You are probably feeling a mixture of anticipation and trepidation while waiting for your first foster child to arrive. However, getting your home ready for your foster child can go a long way to easing your fears and remind you that this new addition to the family will have a lot more anxiety to deal with. We provide a guide on preparing your home for your foster child to make them feel welcome and part of the family from the beginning.
Provide an Orderly Environment
With all the emotions your foster child is likely to be feeling when they step into their new home, they should be entering a place of calm and order. Your home should be clean and neat, but not sterile. Foster kids should know that they are free to enjoy the whole house and not be restricted to their bedrooms. Place some age-appropriate activities in all the family rooms and point these out so that they have some things to look forward to.
The bedroom is the most important space for a foster child. It’s a requirement that they are given their own bedroom and told that they can shut the door when they want privacy. An abused child needs to know that he or she will be safe. When your foster child becomes overwhelmed in the early weeks, they will appreciate being able to withdraw from interacting whenever they feel the need.
Make sure the bed is in excellent condition, has good springs, and is a suitable size for the child’s age. Provide a desk and chair, a bedside table, a mirror or dressing table, and a television. If the social worker confirms that it is okay for the child to be in contact with biological family members you can give them a desktop or tablet to use.
Younger children will appreciate storybooks and colouring books and crayons. You can provide a couple of video games and magazines for older children. Don’t overdo these as the child needs to make the space their own. Welcome your foster child with an appropriate gift.
Prepare a comprehensive package of necessities. This should include a toothbrush and toothpaste, hand and bath soap, shower gel or bubble bath, tissues, hairbrush and comb, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, and sanitary items for girls. Make sure your foster child knows where to find toilet paper. Although you should wait to go clothes shopping with your foster child to pick out their clothes for themselves, provide some underwear, socks, plain t-shirts, pj’s, and some towels.
Make Use Of Your Support Network
The thefca.co.uk agency has a host of support people available to you and your foster child. Don’t be afraid to reach out with questions when you feel uncertain. If your foster child is going through a difficult patch, get the social worker to visit them. Don’t sit in on these meetings. Give the child the chance to express themselves freely without wondering about hurting your feelings.
Enlist the help of your biological children in helping the child to settle in. Depending on the age difference, get them to include your foster child in activities. Don’t pressurise them as it is also an adjustment for them. Here are some tips on preparing your kids for the new arrival.
Make the first night as relaxed as possible with takeaways, letting them choose what they want to eat, and a family movie.