Celebrating Christmas with Foster Children
Famed for being the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, Christmas in many households is often a hectic and full-on affair. So, there’s little surprise why plenty of people get engrossed in the whole fabric of the festivities.
For some foster children, Christmas can be an extremely emotional time. Rather than being full of festive cheer, Christmas can often make children feel confused, lonely and even guilty, so it’s critical that you’re able understand and encourage them right throughout this period.
As part of the round-the-clock care and advice that we provide to our community of foster carers, we’ll always ensure that we’re available to provide the highest level of support over Christmas and New Year. We firmly believe that no foster family or child within our care should have to feel lonely, confused or guilty at any time of the year.
Christmas is a time for communication
The most important thing you can do to ensure you and your family have the best possible Christmas is to communicate.
Prior to the big day, it’s essential that you talk to your foster child about what Christmas means to them and what their experiences have been like in the past.
If your foster child’s exposure to Christmas has been somewhat limited, then it’s probably not a good a idea to crowd their day with an explosion of unfamiliar faces from your wider family. Instead, tailor the intensity of your celebrations to what your foster child is likely to be comfortable with.
Although Christmas is a time for family gatherings, it’s important not to overwhelm some foster children, as they’re likely to become stressed, isolated and uninterested in any of the celebrations. One way in which these feelings can be alleviated is by discussing any planned events or gatherings with your foster children beforehand to help settle any nerves.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that some children may become nervous around adults who are consuming alcohol. Again, it is important that you communicate with your foster children to help understand their feelings and unearth any potential issues.
Don’t surprise your guests
If you’ve decided on welcoming guests into your home, or perhaps you’re planning on visiting another relative, it’s certainly a good idea to ensure that everybody knows that you’re currently fostering in advance of your or their arrival.
Not only will this help to put your guests at ease, but it’ll also make sure that any foster children within your care are not made to feel unwelcome at any point over the festive period.
Get them involved at an early stage
In order to alleviate any apprehensive, we suggest that you take the time to explain to your foster children before Christmas how you’ll be spending it and what activities the family is likely to be doing.
Therefore, it’s important to get all foster children involved at every stage. From choosing a tree, hanging the decorations to selecting what treats you and your family are likely to be enjoying over the the festive period, are all great ways that will make foster children feel involved, as well as reassured this Christmas.
Santa can still find them
For any younger children in your family, one of their biggest fears is knowing whether Father Christmas can still find them. Well, of course he can, but to make your children feel more comfortable, why not get them to write a list or leave out a glass of milk and a mince pie on Christmas Eve. You can even track his journey using the online Santa Tracker.
Equal amounts of gifts
We all know that helping to give vulnerable children the chance to have a bright future is certainly the best present that anyone could give this year, but we recognise that children and young people are brought up knowing the link between Christmas and presents.
We certainly recommend buying all children in your family gifts of equal value and quantity, so no one is made to feel ‘left out’ or disappointed. For more help and inspiration about buying suitable Christmas presents for the children and young people in your care, we have no doubt that our experienced social workers will be able to assist you.
At Perpetual Fostering, we understand that some children can become a little sensitive and overwhelmed by the whole festive period, so it’s important that you show them some extra love and support when they need it most.
Opening up your home to give a child the chance to make some magical memories is the best thing you could possibly do this Christmas, so why not contact a member of our team and start your fostering journey today.