As spring approaches and the weather improves; it’s a great opportunity for a fresh start with family relationships. The days get just a little longer and then there’s the fun of spring break to take time for creating family memories. Spending time doing things you both enjoy is a great way to help attachments form with children in your home. Here are some tips for fun spring time activities to do together with children of all ages that can help strengthen family bonds.
Plant a garden together – this is a great way to get out and enjoy the weather and have something to work on together throughout the year. Kids can really take pride seeing something they’ve planted, grow and thrive.
Check out a local zoo – Visiting the animals is always entertaining. Many zoos have special spring break programming available so check out your options.
Pack a picnic to enjoy at a local park – Let the children help you make sandwiches and pick out the spot.
Go fly a kite – many youth in care will not have tried such an old school, family favorite. Show them one of the simple joys in life.
Take a day trip to a nearby location you’ve always wanted to visit – maybe it’s an art museum or new playground across town; get out and explore it together!
Attend a St. Patrick’s Day Parade – A lot of kids love parades and there are many good options to choose from around St. Patrick’s Day. If there are no parades in your area, hold a neighborhood St. Patrick’s Day get together and have the kids help you plan the menu and activities.
Visit the local library – Let the kids pick out some books on spring time holidays such as Easter and St. Patrick’s Day to learn more about the history and traditions of these holidays. Use it as a conversation starter to learn more about the holiday traditions the child has with his/her birth family.
Spend time spring cleaning – with the whole family’s help you can get rid of the old and make room for the new by cleaning out those closets. Plan a garage sale and let the kids earn money by helping out or use the funds raised to go towards a day trip.
There are many more ideas for sharing quality time together as a family that can help to strengthen relationships. The activities don’t have to cost a lot or any money to still make lasting memories. Be sure to take photos and share them when possible with birth families and include in life books or scrapbooks made for the child.
Anne Reicheneker, LMSW
FC Director- Kansas and Nebraska
Shely Weinrich deserves foster parent of the month due to her unconditional compassion and efforts toward the betterment of her foster daughter. Shely has had her current foster daughter in her home for over a year now – the longest period of time this child has remained in a foster home. Shely is interested in adopting her foster daughter and demonstrates her commitment and ability in several ways. First off, Shely attends therapy with her foster daughter three times a month and works with her on skills from her trauma assessment on a daily basis. Shely has also taken a personal interest in in educating herself about childhood trauma, since her foster daughter’s trauma assessment. Second, Shely has established a relationship with her foster daughter’s biological family and even schedules visits with them, in addition to those from the contracting agency. Lastly, Shely is a strong advocate for her foster daughter and does not hesitate to address concerns that have an impact on her. Shely is true example of how a foster parent acts in the best interest of the child and deserves to be recognized for her selflessness and dedication to some of our most vulnerable children.
Between Families Recruitment Moment
Not everyone can be a foster parent. I understand that. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, while at the same time, the most important and rewarding thing I have done, as well. Yet, everyone can help in some way, and there are ways you can help a child in need. So if you have friends and family that are interested in Foster Care, have them contact us but if they just want to help then here are some great ideas. With roughly 450,000 children in foster care today, there are children who are in need of a helping hand right now. There is a child, right now, who needs your help.
Let’s look at 10 ways you can help a child in foster care without being a foster
Become an Advocate
The Importance of CASAs
Bringing Resources to School-Aged Foster Children
Helping Those Who Age Out
A Community Clothes Closet
Suitcases for the Next Journey
Reaching Out Through Respite Care
Help for the Foster Parent
The Power of Prayer
These 10 ideas come from Dr. John DeGarmo who has been a foster parent for 13 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 50 children come through their home. Dr. DeGarmo is the host of the weekly radio program Parent Factors with Dr. John, He can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at his website.
TFI Family Connections is in an active pursuit of finding foster homes for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children, and this concert series was developed to target homes that would be more interested in fostering teenagers, specifically in the Tulsa area as well as Chickasha.
All performances are free for the public.
Additional dates and locations are in the works for March and May, but as of right now – Darrell will be performing:
Friday, February 24th – 7pm
The Bridge Church Bixby (childcare provided by The Bridge Church Bixby)
11929 S. Memorial Drive, Bixby
Don and Renee have been foster parents with TFI for almost a year and a half. The Roberts have six biological children of their own ranging form 14 to 24 and are in the process of adopting two more through foster care. Renee current;y homeschool her children still in the home and plans to do so with future children. They have three children out of college, one in college currently and two in high school whom they homeschool. The Roberts family belongs to a church that puts a high emphasis on fostering, mentoring and adopting so their family has always been surrounded by it and their own six children have grown up knowing fostering and adoption as the accepted norm instead of something different or special. Don was a counselor at Royal Family Kids Camp (a one week camp for foster kids in our country) and some of their children have also worked there in various capacities. Once their children started moving out, it was time to apply to foster. it is the Roberts family greatest joy to know they are making a difference not only in the life of children today but for many lives in the generations to come.
