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What are your tips and tricks for welcoming a new child into your home and making their transition as easy on them as possible?
Ask what their Routine is before hand.
Cook favorite meal or ' Kid Friendly ' meal.
Go Shopping !!!
Do something as a ' Surprise '.
Do something Together as a Family either ' quiet or loud . '
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I think it's important to help them settle into a routine as soon as possible. Children thrive off a routine, and foster kids often don't get much of it. Walk them through their day and stay consistent.
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If switching or changing schools. I would walk them through the playgrounds and the hallways of the schools and possibly meet Teachers and the School Principal prior to starting...
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Making a guide book to your home is often well received. Preparing for our placements, we made two books. One was a general welcome book and the other was a guide book to all the wildlife and animals, with care sheets, introduction and explanations. We tried to do a real mythical/explorer/Newt Scamander theme to the whole thing, make it really fun. I recommend making some of the books online for extra affect.
Another cool idea is the first couple of nights to just take it easy and get to know each other. These kids are having really busy times in their lives and the stress can be overwhelming. Just taking some time to relax and get to know their surroundings can be a huge relief.
One activity we prepare in line of our "guides" is a fill out section where they tell us stuff we want to know about them, such as favorite foods, color, animals, etc. Things they want to do with their lives. We also do a bucket list of things we want to see or do sometime in our lives, which opens up the table to future family outings. You get a feel for what the kid has or has not done; you may find out some "obvious" things like going to a zoo or bowling are foreign to them.
When first getting a placement, a welcome basket is always a nice little plus. When designing our foster room, we also opted to have all the beds have a "privacy" or "enclosure" mechanism. For the bunk beds, a curtain with rod was all it took. We want to build a "treehouse loft" bed one day. There are also privacy tents for college kids that work. This is especially useful for kids who have to share rooms. Imagine having your world end and then being stuck having to entertain a stranger sleeping only a couple feet next to them? It can develop awkwardness or even bad habits. Kids who get overwhelmed or tired pass their breaking point can start to learn to just "lash out" to obtain privacy, or burrow into themselves.
For a final idea, we have a shed that we store all our foster kid supplies into, besides the basic furniture that stays in the room. There are a bunch of different tote boxes that allow everything to be easily categorized, from clothing and toys to extra furniture and cool decorations. For example, we have totes for toys that are labeled, "Dinosaurs Toys," "Little Pet Shop" "Horses," "Dolls," "Trucks," or "Superheroes." We also keep totes with specific bedroom themes based off of interest, so a kid interested in a space themed room can take out the "space box." The foster kid can come in and pick which totes he or she wants in their room, that way it is unique every time and they aren't overloaded with a bunch of stuff that doesn't feel theirs. For people new to fostering, start with something very basic and shop around your placement's interest. With each new placement, you'll eventually gather a large range of cool stuff to tailor all the different personalities that will come through your way.
Hope you enjoy some of the ideas we loved, good luck in your journey to foster!
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