When young people come into care or move from one foster home to another, it can be extremely daunting and traumatic.
Here we offer some tips to help foster children settle into your home.
Before a child is placed in foster care, they will be given information about their new home and family. The only exception is in cases of emergency foster care, when there simply isn’t enough time to offer the child so much information. Many children also visit their future foster carers prior to moving in and are given the option to express their views about their potential new home.
Though this can help many children to settle, all children cope differently with coming into foster care or being placed in a new home. As a foster carer, there are a number of steps and adjustments that can be made in order for children to smoothly transition into your home.
It is very important for foster carers to be friendly and approachable upon meeting their foster child. Big smiles and a positive body language can instantly make children feel more welcome. If you are fostering a child of a young age, kneel down to meet them at eye level. They’ll see you as more of an equal who they can learn to love and trust.
Read your foster child’s body language and give them a hug upon meeting if you think it’s appropriate to do so. It will show your affection and sensitivity towards them. They may still see you as a stranger, so be aware of their reactions. Trust is more likely to build steadily if you create a warm and welcoming environment from the get-go.
Rules & Routines
Rules and routines are common in most households, so they will help to create a sense of normality. Try not to be forceful with rules, instead try to be as clear as possible. Some children will have issues with adjusting to rules and routines, so always be understanding of their pasts and why they might feel this way. It’s important to remember that your foster child may be too nervous or shy to ask questions, so cover all areas of any rules and routines you are putting in place. Keeping the house running as you would normally will create a relaxed atmosphere.
Patience is a Virtue
No two young people are the same and the amount of time it takes them to adjust is completely unknown. Previous circumstances can play a huge role in how long it takes a child to settle, with children who have had multiple foster families often taking longer to feel at home. The first few weeks living with your foster child will be the most difficult, especially for children who find it hard to retain information. Carers shouldn’t be afraid to repeat themselves or ask children what can be done to make them feel more relaxed and comfortable.
If you’re new to fostering and want to find out more about Little Acorns or you are currently a foster carer but want to find out about transferring to us, we can help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team by visiting our contact page or giving us a call on 01440 732010.