Approaching The Christmas Season As A Foster Carer
We’ve previously shared our thoughts on how best to provide foster children with a new home for Christmas, with some thoughts and advice on how to ease the child’s transition. Hopefully we also highlighted how important this season of hope is for children in care.
This time we’ll go into more depth as to why this time of year, in particular, can be a complicated one for foster children moving between placements. The focus here is on encouraging the ideal approach from close family members. As mentioned last time, two things jumped out of the discussion: the importance of both communication and striking a balance.
There’s No Such Thing As Over-Communication
Navigating this festive season so that everyone is happy is dependent on communication. With your own family, communicate your thoughts, listen to theirs, and ensure everyone collaborates to create an atmosphere conducive to a positive placement. This coordinated approach will pay dividends, but if you’re new to fostering, it will require concerted attention and time. Naturally, the need for collective effort will lessen with time.
Leading on from that, opening a dialogue with the foster child is just as important. As an example, taking into account where the child wants to spend Christmas day itself is key; no one is better placed to tell you what they hope for than the children themselves. Even if your hands are tied, and the decision about where they spend the big day doesn’t ultimately rest with you, it’s crucial to let them know about the logistics in advance. This might seem like insignificant detail, but put yourself in the shoes of the child: this factor could shape their entire experience of Christmas for that given year.
Striking the Balance
Hopefully this makes it clear that communication should be conscientious, thorough and tactful, which leads nicely into the overall balancing act, i.e. balancing the needs of the foster child as evenly as possible with those of your immediate family. A definite positive is, that if you get the communication stage with your nearest and dearest right, this balance should be all the more straightforward.
Above all, this is with the view of communicating that the foster child is valued – and has a right to be valued. Get it right, and the benefits extend far beyond the one Christmas season in question.