One of the most often asked questions I get hit with after teaching a new batch of foster and adoptive parents is, "What about those first few days in our home? How do we help the child feel comfortable?" Adding to our home and family is such a personal experience, it's natural that we want the child to feel comfortable and welcome. We as parents want to feel that we are not missing anything and that we are doing a good job. Here are a few ideas on how to do that.
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Within a few days of a child being in your home, hold a family meeting. This family meeting
will focus on three different main areas: 1. Rules, 2. Consequences, 3. Likes/Dislikes. Use this meeting as a way to get to know the child and help the child feel like he has a bit of ownership in some the rules and consequences used in the home.
When it comes to parenting, especially with older kids, it is very important to establish your role as a parent as soon as the children walk in the door.
It's important to prepare your children for a new arrival. Here are a few points to review with the kids.
When we were first setting up our guest bedroom for foster care and eventually adoption, I had no real idea of what I needed. I really could have used a handy list like this one that my friend helped develop.
Babies have an entirely different set of needs on their shopping lists. Are you sure you remembered everything?
Grief is a very personal thing and it's no different for children. Many children will use their behaviors to communicate their feelings. Learn more about grief and loss so that you may be better able to help them through this time of transition.
From how to open a locker to safe rides, this handy checklist will help you send them back-to-school with less stress. Also, don't leave them to their own devices, most kids end up telling everything they know about their foster care or adoption. Sometimes this can lead to heartache and teasing. I'm a firm believer in the use of cover stories to stall the bullies and otherwise just plain nosy kids.
Activity ideas to help you bond with your new child. Pick and choose what would work best for you and the child.
Patty D. Schlossberg was adopted at the age of 8 has the following article to offer adoptive parents. From Patty: "Based on my personal experience and that of my biological siblings, I'd like to offer these tips to parents of children adopted at older ages, to help them identify problems, and to help them help their children cope and adjust within the context of a past that may include varying degrees of abuse and/or neglect."