We recently asked our Facebook Fans who are foster parents to share their Top 3 Tips for caring for foster children and making them happy and comfortable in their new home. Here’s what they told us:
Give them love, encouragement and time – When caring for foster children, it’s important to understand that it will take them time to get used to living in your home. Coming into care is a traumatic experience; encourage them to talk with you but understand if they’re unwilling or unable to share. By continually being there for them, they will learn to trust you over time.
Give them structure; pay attention; share your love – Foster children may have had to fend for themselves until they came into care. If they were removed from their home for neglect, it is likely that no adult monitored if/when they ate, brushed their teeth, did their homework (if they went to school) or went to bed. Life before foster care was probably filled with uncertainty, so one of the best things you can do when you’re caring for foster children is to give them a routine to follow. Even if you get resistance at first, or have to remind them many, many times to do something, be patient and press on, knowing the structure and predictability will help them feel safe. By paying attention to your children’s likes and dislikes, changes in their behavior, and their thoughts and feelings that they share with you, you can help your foster children feel welcomed and safe, building their self-esteem while helping them cope.
Live what you teach. Mirror their best qualities. Always assume the best. – It can be difficult to be a foster parent, but remember that you are setting the tone every time you interact with the children in your home. When caring for foster children, be sure to be a good example to them in word and deed, and if you make a mistake, admit to it and show them that it’s possible to move forward. Be sure to recognize and acknowledge the good in your foster children, whether it’s their strength, their creativity, their empathy, or just their ability to make you smile, and let them know how much you admire them for it. By mirroring your foster children’s best qualities, you will build a bond between you and will grow as a parent and a person. Children in foster care have been through so much. When they misbehave or act younger (or older) than they are, try to get to the real reason for their actions, rather than just assume they are being uncooperative for its own sake. Eventually, after building trust with your foster children, your assuming the best may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of more confident and happier kids.
Want more foster parents’ top 3 tips for caring for foster children? Have tips of your own that you would like to share? Visit us on Facebook or comment on this post.