Helping Your Foster Child To Get Settled In
Fostering a child at one of the most vulnerable and daunting times of their life can help to make a difference. It can be hard for a child or young person when first coming to your home and meeting you for the first time, it can be a daunting and scary and unknown process. When the child or young person comes to your home, it is important to help them settle in as soon as possible to ensure that they can have a positive and beneficial time with you.
Get to know about the child or young person beforehand: Get to know more about the child or young person that is coming into your care before, ask their social worker more about them, if they have a nickname that they prefer to be called, any fears they may have, if they have any hobbies, their likes and dislikes. This will help you to feel prepared before the placement begins. Something else to consider, may be to prepare their favourite meal on their arrival, this may help them to feel more settled in and it gives a warm welcoming start.
Take time: It can be a very overwhelming process when a foster child or young person first arrives at your home, a new environment and different surroundings, give them a chance to settle in. It may be a good idea to first show them to their bedroom, this is so they know where there safe place is when they want some time out. Introduce them to more family members over time, when they become more comfortable in their new home environment.
Fun plans: Create fun plans that you and your foster child or young person can do together or as a family. This will help you to bond and will help the foster child or young person to feel more comfortable with you. One great fun plan you could do together which could help for your placement to feel more settled in is to let them design their room, let them make it personal to them. You could take them on a shopping trip, or look through a magazine together to get some ideas. Children may bring their favourite toys, pictures and other items with them that they want to keep in their room.
Approachable: Being approachable and open is an important consideration when planning to welcome a foster child or young person into your home. Let them know that they can talk to you about anything, if they are having any troubles, let them know they can always be honest with you. This will help them to feel more comfortable when settling in.
Routine: Create a routine for the child or young person in your care, depending on their age will depend on the boundaries that you set. For a younger child you may consider setting a bedtime routine. For a child slightly older when setting rules and boundaries you may be more flexible depending on their age. To take into consideration, it may be hard for your foster child or young person to follow new rules, they may not be used to them. So take time and be patient and allow for some mistakes as the begin to adjust.