How To Be A Foster Parent

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Do you want to know how to be a foster parent? There are more than 407,000 children in foster care, according to the U.S. Child Welfare Information Gateway. If you want to learn more about fostering and foster child adoption, take a look at the do's and don'ts that can help you to navigate this process and become the best parent possible. 

Do Prepare Your Home Ahead of Time

Welcome your foster child to a comfortable, safe space. Clean your home completely before your foster child arrives. Remove clutter and organize each room. This can help you to add more usable square footage to your home. If the child came from a neglect situation, they will appreciate their well-cared-for new home.

Don't Assume You Know the Child's Style 

An older child or teenager may already have a steady sense of style or likes/dislikes that may factor into their bedroom decor. Even though you should prepare a room for the child, don't decorate it completely. Choose a few different color accents or theme options that are age-appropriate. These could include a few different cartoon character bed linens for younger children to choose from or a rainbow of throw pillows, area rugs, or comforters for a teen to pick.

Do Encourage the Child To Join In Family Activities

Do you already have existing family routines, activities, or rituals? Help your foster child to feel comfortable joining in. If you don't already have specific routines or activities, create new ones with the child. Friday night pizza parties, a family movie night, or Sunday afternoon board game family time are easy ideas that can help the child to feel included. 

Don't Force the Child To Express Themselves Right Away

Younger children might not have the words needed to express their emotions and tweens or teens may not feel confiding in new people immediately. Give the child time to adjust to their new surroundings and let them come to you. If they seem reluctant to talk or isolate themselves, let them know that you are there for them. 

Some children in the foster system may have emotional scars, behavioral disorders, or other issues that can make communication and emotional expression challenging. But this doesn't mean that the child will never talk to you or will always keep their feelings to themselves. 

If the child is struggling to express themselves or can't express themselves in a constructive way, talk to the social worker. This professional has extensive experience interacting with foster children.

For more info, contact a company like The Up Center.