The memory of the first time your foster child enters your home will be one that neither one of you will ever forget. With that being said, it is important you have your home prepared and ready for the arrival of the newest member of your family. The more welcoming your home feels, the easier it will be for your foster child to transition. Here are some things you can do to make your foster child feel at home in their new home.
Be sure to prepare a warm welcome for your foster child’s new arrival. During your introductions, make sure your foster child knows they can call you by whatever makes them feel the most comfortable – whether it be “Mr.”/“Mrs.” or “Mom” or “Dad”. Next, try to read your new family member’s body language. Their non-verbal communication will let you know if they are comfortable with holding your hand or hugging. As much as you want to build a bond and reassure your foster child that they are now safe, it is important that you respect their space and do not push too far. If you begin to notice signs that your foster child is a bit uncomfortable, pull back a little. The goal is to make this first day in their new home a positive memory.
A nice addition to the smiling faces upon arrival would be a welcome basket. Confirm with his or her caseworker as to what books, toys or other things may interest him or her the most. A welcome basket will be a pleasant surprise and will show your foster child you were thinking of them.
Make the grand tour a fun bonding experience by allowing your other children (if you have any) to assist with the tour. Implore that all of the same items available to everyone else in the house are also available to your foster child (computers, tv’s, game consoles, etc.).
The finale of the tour should be your foster child’s bedroom. This is another instance where you should take the initiative to ask the caseworker what interests your foster child the most. For example, you can paint the room their favorite color(s), hang up pictures of their favorite band, sports team, or books. Be sure to tell him or her that they are free to rearrange the room if he would like to.
As simple as some of this tips may seem they are sure to make a difference! The transition period for each child is different. What works for one child may not work for another so, patience is key. Just continue to be loving, kind, and a sense of security for them at all times.