Guest Post: things to do one your foster childs first day with you

Welcoming a foster child into your home will be such a wonderful experience that will benefit not only them but you and your family, too. However, first days of anything can be a little daunting, let alone something that is so important and delicate. Therefore you are no doubt anxious to make the first day – and first impressions – of yourself, your family and your home go well so that the child feels happy and secure.

We have put together a few things that we think will help so that you can all try and relax a bit more and have a special day.

Introduce yourself and your family

This one may seem a little obvious, but a thorough introduction of yourself and any family members that live in your home will make them feel included and will help make them feel secure as they will all be strangers to them. Be sure to tell them when each member will be in and out of the house too so that they begin to understand the family routine and the fact that they’ll never be left alone or neglected. Keep things light hearted with fun facts and hobbies that are important to the people in your family, and don’t forget to involve pets, too!

Give them a tour of your home

This is not only essential for helping them to get a feel for their new environment but also for helping them to feel safe. You can also use it to learn more about them, too. For example, show them to the kitchen and ask them about their favourite foods (and what they don’t like!) and make sure they’re aware that there is always food available if they are hungry and that they are free to help themselves. When showing them their bedroom, reiterate the fact that it is their own personal space where they will be safe and comfortable, which no one else will have access to without their permission. (You could also fit in ground rules regarding bed times if they are quite young).

Get to know them

Companies like Capstone Foster Care will agree that the best way to help a child feel comfortable in your home is if all family members sit down informally and just have a chat over a drink and snack or over dinner. Avoid discussing things like house rules and chores in the first day – keep things fun and light hearted.

Give them some time alone in their room to adjust

It will be a very overwhelming day for them (and you!) so a little time alone in their room may be a good idea for them, even if it’s just whilst you make dinner, for example. This will give them some time to unwind and access their new bedroom. The bedroom may be a sensitive space for those who have suffered from abuse, so it’s essential that they feel they can relax and be safe in their new one. You could add little details like a notice board with their name on to show that you’ve thought about them before they moved in, and to reinstate the fact that it’s their room.

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