare to the feelings of uncertainty, trepidation, and even fear that your new foster child will likely be experiencing.
With this in mind, here are a 7 things you can do to help the new addition to your family from the fostering agency, settle in and feel at ease:
Give them their own personal space
It’s important that your new foster child has a place in your home that they can call their own, and that they can retreat to and feel safe in, whenever they may need to. To make the space more welcoming, why not fill it with a few of their favourite things (you can ask the agency to provide you with details of this).
Include them in family activities
From day trips to the beach or countryside, to horse riding or swimming classes and trips to the cinema, be sure to include your new foster child in everything that you do as a family, to help them fit in and feel as loved and special as your birth children.
Check what you should refer to them as
Your foster child may not want to be known as the ‘foster kid,’ while others might be happier with the term. Talk to them about what you should refer to them as in order to make them feel comfortable and included.
Put their picture up alongside your own family photos
It doesn’t have to be a professional portrait, but a couple of snaps of your foster child on the wall or sitting in frames on the mantlepiece will help them feel as if they’re as much a part of your family as your birth children.
Get them helping out around the home
While you might not have them wiping the breakfast table down and loading the washing machine the minute they arrive, it is important to include them in your list of family cleaning chores so that they feel worthy and important (even if they don’t enjoy helping out!), and also, so that your other kids don’t feel hard done by!
Find out what their favourite foods are
Nothing will get you closer to winning a child’s affection than food, and by finding out what kind of meals and snacks they love to eat, you can fill your fridge and cupboards with tasty treats, and cook meals they love.
Let them plan family night
Family nights are a fantastic way to bring everyone together, if only for one night of the week, and by letting your new foster child plan what they would like everyone to do, you can make them feel truly included. While fostering teenagers might make planning family night a little more difficult due to their age, you should still give them the opportunity to be included if they would like to be.
There are many more ways to help your foster child settle in and feel welcome, but you’ll find that the 7 tips above are more than enough to get you started. As you gain experience and foster more children, you’ll find your own ways to personalize each of their experiences when they first join your family, and make them feel at ease in your home.
Also Read: 6 Tips For Healthy Toddlers