Fostering is a brilliant thing to do for a child in need. But it’s tough, and you’ll need plenty of support from your family. New foster carers often spend a lot of time preparing their home to welcome a new child, but you also need to prepare the other members of your household, especially any children (be those other foster children or your own) that live with you.
Welcoming another child can be hard for children. They may feel left out, scared, and jealous of the attention that you give the new child. Your own children might worry that you don’t love them enough, or question why you need another child. It can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you prepare your family for fostering.
Talk About What Fostering Means
Sites like thefca.co.uk are a great resource filled with information and guides for both new and experienced foster parents. Make sure you fully understand the role of a foster family, how the process works, and what you should expect, and then talk to your children about it.
If you are speaking to younger children, you may have to simplify things a little, but you should still be honest.
Talk About Why You Want to Foster
Why do you want to foster? For most people, it’s because they have the time, space, and money to help a child in need, and they are keen to do it. Talk to your children about the reasons other children might need your (and their) help and the difference your family could make in other children’s lives. Make sure they understand the important part in this that they can play.
Prepare a Room Together
Children love to help. Ask your child to help you to prepare a room for any future foster children. Let them help you paint and ask them what they think you should include.
Ask for Their Help Choosing Toys and Games
Who knows what games, toys, and books other children like better than their peers? Ask your child if they have any old toys, games, books, and clothes that they’d like to donate, and spend some time with them looking in charity shops for other things they think foster children might like.
Establish Rules Everyone Can Stick to
When we have children of different ages, the rules often need to be slightly different. But they should all have the same basic ideas. Things like set mealtimes, bedtimes, screen limits and other rules might be different for a foster child in their teens than for your young child, but the rules should still exist so that no one is left out or given special attention.
Your child or children might seem ready to foster – they might even enjoy meeting and getting to know a new child. But that doesn’t mean that there might not be any problems in the future. Keep talking to them, keep answering their questions, and keep reassuring them, even when you’ve been fostering for years.
When you foster, you don’t do it alone. You don’t just become a foster parent, you become a foster family. Your children are a big part of this, and if they are well prepared, they can provide fantastic support for a foster child, while gaining wonderful experiences, and making fantastic memories with their foster siblings.
This is a collaborative post, you can read my disclosure policy here.
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