As a foster parent, welcoming a new child into your home may be an exciting experience. It can also be an overwhelming experience, especially for the foster child. While welcoming a foster child can elicit a range of emotions, these five tips will make the transition easier and will help you build trust in your relationship.
#1: Lay the Groundwork to Build Responsibility and Trust
On arrival day, remember that to this child, you are a stranger. You can work to build a relationship over time, but do not assume the child will automatically trust you. Also keep in mind that it is entirely up to the child to ultimately give their trust. You can build trust with you foster child by:
- Communicating well
- Connecting with them
- Demonstrating patience
When discussing house rules and responsibilities, don’t assume that the child will misbehave. And if they do, address their actions with patience and grace. Focus on making sure the child feels safe in your home and with you.
#2: Don’t Get Uptight About Schedules
Your foster child will likely have different mealtime and bedtime schedules than you or any other children in the household. Don’t expect them to adjust to your schedule right away. If your foster child wants to sleep with music playing or eat at a different time than the rest of your family, let them. Remember that your foster child is a temporary member of your household unless you pursue adoption, so don’t expect them to treat your routines the same way other children in your home would, especially in the beginning.
#3: Find Out What the Child Likes and Dislikes
When getting to know your foster child, it is important to learn about their hobbies and interests. If possible, try to find out what the child likes and dislikes before they arrive. When they arrive at your home, ask them if they have a favorite food, drink, or bathroom product. If they provide an answer, be sure to stock up on a few of the items. Small gestures like these can go a long way in helping your foster teen trust you, and these actions may help make the adjustment process easier.
#4: Talk About School Before Their First Day
Your foster child will be required to enroll in school. If you know anything about the school they will attend, talk to them about what they should expect and ask if they have any concerns. If they have options for different schools they could attend, tell them about each one and ask them what they think.
#5: Don’t Pressure Them to Talk About Their Past
Remember that while this may be an exciting day for you, moving to a foster home can be very stressful and traumatizing for foster kids and teens. Emphasize that you are there to listen if they want to talk, but you should avoid potentially invasive or upsetting questions about their backgrounds or why they were placed in foster care. Focus on getting to know your foster children as people and creating a positive experience for them while they are in your household.
Do you have questions about becoming a foster parent? Call Generational Child Care today: 478-477-1289
Generational Child Care serves foster children from birth up until 21 years old and places them in safe, supportive homes. We also offer assistance, including licensing and training, for prospective foster parents.