Over time, your experience as a foster parent will turn you into a capable, resilient person who can provide many children with a comfortable and enjoyable experience at your home. That doesn’t always happen right away, though. While you might go into fostering with the best intentions, your first experience with a foster kid might be challenging for you. To help you get it right in the beginning, use these tips for first-time foster parents.
Hold No Expectations
The kids that you foster won’t ever be the same. One kid might be shy and polite, while another might throw five tantrums a day. You won’t know who you will be fostering next, so it is crucial to hold no expectations, no matter how wonderful your last foster kid was. Understand that emotional outbursts are likely nothing to do with you but rather the challenges the child has faced in the past.
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Prepare a Comfortable Bedroom
Before your first arrival, it’s important to prepare a comfortable bedroom for your new foster kid. It is essential because it provides the child with a safe space for them to relax and settle in on their own, depending on their age. The more comfortable you make it, the more welcome they will feel. Don’t forget to provide plenty of storage!
Establish a Routine
What a lot of vulnerable kids need is a routine, especially when their life has suddenly been overturned. Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day, and establish when your foster kid will play, go to school, and do homework. This sense of normalcy will help both of you.
Have Family Rules
You will naturally feel empathy for the foster kids you take into your home, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid discipline. They should grow up with a good sense of what is right and wrong, so establish family rules early on and stick to them. In the end, the foster kids will likely respect you more for doing so.
Ask for Help and Advice When Needed
It’s OK to struggle, especially in the early days. It would be best if you didn’t bottle it up, though. If you struggle with managing a troubled child or helping a kid with homework, don’t hesitate to reach out to your social worker or friends and family for advice or help. You can bring any concerns up in your meetings with social workers, so don’t miss that opportunity.
Get Them a Gift
Giving your new foster kid a gift is a great way to break the ice. Try to get something useful and thoughtful – a notebook, backpack, or book would work well. After receiving a gift, your new foster kid will feel far more welcome in your home.
Being a first-time foster parent is both scary and exciting. You never know what adventures are around the corner! Use these tips, and you and your foster kids will have a better time together.