Never knowing the real history of a child can create a sense of helplessness when it comes to fostering them. Clearly, one of the greatest challenges for foster parents is to find a balance between comforting them and providing them with a safe and secure environment so they can feel that they belong.
While it may be tempting to give them everything they need, there are possibly even more important (and surprising) things you can do to help them feel welcome in their new environment. Once you have introduced yourself to your foster child and gotten them settled in, here are some additional tips to ensuring they feel they are where they belong.
Children need structure but those in foster care, often have done without the type of structure that provides feelings of safety and security. When they are aware of the rules, this gives them a sense of knowing what to expect. It may seem counterintuitive but being clear about what your rules are, helps them to adjust appropriately.
Set Up Chores
Research shows that children who participate in regular chores “have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.” While this is compelling enough, it’s also worth mentioning that children who participate in the running of the home – whether it be washing dishes or watering the plants – have more of a sense of meaning within the home because they are contributing.
It’s always a blessing to be recognized for the good we do and foster children need recognition. When they are admired for the things they contribute, it helps to solidify expectations. Further, it makes them feel safer since they know what is expected based on your feedback.
Ask What They Would Like to Do
Feeling like their favorite things are important to you, will help them to feel welcome. Rewarding good behavior by asking what activities they would like to do is another way of reinforcing their positive behaviors.
Find More Ways to Make Foster Children Feel Safe and Welcome
While instituting rules and chores may not feel nurturing, it is. In fact, it’s powerful in helping children by providing structure and routine. These are things that these children will carry with them through the rest of their lives. Contact us today if you are interested in fostering a special child.