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How to prepare your biological children for the first placement of a foster child

Preparing your biological child for your first foster placement can be a complicated situation. Your biological children are likely to feel very jealous and left out during this exciting change. Keep in mind the following options for helping your biological child feel more involved.

Get them involved

Allow your children to be a part of preparing your home for your foster placement. Cleaning house for the caseworkers visit, picking out what goes in the room the foster child/ren will be staying in are two fun things your children can do to get involved. Also, perhaps getting your kids to help point out things in the home that may not be "child proof." After all, there is no adult who can find all of the unsafe things in your home as fast or efficiently as a child.

Help them learn ways to welcome your new family member/s

Create a welcome ritual. Make a plan for the family to go through step by step for when you get your first phone call from the department. An example of a family ritual is having your child create a "welcome basket" with a towel, a toothbrush, and toiletries, to be given to the new child/ren when they arrive. Have your child pick a flavor of ice cream and when your new family member arrives you can present them with their basket of goodies and every one in the family sit down to a big bowl of ice cream.

Explain the meaning of charity 

Explain to your child that you love them, that you have so much love to give and you want to share this love with other children. Teach your children what charity means to you, and help them define what all of this means to them. This wont be resolved in one conversation, or one afternoon, you will need to talk to them many times, on many occasions. Share examples of charity in every day life, have them drop a can in the bucket for the food bank at the grocery store or at your church etc.

Make special time for each child

Most importantly, make special time for each of your children. Once or twice a month, or even once a week if you have time, make one whole day about each child. Take a walk if the weather is nice, go have ice cream together, take a pottery class, work in the garden, paint the hallway, anything your child would enjoy. Any special one on one attention is going to boost their self image and remind them that you still really love them, even though they are not the only child/ren in the house any more.


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