Fostering a child is an incredible thing to do, and it can be very enriching for you as the foster parent, too. Although you will face challenges just like any parent does, foster children might need some time to get used to their new surroundings and build up their trust in you. As a first-time foster parent, this might make you feel disheartened or worried about whether or not you are doing it right but be patient. If you are feeling nervous about welcoming your first foster child into your home, here are a few tips to remember that might help put you at ease.
Prepare for Their Arrival
You want your foster child to feel welcome in your home so to do this you need to prepare for their arrival. As well as making sure that they have a private bedroom to sleep in, find out what movies they like to watch or which books they love. You can put these things in their bedroom so that they can see you have put thought into their likes and are making the effort. You should also get in some of their favourite foods to have for dinner and speak to any other kids in your household to let them know to share with your foster child and make them feel like part of the family. You can find out more about how to prepare for your foster child’s arrival at thefca.co.uk.
Give Them Space
While giving them a warm welcome is important, if they want to spend some time alone in their bedroom or are quiet with you at first, make sure to give them the space to do this. They need time to process the situation and get comfortable in their new home. This might already be quite overwhelming for them, so remember that it’s OK to take a step back when they need you to.
Check-in with Their Teachers
Another useful tip is to check in with their teachers at school to see how they are getting on. If they are doing well in school, make sure to praise them for their hard work as this kind of positive reinforcement is great for kids and teenagers. Their teachers will also be able to tell you if there are any areas that they might be struggling in, and you can help them with this at home.
Try to Build Good Relationships with Their Birth Parents
Relationship building goes both ways, and your foster child’s birth parents might not want to work with you on this. However, you must go in with an open mind and try not to judge or have any pre-formed opinions of their birth parents when you do meet them. This situation is hard on them as much as it is the child, and everyone has different trials in life to try and overcome. The reason it is important to try and have a positive relationship with your foster child’s birth parents is that this can help the child to feel more comfortable and have a good influence on them. It might not always be possible to do this, every situation is different, but where you can this will make a big difference.
If you’re a first-time foster parent who is feeling a little nervous as well as excited, use the tips above to help you settle into your new role a bit easier and welcome this child into your family.