Being a first-time foster family can be a hopeful, but stressful process. To the child, it can be even more dramatic, disorienting, scary, or even traumatic. Finding ways to help your foster child to transition to your household is an important step to ensure they feel relaxed and secure.
This should be one of your biggest priorities with welcoming a foster child into your home.
What Can You Do?
The NYU medical center gives some tips to help you ensure the least amount of stress on your foster child while transitioning.
One such tip is to recognize that the child is likely to be confused and distressed, which can hinder their ability to effectively process information. What this means is they may need some things to be repeated to them in simple, clear language so that the child can thoroughly process what’s happening to them. Answer the child’s question entirely, with context to help them understand where they are and why.
Another includes encouraging the child to express what makes them feel comfortable. In such stressful situations, the child may not be trusting of you or those in the system. Trying to engage them in a way to understand what they need will not only help you address their needs but will also allow them to feel comfortable and a sense of control as an extension of being heard.
Further, try to inform yourself about the history of the child so that you can better contextualize some of their behaviors such as hostility or withdrawal. This way, you are better equipped to respond to such behaviors while understanding the child is not just being naughty or the like.
Finally, it is suggested that you and those who come in contact with the foster child keep a relaxed attitude. As children pick up on others’ dispositions, this is important to help the child feel secure and safe.
If you want to learn more, contact us. We are always ready to help parents and families in Oklahoma.