First impressions are vital. Be it for business deals or dates or even establishing a good relationship with your foster children; making the proper impression on your very first day together makes a huge difference. This is particularly true if your foster child is very young. If you are expecting to have a temporary member in your home sometime soon, and want to make their first day with you a good one, then here are a few tips and suggestions for you…
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- Help your home feel more welcome – about the time you are expecting your foster child to arrive at home, pop something delicious into the oven. It could be cookies or even bread. The delicious homey smell might help them feel more comfortable and less scared.
- Make yourself unthreatening – smile. Not like a maniac, or in that annoyingly sympathetic way…but as you would with your own child. If they are very young, squat down to their height so you don’t appear large and threatening. Be pleasant, but keep your distance when it comes to touch. This means you shouldn’t try to hug them on their very first day.
- Offer them a snack to eat – they might have traveled for long, or might have been too nervous to eat; meaning they might be hungry. Most foster parents know that kids as such won’t ask for things easily, even for food. So, you need to be observant too.
- Show them their room – even preschoolers like knowing where they are supposed to be sleeping. Show them around your home and their room. Let them know where they can keep their things. If you have other kids, introduce them to them. Even your family pet needs a formal introduction!
- Let them explore your home – foster care in Sydney is not east; for either party. It may be awkward for the first few days at the very least. Give them free reign over exploring your home and garden. If they are very young, they may have to do this under your supervision.
- Don’t bring up their parents – there are many reason for why the children might have been involved in this program. So, it’s always best if you could avoid mentioning their “other” parents. You may upset the child, or worse, if they had been abused, even send them into a panic attack. If you have to mention them, do so cautiously…gently easing into the topic. Better yet, wait for the child to mention them by herself.
- Take things easy – if they are old enough to understand rules, then it’s best talking to them about what they can do, and cannot in your household. However, you needn’t do so on the very first day. Let them settle in for the night, and perhaps the week. This will give you both enough time to get a “feel” of each other…