What to Do When Your Foster Child Regresses

Many foster children are showing signs of regression in these days of COVID-19. While any child can be vulnerable to losing ground developmentally due to stress, the situation may be especially challenging for foster care families. Here are some suggestions to help you through.  If you and your foster child have been excited and proud of the progress you’ve achieved together, it might hurt to feel like you’re losing your way. Take heart. Regression due to an external event like the pandemic is likely to be temporary. Plus, when you understand what your foster child is going through, you can help them deal with the changes and upsets in their life.

What to Do When Your Foster Child Regresses

Offer reassurance.

Maybe your foster child is getting up scared during the night after months of sleeping peacefully until the morning alarm rings. Maybe they’re having accidents now long after you thought your foster care family was through with toilet training. Keep in mind that strict discipline or setting expectations your foster child can’t meet won’t work. What they’re telling you is that they’re overwhelmed, and they need your support and comfort.

Focus on solutions.

Be careful not to say anything that could sound judgemental or dismissive. Your foster child may already feel like they’re failing. Stay calm while you address the situation together. Depending on your foster child’s age, they may be able to help clean up after bathroom accidents or stay in their bed as long as you put on a night light and check on them occasionally.

Take care of yourself.

Of course, you’re probably under stress too. Make healthy choices and ask your foster care agency and other resources for the support you need. Taking care of your needs gives you the strength to care for your foster family.

TFI Oklahoma is a licensed Child Placing Agency by the State of Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Contact us if you’re interested in becoming a foster parent or looking for other ways to help vulnerable children and families in our area.