Foster parents play a vital role in the lives of foster children. They provide a safe, loving environment, essential for children adjusting to life in a new home. The first few days with a new foster family can be difficult for both the child and the family. It can take time to get used to each other, but you must talk openly with your foster child, so they will know how much they are appreciated and loved. Here are some ways you can help your foster child adjust to foster care:
1. Build Trust
The best way to build trust is by being honest and respectful from the start. Foster children often have difficulty trusting adults due to past experiences. But if you’re open and honest about what will be expected of them, they’ll learn that they can trust you.
2. Be Patient
Foster children have often been through many changes in their lives, so be patient if your foster child seems hesitant about adjusting at first. Give them time to get used to things before expecting too much from them right away.
3. Let Them Know You Are There for Them
Foster parents should offer support and encouragement right away so that children feel comfortable sharing their feelings and concerns with them.
4. Set Ground Rules and Boundaries Early On
Before the child moves in with you, talk about rules, such as curfews, cell phone usage, chores, and behavior expectations. It will help prevent conflict when there is confusion about what is permitted and what isn’t permitted in your home.
5. Encourage Them to Talk About Their Past Experiences and Feelings
Sharing experiences helps your foster children get comfortable discussing sensitive topics like abuse or neglect with you instead of keeping things bottled up inside. Listen carefully to what the child is saying, even if it’s hard to hear. Letting your foster children know that you heard them helps them feel more comfortable with expressing themselves in future conversations.
When a child is placed in foster care, it can be a challenging time for them and the family they are placed with. Most foster parents simply do not know where to start. We at TFI Family Services are here to support you through every step.
Contact us to learn more about helping your foster child adjust to foster care.