If you are a foster parent or a soon-to-be a foster parent, you want to provide the best care possible to the children you foster. Often, if a child is in foster care, it is because they have had traumatic or unfortunate life events. All children deserve caring and loving parents. But, with all they have been through, your foster children will really need your all.
You want to inspire them to overcome the challenges they have faced in their life, so they can grow, develop, and experience success. Below, we have some tips that will help you to be an effective and inspiring foster parent for the child or children in your care.
Make Your Foster Children Feel Like They are Part of Your Family
The first step in becoming an effective foster parent is to make sure that your foster children feel welcome in your home. You want them to feel like they are a member of your family. Before they will arrive at your home, be sure to have their room set up for them. Personalize it with some decorations and their name on the door. If you have other children or other foster children, remind them to be welcoming when your new family member arrives.
It is important to start building a positive relationship right away. Get to know your foster children. Learn about their likes and dislikes. Ask them questions so you can plan activities and meals that they will enjoy. To build a strong relationship, it is also important for you to share information about yourself too. Tell them some of your likes and dislikes. Plan special activities for just the two of you to do together.
Show Empathy and Be Patient
Since it is likely that your foster child has experienced some traumatic events in their past, it is important for you to show empathy and understanding. Coming into a new home and a completely new family is going to be challenging for your foster child. Be patient and give them time to adjust to their new home. It is going to take the time to trust you and be comfortable in their new surroundings.
Communicate Effectively and Be Consistent
It is extremely important that you communicate effectively and set and enforce expectations. Your new foster child needs structure and consistency. Set reasonable rules and stick with them. They are likely not used to structure or consistent parenting, so be prepared for some push-back. But, if you hold your ground and stick with a consistent schedule, your foster child will reap the benefits soon.
Be Willing to Work as a Member of a Team
When you are a foster parent, you are not the only one who is going to be working with the child. You will need to be willing to work with the social worker, doctors, and others who want what is best for the child. Be open to taking suggestions and trying new things that are suggested by these other team members.
Finally, when you are a foster parent, you need to be persistent. Not everything you try with your foster child is going to work the first time you try it. It will often take time to develop a positive relationship, and you will likely go through some rocky times. But, don’t give up! Remember why you decided to be a foster parent in the first place. Think about how much your foster child needs you, even when they are telling you they don’t want anything to do with you. With time and consistency, things will improve.
Being a foster parent is a lot of responsibility and can often be very stressful. But, it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do. You will find such joy in seeing the children in your care blossom and grow as you provide them with the love and support they need. Even if the children you are fostering are only in your care for a short period of time, the influence of the positive relationship will continue to impact both of your lives long after your time together.
Since being a foster parent comes with demands and challenges, you are paid for your time with your foster children. Tahir Khan from PerpetualFostering.co.uk explains that when you are a foster parent, you receive financial compensation for the children in your care. The amount you receive varies based on the ages of the children you are fostering. While this is typically not the primary reason people become foster parents, it does help to alleviate some of the stress associated with being a foster parent. Receiving monetary assistance also helps you provide the best care possible to your foster children.
Being a foster parent definitely has its challenges. But the benefits for both you and your foster children far outweigh any challenges you may face.