How Do You Make a Foster Child Feel Comfortable?

You got the phone call, and your new foster child is heading your way sometime soon. The room is ready, and you are excited to meet your new foster child, but you’re wanting to know, how do you make a foster child feel comfortable?

To make your foster child feel comfortable, have cookies baking in the oven to make the home smell welcoming. Provide a tour of your home, allowing your other children to join the tour so the new foster child can begin to bond with them. Provide a welcome basket and welcome book for an added touch.

There are several other things you can do to help your new foster child begin to feel comfortable in your home.

Teens in a circle smiling.

How Do You Make a Foster Child Feel Comfortable?

It won’t be as simple as opening your door to welcome your foster child. You must treat him or her like any other child, but also take into account his trauma.

It may take time for your foster child to warm up to you, or he may never express how he feels at all.

The reactions of each foster child will vary. What you may consider a kind greeting may be a stressful circumstance for him.

Making your foster child feel at home might feel like a difficult balancing act at times. Take a step back and attempt to see things from his point of view, being flexible and understanding.

Your foster child’s initial impression of his new home will most likely stay with him for the rest of his life, so make sure you have everything ready for him when he arrives.

There are basic things you can do to make the transition easier on him, even if it’s an emergency placement.

While it may seem difficult to make your foster child feel at ease, the simple things you do can make a big difference.

There are several things you can do to help make your foster child feel comfortable:

  • Cheerfully greet your foster child when they first arrive and introduce your family and your pets to the child.
  • Have something yummy that smells good baking in the oven so that when the child arrives, your home is filled with that amazing smell.
  • Don’t tell the child to call you “mom” or “dad”. Instead, give them the option to call you what they most feel comfortable with.
  • Make a welcome book that includes a variety of things such as photos of each family member and any pets along with their names. This welcome book should be fun and friendly and be fun to look through. This would be a good opportunity to include a list of house rules and common chores that the child may be included in.
  • Provide a tour of your home while letting the child know that they are welcome to use anything in the home they see, such as the TV or computer, as they are now a part of the family.
  • A welcome basket is a nice gesture that can help a new foster child feel comfortable. This welcome basket can be waiting for the child in their new room, along with the welcome book. What you include in the special welcome basket is up to your imagination. The basket could include a book, stuffed animal, clothes, a diary, toys, and the list goes on.
  • Most children love pizza, so after the home tour, pop a pizza in the oven or have one delivered.
  • Ask your new foster child what their favorite dinner is, and plan on making that very soon.
  • Show the child their bedroom at the end of their tour, and then give the child some time to settle in to go through their welcome basket and look through their welcome book.
  • After dinner, try to find some quiet time to get more acquainted. And remember, the child will likely take time to get comfortable.

Some of these factors may seem insignificant to you, but to your foster child, who has come from a circumstance that is far from normal, they will make a significant difference.

If your new foster child doesn’t seem to appreciate what you’re doing, don’t become disheartened. As they adjust, it may take a few days, weeks, or even months for the child to warm up to you.

With time and your love, they’ll begin to feel less like an outsider and more like a family member.

Even if they don’t accept you the way you hoped, remember that you’ve established a foundation for him that will last a lifetime.

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How Does Foster Care Affect a Child?

By the time a foster kid enters care, his or her development has already been harmed. Every foster child has some sort of particular need.

The majority of foster children are in care as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, all of which have an impact on their development.

Foster children are in care for no fault of their own, and being in care adds a whole new set of developmental challenges to the list of those already there.

Sadly, foster children suffer developmental challenges in several ways.

Challenges Emotionally

Youngsters in foster care have unique emotional requirements that are not shared by other children. They may have been subjected to emotional abuse or had parents who were physically absent or emotionally distant.

As a result, foster children develop coping methods to compensate for their loss. Food hoarding, head-banging, and incessant sobbing are all prevalent behaviors.

They may appear alien to us, particularly when compared to our offspring.

Children who have been through trauma, on the other hand, uniquely communicate their needs since they are unable to voice their feelings.

We can greatly improve a child’s chances of improvement if we meet them where they are and provide them with the behavioral health or developmental services they require.

Social Challenges

Foster children are typically socially behind their classmates. It’s not unusual to see an older child playing with a younger child.

They may feel more at ease with younger children if they are emotionally or physically delayed. They might be the youngsters who, due to their actions, stand out like a sore thumb.

Or they may just feel uncomfortable in social situations because they are unfamiliar with them.

They may have never seen a Christmas tree, Thanksgiving dinner, a new Easter outfit, a theme park, or a church. Their parents must prepare foster children for social occasions to avoid embarrassment.

These circumstances will arise in some form or another. However, it is the foster parent’s responsibility to support the foster youngster during difficult times.

Physical Development

The majority of foster children are physically behind their peers when they enter care. They are underweight, overweight, or short in comparison to their classmates.

Foster parents do an excellent job providing a foster child with balanced food, nutritious snacks, and sensible bedtimes. It just takes a few months to detect a significant change.

They may always be concerned about going hungry. In actuality, they will have a fully stocked refrigerator, a well-stocked pantry, and three square meals every day.

Some foster children arrive with medically significant concerns, such as babies who have been exposed to substances. Developmental delays are another example.

Foster parents who have received additional training should provide these wonderful children with more one-on-one attention.

Mental Trauma

Many children in foster care have experienced mental trauma, such as not knowing what to eat or where to sleep. Or, perhaps, they’re worried if Mom and Dad will quarrel tonight.

Fears of police officers, strangers, or the actions of one’s parents are all valid concerns. Even yet, when kids enter care, they bring some of those worries with them.

Even though they will be properly fed, have a roof over their heads, and have a comfortable bed to sleep in at night, their concerns will remain.

Let’s be clear, a change of location does not magically solve a child’s mental health difficulties.

Once in care, however, a kid has the chance to obtain mental health therapies that they would not have gotten otherwise.

Battles with Moral

Curse words could be part of the vocabulary of a two-year-old foster child; not because they understand the words, but because they are simply mimicking what they have heard in their home.

It is not uncommon for a foster child to steal or hit others or lie. Though this may shock our conscience, we need to realize that a foster child may not have a developed conscience.

They have had to do this to survive. While we are viewing these behaviors as immoral, they are viewing these actions as meeting their own needs.

Foster parents, rather than overreacting to behaviors, need to find the need behind the behavior.

If we meet the child’s needs, the behaviors will likely subside. Not overnight, mind you.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Foster Care?

When compared to their peers who are reunited with their families or adopted, children in long-term foster care have greater rates of behavioral and emotional disorders.

Children in long-term foster care have alarmingly high rates of behavioral and emotional disorders.

Better recognizing and aiding children who have, or are at risk of acquiring, such difficulties when they enter foster care and during their out-of-home placement may lessen their requirements and create mechanisms for supporting them as they grow older.

Foster care ends at the age of 18 in many states, and the youngsters are left on their own.

Despite this, kids are leaving foster care at a moment in their lives when many still require significant leadership, structure, and support.

Many foster children who age out of the foster care system end up homeless because they don’t have a safety net to fall back on.

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Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.