Welcoming a foster child (or children) into your home isn’t as simple as just opening your doors to them – there are a few things you will want to consider before they arrive. Creating a foster house that isn’t only welcoming, but also safe, might seem a bit overwhelming, but there are a few things you can do to achieve this.
Your foster child will be experiencing a whole variety of emotions, from sadness to anxiety. Remember they are coming to stay in a stranger’s home and are probably quite confused as to why they have been removed from their own home. To you, your home is your home, but to a child or young person coming into your care, it will feel foreign and might be difficult for them to settle.
If you have time before your foster child arrives, you might be asking ‘how to welcome a foster child into home?’ We have collected a few practical tips to prepare for their arrival.
Make sure it is clean
Although we don’t expect your foster child will be inspecting your house in the same way an adult would, you will still want to make sure your home is as clean as possible when your foster child arrives. The child or young person is more likely to feel at home if they step into a tiny house, because mess and clutter suggests that the home is chaotic or unstable.
As a foster carer, ensuring a home is warm, clean, and safe is what will help to make your child or young person feel more at home.
Ensure they have a space they can consider theirs
Without a doubt, the most important part of the home for the foster child will be their bedroom. It will be a place they can consider theirs, so they should feel comfortable enough to spend time there. It is likely that your foster child will spend quite some time in their bedrooms in the first few days they are living with you, so they need to feel secure and welcome there.
Although there is no need to completely redecorate their room before they move in, it is important that you do try to add personal touches depending on their interests and age. Young children will want more toys, books and games in their room, whereas a television would probably suit an older child more.
Your foster child’s bedroom needs to be a place for the child to feel relaxed, express themselves and be free to be themselves. Although it will be beneficial for them to build a relationship and spend time with your household and family members, they might feel a little overwhelmed at times; so having a safe haven to escape to is essential.
Find out about their interests and hobbies
Before you can start to personalise their bedroom, it would be a good idea, if you have time, to learn about your foster child’s background and situation. By having a chat with your social worker, you can find out as much as possible about the child coming to live with you before they even arrive.
By asking questions about their character, their interests, their favourite foods, and information about their background, you will get a good idea as to what sort of thing your foster child or young person will want in their space.
Pack away anything fragile or of sentimental value
When looking after younger children, we recommend that you pack away anything fragile or sentimental, to avoid preventable damages. Your home needs to be functional and as welcoming as possible, and the children in your care need to be able to play and feel comfortable, without the fear of breaking anything important. Although you will have to establish house rules, they will feel far more comfortable if they aren’t constantly worried about breaking things.
Remember, foster children will usually have come from broken or unstable homes, so having a space they feel safe and cared for will feel unfamiliar to them. By giving them quality care, love and attention, they will begin to feel at home, but making sure their space feels like their own is essential.
For more advice on how to welcome a foster child into home, you can read more about the things to consider for your first day with a foster child. If you feel as though you could give a child or young person a suitable home, or would like to learn more about foster care, you can get in touch with us on 0800 566 8317 or alternatively you can request a digital brochure today.