Fostering is hard, not just for the foster parents but for the foster children who are abruptly thrust into an unfamiliar home full of unfamiliar people. As a foster parent, you want your new foster child to feel comfortable and safe. When they come to live with you, the first impression will make a big difference in how quickly and smoothly they acclimate. To help make your foster child’s introduction to your family as stress-free as possible, here are four ways to make your foster child feel at home.
When they arrive at your home, greet your foster child with a warm smile! Introduce yourself, then introduce them to your family. You’ll want to give them a home tour when they head inside. Let them know that this is their home, too, and they shouldn’t feel shy about using things like the computer, TV, or kitchen.
Give Them a Place To Call Their Own
Assuming this isn’t an emergency placement, you should have time to prepare your foster child’s room in advance. Ask their caseworker what they like so you can add personal touches here and there. Temporary wallpaper is an excellent way to personalize a room for your foster kid! You can also get them patterned bedsheets, new toys, or posters of their favorite bands, movies, shows, or celebrities to hang up. Tell your foster child that you can help them rearrange the room if they’d prefer it a certain way, and ask if there’s anything else you can get them that would make the space feel cozier.
Treat Them Like Family
You should treat your foster child like you would your own child. Take them on vacations with you and celebrate holidays with them. Include them in family decisions, like what to have for dinner or how to spend the weekend. By involving them in family activities, you let your foster child know that you care about them and think their opinions matter.
Go at Their Pace
Some foster kids will be eager to interact with you and your family. Others won’t. One more way to make your foster child feel at home is to take things at their preferred pace. Make it clear that it’s okay for them to say no and that you won’t force them to participate in anything they aren’t ready for. At the same time, tell them that you’d love to have them around when they are ready! Giving your foster child the lead will relieve a lot of stress and pressure and help them adjust to their new situation at a comfortable pace.
Fostering is hard, but a positive attitude, patience, and compassion can make it easier for all! Remember these tips to ensure your foster child feels like part of the family.