Are you preparing to welcome a foster child into your home? Maybe they have already arrived and you’re in the initial settling-in phase. There is a lot for kids to take in and learn about their new home, and part of that will be the routine that they’ll need to follow. This can be easier said than done, especially if the child isn’t used to living with structure. Add to that the fact that kids can be quite scared and nervous moving into foster care and you’ve got many variables to juggle.
Here are some simple tips you can use that will help your foster child seamlessly adapt to their new routine.
Discuss the Routine and What Your Expectations Are
When your foster child arrives they will have no idea what a typical school day, weeknight or weekend looks like in your home. They may not have even a routine in their previous home, so you can’t make any assumptions. It’s wise to have a conversation about the importance of routines, what your expectations are and allow them to ask any questions they may have.
Put the Routine Down in Writing
While it’s important to discuss the routine and what the expectations of them are, it’s an awful lot for a child to absorb. Even if you’ve welcomed a teen into your home, it’s still a lot to remember and be mindful of. This is why it’s a good idea to put the routine down in writing.
A great way to display the routine is with a whiteboard you can put in the main area of the house, such as a kitchen. You can even download a family scheduling app or buy them a daily planner that they can write in if they are old enough to use one. Seeing what’s happening now and in the coming days/weeks will help them to feel more organised and comfortable in their new surroundings.
Is Your Child Having a Hard Time Adapting? Reach Out for Support
So, what happens if you’ve used these tips and your child is still struggling to adapt to the routine and feel comfortable in their new home and life? Foster care agencies/services such as Foster Care Associates often offer support to parents and kids. They don’t expect you to just figure everything out on your own, they are there to help. There may be support in terms of team parenting, therapy, education and more. It’s best to ask so you can see what you’re eligible for.
You Need to Show Some Flexibility
As important as a routine is for your home and the well-being of your foster child, some flexibility may be required. If they are having a really tough time, speak to them, and ask them what is causing them the most trouble and stress. Perhaps there are things you can change within the routine that makes things smoother for them.
Hopefully these tips will enable new foster parents to help the child they have welcomed into their home adjust to a new routine.