If you’re thinking of fostering a child, or are actually somewhat into the process and would simply like more info, we’ve put together some tips for adapting your lifestyle accordingly to help the child settle in with you and your family as smoothly as possible.
They can be big or relatively small things you can do that will make a big difference to the child, and if you haven’t started the process yet, will show the agency how committed and serious you are about the prospect.
Making simple changes to your family’s daily routine
Regardless of your family set-up or your daily routine, it may seem really foreign to the child at first, especially for the first couple of weeks. Therefore you should aim to stick to a routine as much as possible so that they will at least understand what they can expect from life with you at different points. Within the first few days, you should chat with them about what they can expect from life in your household too. This can also add a sense of normality they may otherwise be lacking in.
Simple things like keeping meal times and bed time’s routine is a good idea. You should also aim to find out what sort of things the child likes to eat/do beforehand so you can stock up for them to help them settle in.
Adapting your home to welcome a new child into it
Most companies answer questions regarding home requirements when fostering a child (see here for example www.capstonefostercare.co.uk/can-i-foster/). Generally, the main thing that you will need is a spare room for them to sleep in and have time to themselves in. You should make sure this is a room where they will feel safe and secure, especially at night times which can be an especially unsettling time for some foster children.
Optimising your family’s health and wellbeing
Different agencies will have different rules about certain lifestyle choices when it comes to those who are eligible to foster a child. For example, some won’t accept applicants who smoke, have a particularly unhealthy diet/lifestyle or those with ongoing medical conditions. Therefore optimising your health has never been more important. There’s some useful info on getting healthy here.
Building a support network for yourself and the child
You will not be in the fostering process alone, whether you are a single parent or working in a family unit. As well as the support of others in your life at this time, you will also have lots of help and support from the agency you foster with every step of the way.
Additionally, you could look into joining foster carer support groups to get the chance to engage with those who are going through similar situations to yourself. Stock up on as much info about fostering as possible too so you are familiar with the process at each stage and so you can have a better idea of what to expect throughout it.
Until Next Time… Charlotte x