When a child first comes into your home, everything is new and unfamiliar to them. As their foster carer, focus first on building a bond and helping them feel comfortable.
Building Trust and Connection
Spend quality one-on-one time talking or doing an activity together to get to know them. Listen without judgement and reassure them that it’s okay to feel nervous or unsure. Avoid overloading them with too much stimulation – quiet time bonding is key.
Introduce routines like regular meal times, bedtimes, etc to create a sense of stability. Consistency enables children to settle and builds trust that you will care for their basic needs.
Supporting Your Foster Child During Challenging Times
Children coming into foster care with Orange Grove Foster Care may exhibit big emotions and reactions rooted in prior traumatic experiences. As their survival response kicks in, they have difficulty regulating emotions and making good decisions.
Stay patient and calmly help them process difficult feelings. Talk them through anxious moments and provide caring support. Avoid conflict or discipline; instead, resolve issues through open communication and empathy. Reinforce positively whenever possible.
Over time and with support, foster children can heal, build resilience and develop vital life skills. Meeting them where they are at developmentally and addressing behavioural issues with care is the best path.
Making Your Foster Child Feel Part of the Family
While each case is unique, the foster agency will take your own children into consideration while matching you with a child. Welcome your foster child into your family by involving them in usual activities like meals, play, chores, etc.
Give your foster child space in the home to keep special belongings so they feel comfortable and have a space to call their own.
Encourage relationships between them and your children by designating special time for them to bond. Shared activities like baking, crafts or day trips help foster children feel included and loved.
Reassure your children that welcoming a foster child into your home doesn’t mean less love and attention for them. Explain how their friendship and acceptance helps the foster child feel happy, secure and hopeful.
Preserving Connections Where Possible
Foster children benefit from maintaining relationships with siblings and significant people in their lives pre-placement. Discuss with your supervising social worker what connections should be preserved for the child’s wellbeing.
Where appropriate, facilitate phone calls, online messages or face-to-face meetups with the child’s loved ones. This continuity boosts their self-worth and counters feelings of abandonment.
If the relationships are unhealthy, work sensitively with the agencies involved to help the child process this. Some ties may need to be limited or ended, but this should be handled with great care by trained professionals.
Working as a Team for the Best Interests of the Child
Foster caring does not need to feel solitary. Take full advantage of available support systems, from your supervising social worker to online forums with fellow carers.
Be proactive and keep all parties updated on how the child is adjusting, including their strengths and wins as well as challenges. Refresh your training whenever possible.
Stay solution-focused in challenging times. With professional support, therapeutic tools, care and encouragement, even the most vulnerable child can go on to thrive.