The holiday season is the most momentous time of the year as friends and family gather to celebrate and rejoice in the festivities. However, while this time may be full of joy and merriment, it may conjure up conflicting emotions and feelings for those in foster care. As the holiday festivities and traditions may be unfamiliar to foster children, here are a few holiday tips for foster families in order to help a foster child feel more comfortable during the holiday season.
Holiday Tips for Foster Families
Discover and celebrate any of their holiday traditions.
Find out if your child has any holiday traditions. Discuss if they would like to incorporate anything into your traditions. Including their traditions and including them in your traditions helps make them feel included, supported, and validated.
Introduce them to friends and family in advance.
Meeting a large group of friends and family all in one setting can be overwhelming for anyone. But especially for a foster child, walking into a room where everyone knows each other may make them feel left out, shy, or anxious. Try to meet with friends and family in smaller groups prior to the holidays. This will help the child feel more comfortable each time they see your friends and family.
Be mindful of their privacy.
Notify and request that friends and family refrain from asking too many questions in regard to the child’s background and family history. This may bring uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings for the child. When developing a relationship with them, discuss what they feel comfortable sharing and how they would like to be introduced.
Plan for downtime.
The holidays tend to feel like a long chain of gatherings and traveling. Plan to have some downtime and quality time with just you and your foster child. Make sure that they feel comfortable sharing how they are feeling and allow them time to process their feelings.
Help them spread love and joy this season.
Gift-giving is by far the most common tradition during the holiday season. However, children within foster care oftentimes do not get to indulge in gifting to others. The process of gift-giving can be a great building exercise for them as they get to practice decision-making, budgeting, planning, empathy, and ultimately the joy of giving and gratitude.
If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of children in your community, contact us to learn more about becoming a foster care parent and open the door for a child to be able to see his or her choices for life.