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How to Set Up a Closet & Bedroom for an Older Adoptive or Foster Child

Appropriate for Ages 3 and Up


Teenage boy at home with guitar
Ivan Jones/Stone/Getty Images

Older Child Needs: Basic Clothing

  • 7-Shirts
  • 5-Jeans
  • 5-Shorts
  • 1-Dress Pants - for court or church
  • 2-Dresses/Skirts - for court or church
  • 2-Pajamas
  • 1-Winter Coat
  • 1-Light Weight Jacket
  • 7-Socks
  • 7-Underwear
  • 2-Shoes - one dress shoes and one tennis shoes

For potty training toddlers double the amount of shirts, jeans, shorts, underwear, and night clothing.

Older Child Needs: Hygiene

  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Comb/Brush
  • Deodorant - Consider the age of the child with this product. Middle school is about the time deodorant is needed. Some children may require it earlier.
  • Shampoo - Consider tear free for toddlers.
  • Hair Care Products for ethnic children. Ask the current foster home or children's home what the children are using - if not available call a local salon.
  • Lotion - Especially for ethnic skin care needs.
  • Baby Wipes for quick clean up of hands and face after meals. Also needed for potty training accidents.

Teens may require skin care products and cologne/perfume. Take them shopping with you for these items.

Older Child Needs: Bedding/Bedroom

  • 2-Sets of sheets
  • 2-Light Weight Blankets
  • 1-Heavier Blanket
  • 1-Comforter (optional)
  • 1-Plastic Sheet Mattress Protector (optional) - Some youth will regress in behavior during times of stress and may start wetting the bed. Also consider this item for potty training toddlers.
  • 1-Night Light - Have on hand just in case.

Double the sheets and blankets listed for toddlers or bed wetters.

Older Child Needs: Age Appropriate Basic Toys

  • Stuffed Animals
  • Legos
  • Barbies
  • Dolls
  • Various Action Figures
  • Cars and Trucks
  • Books of various reading levels.
  • Puzzles
  • Crayons and Color Books
  • Building Blocks

Have a few basic toys on hand until you get to know the child. Check the packages for age appropriateness and use as a guideline when setting up your toy room. Also keep in mind whether certain toys would be a choking hazard for toddlers.

Allow the Older Children to Choose for Themselves

It feels great to have stuff ready to go for a new adoptive or foster care placement, but consider saving some shopping to do with the kids. It will help you to get to know them, and the kids will feel like they have stuff of their own.

For the Bare Necessities: Basic Baby Needs see what Baby Products Guide Heather Corley has listed.

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  6. Older Child Foster Care and Adoption - Setting Up a Bedroom for Older Youth

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