Being a child in the foster care system comes with many challenges and responsibilities. It is important for foster parents to try their hardest to make children feel loved and included no matter how long the stay. Knowing how to properly show love to your foster child can be difficult and confusing, as they may not show emotions in the same way or reciprocate the emotion. Here are our top three tips for making your foster child feel loved and cared for.
1. Remember Holidays and Birthdays
If you are lucky enough to foster a child around any major holiday or even their birthday, make sure you do all you can to celebrate. Even the smallest of celebrations are more than likely better than they have ever had. Something as small as cooking their favorite meal or buying them some new sneakers can help them feel the love. Need a budget-friendly activity? Plan a movie night or family game night to celebrate. These are activities that we may often take for granted, but that your foster child may have never experienced.
2. Personalize Their Space
Many foster families and foster homes see many children every year. This can cause the spare bedrooms or guest areas that they end up in to lack personality or uniqueness. Consider letting them pick out a new blanket, poster to hang, or even a new wall color. Small but easy changes like these can make foster children feel more comfortable in the space and start to feel at home around you and your family.
3. Stock the House with Their Favorites
It is important to get to know your foster child. Ask them questions like what their favorite drinks or snacks are, what kind of dinners they like, or what some of their favorite games are. Even having the right shampoo or personal hygiene products can make a huge difference in their experience. Along with these everyday items, ask them things like their favorite colors, sports, characters, etc. and, if you are able, have a few surprises for them that they can take with them wherever they go.
These are just some of the many ways you can make a foster child feel special and included. It is important to remember that someone who is in the foster care system often has had everything they know turned upside down. Any sense of normalcy you can provide for them is much appreciated. Going that extra mile is sure to make a difference in a child’s life. If you have any questions about starting the foster care journey, please feel free to reach out! We would love to chat with you.