The holiday season is a time of joy, family, and togetherness for many people. However, it can also be a challenging and emotional time for current and former foster youth. As guardians, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind when celebrating the holidays with foster youth. Here are some important guidelines to consider.
Do: Talk to Foster Youth Before the Holidays Kick Off
Before the festivities begin, it is crucial to have open and honest conversations with foster youth about what to expect during the holidays. Let them know who they will meet, what activities are planned, and any potential changes in routine. Providing them with this information will help alleviate anxiety and ensure a smoother transition into the holiday season.
Don’t: Ignore Their Feelings or Mental Health
The holiday season can bring up a range of conflicting emotions for foster youth. It is essential to acknowledge and validate their feelings. Understand that they may miss their biological families or feel like outsiders. Be supportive and attentive to their mental health needs. Offer resources and professional help if necessary.
Do: Incorporate Their Traditions and Customs
Every family has unique traditions and customs associated with the holidays. When celebrating with foster youth, make an effort to include their traditions and customs in the festivities. It could be as simple as incorporating a special dish or participating in a cultural activity. This inclusion helps foster youth feel valued and accepted.
Don’t: Make Them Feel Unequal or Unwelcome
It is crucial to treat foster youth as equal members of the family during the holiday season. Avoid creating situations where they may feel unequal or unwelcome. This could include unfair gift distribution or excluding them from important family moments. Show them love, acceptance, and support, ensuring they feel like an integral part of the holiday celebration.
Do: Include Their Wider Community
The holiday season often involves a wider community of friends, relatives, and loved ones. Foster youth may benefit from being included in these extended celebrations. Engage them in social activities and encourage connections with relatives and close friends whenever possible. This sense of belonging outside the immediate family can provide additional support and joy during the holidays.
Remember, celebrating the holidays with foster youth requires sensitivity, understanding, and inclusivity. By following these dos and don’ts, you can create a warm and welcoming environment that allows foster youth to experience the joy and togetherness associated with this special time of year. If you want to speak with one of our experts to help navigate the holidays, we’re here for you. Just give us a call.