Welcome packets are ready!
Families will begin receiving a welcome packet from TFI when they receive their foster care license from DHHS. This will include the process to have your reimbursement directly deposited into your account, the process to utilize our eplacement system, and some other TFI goodies. Current families will be receiving their packets soon!
A TIPS-MAPP training is beginning in Lexington the week of March 13^th. Please share this information with your friends and family members that might be interested in becoming a foster parent. If you know of someone who would be interested in joining us, please contact 1-877-613-7746 to start the process to get signed up. Don’t forget, anyone you refer to us makes you eligible for a referral bonus.
TFI will be providing an all-day training for our foster parents on Saturday, April 22nd. TFI stall will be there to babysit your children while our foster parents receive this training. Lunch will be provided.
9am-11am: Caring for Children who have Experienced – Trauma provided by Cenpatico
11am-1pm: Behavior Management provided by Cenpatico
1pm-3pm: Promoting Placement Stability provided by Cenpatico
3pm-5pm: Normalcy – a new requirement for all staff and foster parents as per DFPS/CPS provided by TFI
Terry and Deanna Phillips
Kyle and Tara Kaberline
Devin and Jessica Knox
Robert and Sarah Castillo
Roger and Brandy Stanley
Robert and Carrie Boles
Roberto and Bridget Castro
Robert and Rebekah Thomas
Jason and Lauren Weeg
Donico and Natalie Chilton
Andrew and Dottie Bell
Ron and Bryan McCarty/Scott
Howard and Carrie House/Cascarano
Matthew and Hailea Regier
Richard and Champagne Kane
Edward and April Delgado/Silva
Matthew and Melissa Coleman/Spalding-Coleman
Walker and Stephanie Moore/Morton-Moore
TFI has the following grant funding available to assist foster children and foster families. Please speak with your foster care worker for more information:
Derby Community Foundation: gift cards to assist foster youth placed in our Derby, KS foster care homes with basic care items
Pritchett Trust: Funds available to foster children placed in Crawford County, KS for the purchase of musical instruments and music lessons.
Funds for clothing for Oklahoma foster youth placed in Comanche, Cotton, Jackson, Jefferson, Stephens and Tillman County.
6 Ways to Improve Communication with your Foster Child
The following article on 6 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Foster Child is from perpetualfoster.co.uk:
Although there are many other areas to consider, we have concentrated on the following 6 ways that we believe will increase your confidence and effectiveness as a foster parent when communicating with your foster child.
1. Building trust from the start
Preparing your home practically for the arrival of a foster child can be a fantastic way to make a child feel welcome, but it’s also important that the communication that you use during those early stages aims to build trust, as well as security.
Observing their behavior and asking questions about the child’s favorite hobbies, toys, games and sporting activities are two extremely powerful ways of establishing confidence.
2. Remember to give your child a say
We all know that for any parent and child relationship to be fully successful there must be an element of bias to help ensure a sense of discipline.
However, we regularly see that the most successful foster relationships are those that incorporate open forms of communication, with children being able to voice their opinion as they become heavily involved in each decision that is made within the family unit.
3. Praise, and lots of it!
As a foster parent there may be a tendency to focus on overcoming the more negative behaviors that a child may display. Maximizing the amount of praise that you provide for even the smallest of achievements can have a greater impact on their confidence, self-worth and trust for you as a career, than if you were to constantly focus upon dealing with potential problems.
4. It’s wrong to judge
The last thing that a foster child really needs from a loving and caring foster family is to be judged, and although it’s in our character to do so, you should certainly try and avoid it. Having an open mind set that sidesteps the critical remarks is more likely to lead to a happy, healthy and secure foster child.
5. Be a good listener
Some foster children are as a quiet as mice and others are complete chatterboxes, but either way it’s imperative that you’re a good listener. When you listen to a child it shows that you care and that you value their opinions.
Whether or not you agree with their point of view is a different matter, but at this stage children are just looking for someone who they can share their thoughts and feelings with.
6. A smile can make all the difference
Having a huge smile, making eye contact and unfolding your arms are all active ways in which you can portray warmth, positivity and openness when communicating with your foster child.
It is important that communication you use during those early stages aims to build _________.
________________ is an extremely powerful way of establishing confidence in your child.
None of the above
Both a and b
The most successful foster relationships are those that incorporate __________ forms of communication.
Maximizing the amount of _______ that you provide for even the smallest of achievements can have a greater impact on a child’s self-worth, confidence, and trust than focusing on the potential problems.
Avoiding ___________ is more likely to lead to a happy, healthy, and secure child.
When you listen to a child, it shows that you _______.
Want to change them
Aren’t in charge
The following are ways to portray warmth and positivity to child:
Avoid eye contact
Fold your arms
None of the above
Answers: 1) D, 2) D, 3) D, 4) A, 5) B, 6) A, 7) D
TFI Family Services is a private not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing foster care services and care for the children and families in Kansas and Nebraska.