How to Help Foster Children Adjust to a New Home

How to Help Foster Children Adjust to a New Home

Taking on a foster child and welcoming them into your family is an enormously kind and selfless thing to do. However, it also involves major life changes and requires dedication to meet the child’s needs. Before jumping in, carefully contemplate if you can realistically provide the care, time and emotional availability fostering demands. Speak to other foster carers, be honest about any hesitations, and don’t feel guilty if you decide it isn’t feasible right now.

Understand the Difficulties You Face

If you do begin the rewarding journey of fostering, understand that some children enter care having faced trauma on some level. Even those who seem well-adjusted may be grieving the loss of family and dealing with disruption and uncertainty. With sensitivity and compassion, you can help ease their transition. Creating safety, continuity and nurturing relationships is key.

Be Patient and Implement Routines

Initially, the child may seem shy, withdrawn or defiant as they adjust to unfamiliar people and surroundings. Remain patient and keep daily routines consistent even if they resist rules or push boundaries. Children coming into foster care may expect rejection and abandonment, so persist in demonstrating your care and reassurance. 

Open the Channels of Communication

Communication is very important with children, especially foster children who may not feel as secure as your birth children. Give them space to express fears and feelings. Actively listen without judgement and empathise with how confusing or painful this must be. Avoid labelling them as “bad” or making comparisons. Over time, as trust grows, underlying emotions often emerge. Continue addressing issues gently and involving support services like counsellors. 

Help them maintain a sense of identity by keeping sentimental belongings safe. The aim is always to return a child to their birth family once the parent can meet their needs, but even if reunification isn’t possible, speaking positively about birth parents can bring comfort. Respect cultural traditions they enjoyed before or explore new activities bonding your family. Find out their interests to engage them. Building rapport with a foster child will ease anxiety. 

Prepare a Comfortable Bedroom

Additionally, prepare your home thoughtfully before the child arrives. Set up their bedroom in a way that makes them feel safe. Ensure they have privacy when needed. Discuss house rules and expectations in a warm, supportive way. Clarify how your family shows affection appropriately. 

Introduce changes step-by-step when feasible. Accompany them on first school visits to meet staff and classmates beforehand. Arrange playdates welcoming new friends. Check how they are adjusting regularly, praising any progress. Advocate for any support services that could help them thrive. 

Providing the gift of stability, security and compassion makes an immeasurable difference for vulnerable children. With dedication and awareness, foster families transform lives one child at a time. If you are considering this path, reflect deeply on what is involved, such as how much does fostering pay, so you can better manage your budget. Then move forward with an open heart and the wish to selflessly love any child welcomed as your own.

Fostering is hugely rewarding, and the benefits far outweigh any negative aspects. If you think this is the right path for you, contact your local fostering agency to find out more. 


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