Talk to us about fostering 01722 442 725

What activities can I do with my Foster children to help them feel part of the family?

As we are near the end of  making a decision on whether to foster or not, I have been thinking of how things will be at home day to day. I have been speaking to a woman who fosters and have been talking about routines and how our normal family life may be disrupted once we get a new foster child.

She has reassured me that whilst there can be struggles at times, I will adapt quickly to a new way of life, just as I will when my own children bring new issues to me. I guess that I need to stop stressing about the big stuff and focus on the small things that I can do to integrate the new children into our family.

I can be a little too controlling at times, one of my friend calls me a helicopter parent and although I don’t like labels, I do see how I tend to my children’s every needs. This is not always a bad thing, in my opinion, but it is something that I am aware of as I know that the children we will not be used to spending a lot of time with their parents. I have been thinking about nice things that we can do together in a relaxed way, like watching DVD’s or cooking a meal together so that we can get to know what they like and don’t like.

I remember speaking to Dillon, the foster child of the lady I was talking about, and him saying that he used to just stay in his room and did not want to get involved in things. He did say he changed over time so I know I am going to have to be patient.

It is sensible that Lisa is thinking ahead of what family life will be like when and if they begin to foster. It is also reassuring that she is evaluating her own actions, acknowledging the fact that she will need to adapt in terms of her protective parenting style. Putting too much pressure on children to do activities they are wary off can lead to more anxiety. It is important remember that if children have come from a home where they have been neglected by their parents or have come from a residential home then their room will be their solace where they can get away from it all. So, like Dillon, it may take time for you to prise children away from their room to take part in family activities.

Ideas such as watching DVD’s or making dinner together are great as children can put as little or as much effort in as they want to with no pressure and there issure to be some common ground. When it comes to food, it is also worth noting that children who have come from a background of neglect may have a difficult relationship with food in terms of nutrition, so try not to put too much pressure on eating exactly what your family eat straightaway.

Whilst there are small things that I think we can handle well, the big things like controlling bedtimes or making sure the children do their homework may be more of a challenge for us, well for me anyway.

The foster mum I was speaking to admitted that bedtime was often the hardest part of introducing another child to her home. If we get older children then a normal bath, story, tuck in bed routine will not be applicable so I am worried about making sure they get enough sleep and do not disturb my children too much. Again, bedtime problems and homework issues are things that every parent goes through so I know I will not be on my own, I may just need the added support
from the foster agency and case workers.

Overall, I think that all of my family need to be open minded about what activities we can do together and how to integrate routines etc and if all else fails then we can just get the X box out everyday, ha ha!

Lisa has hit the nail on the head again, she will be experiencing issues that all parents go through and if you take that outlook then you will not put extra pressures to be the perfect foster parent. Of course, there will be added difficulties with some foster children but the more natural and relaxed you are the more likely that you will form a natural bond with your foster children. In terms of bedtime routines, this could be something completely alien to some children as they have come from a home where they can either do what they want or have no sense of relaxation and wind down time.

Be mindful of any history of sexual abuse when it comes to bedtime, particularly when entering their bedroom as part of a bedtime routine. You will notice the anxiety and of course you will get expert support on how to deal with these issues.

I love the way Lisa laughs about the Xbox, you should not let humour leave you! Regardless of a child’s age, getting to know each other through play is essential, whether that be art projects, sensory play, sports or competing at Angry Bird. Allowing a relationship to grow in a fun and organic way will help build trust so you can then explore the deeper issues, such as are they really avoiding homework as they are struggling to read.

The best advice I have had so far is that being creative as possible is key as is being a good role model. In doing both of these things I can allow children the time, space and input into becoming accustomed with their new home.

Enquire Today

Do you feel you have the energy and true commitment to make a positive difference to a child’s or young person’s life?

Get in Touch
Request a Call