As the end of the year creeps up, it’s time to start thinking about the festive season again, which is supposed to be a time of merriment. However, for foster children, the Christmas period may bring up negative emotions as memories of their past come gushing in. Unfortunately, this can lead to them feeling excluded by the larger family, which is why it is important to take time to plan properly and involve them as much as possible.
Prepare Foster Children in Advance
As a foster parent, you know that a solid routine promotes safety and security. Therefore, if you come in with a festive wrecking ball, destroying their routine with spontaneous family gatherings, they may become nervous and anxious.
To keep your foster child updated throughout the Christmas period, try providing a calendar they can access and put all events on there. You can use a highlighter to make the dates stand out. Alternatively, try letting your foster child arrange some of the activities, which gives them a sense of control.
Involving the Foster Child’s Birth Parents
Foster children come from various backgrounds, and many of them will be thinking of their birth families over the festive season. When possible, try to include their birth family in your plans. If your child’s social worker agrees, perhaps you can have supervised contact during this festive period with the birth family. Be sure to ask what traditions your foster child would like to continue in your home. You could even make Christmas cards and send them to the child’s birth family.
To help facilitate plans with the foster child’s birth family, try reaching out to your agency for support. If you need help paying for any additional festive activities, you can allocate some of your foster care allowance – find out more about this at orangegrovefostercare.co.uk.
Make Family Activities Inclusive
Christmas is full of interactive activities, including baking mince pies, decorating the house, and making baubles. These types of activities help to strengthen your bond with your foster child during the holidays. Alternatively, you can arrange game nights with the family and play a fun board game or head out to meet the big man himself (Santa) at a grotto.
Keep Everything Calm
Buried underneath the enjoyment of Christmas is a mountain of stress, between buying gifts, visiting everyone, and cooking the Christmas dinner. If you have a foster child, it’s important not to show any cracks in your demeanor or bring stress into the home. Further, your foster child may feel stressed out and get triggered by large gatherings or unfamiliar faces – try to keep any gatherings small until the child feels more settled. When you have any new visitors coming over, make sure you communicate this with the foster child to prepare them.
Holidays can still be enjoyable for foster families; you just make some small adaptions to your typical festivities and communicate with your foster children. If you ever feel overwhelmed or need support, get in touch with your agency, which should be on call to help 24/7 through the holiday period.