How to Make Your Home Welcoming and Safe for Foster Kids
Your house can be a place where a foster kid feels at home, but you might have to make some changes. Simply bringing a child into your house does not necessarily make them feel at ease. They will have to go through an adjustment period, and you can make that less stressful for them.
Here are a few ideas to help you create a welcoming environment for a foster child, ensuring that they feel safe and at home with you.
Set a Schedule
Do you stick to a schedule for sleeping, work, and other activities or do you have a lot of freedom about when you can do these things? It may help a foster child coming into your home to have a schedule to stick to. If they know when to expect bedtime, wakeup time, mealtime, and other typical events, that will help to create a sense of security in their lives. You will give them a reliable framework within which they can live.
If there is little stability in their schedule, then kids may feel a lack of security at home. Without stability and security, kids can feel anxious and unsure of themselves. A regular schedule is comforting to children of all ages. Even if they may complain about the times you set up, they will gain some sense of safety from knowing what to expect and when to expect it.
Minimize Safety Hazards
There are many things in the home that could be potentially dangerous for children. In a foster care facility, the operators have to think about the needs of all the children, so the facilities tend to be incredibly safe. In a home, you only have a few people to consider, so your definition of safe may be less strict. When bringing a foster child into your home, you will need to consider what things might be safety hazards for them particularly in regards to items they may be unfamiliar with.
Be sure to lock away and secure any potentially dangerous items and then have a conversation with the child that is age appropriate about these items. These could include guns, poisons, gardening tools, cleaning supplies, and anything else that could be harmful to the child might not have encountered. You have to consider that the child may not be familiar with items you are used to seeing every day, so no one may have bothered to talk to them about safety regarding these items. It becomes your job to do that as their foster parent.
Keep a Clean Home
Another way you can minimize risk to your child is to make sure the home stays neat and clean. This means keeping things tidy and in their place as well as sanitizing surfaces and cleaning floors. A clean home has fewer tripping hazards and is less likely to be a place where bacteria can freely grow and spread.
Keeping the house tidy can be a big job, and if you feel like you need help, consider hiring house cleaning companies around Los Angeles, or wherever you live. You will want to keep up with housecleaning, even at times when you are busy, just to create a safe environment. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do the work yourself. It may be necessary to hire help at times.
Ensure Electrical and Plumbing Systems Work
We mentioned already that your child will benefit from a sense of security in the home. They ought to feel safe there, and they ought to feel like they can count on you and on various services or functions in the home. One of the ways you can help your child feel comfortable and secure is to keep the plumbing and electrical systems working as best as possible.
Sometimes, children coming into a foster home environment will be very delicate and will feel insecure at times that other kids might not. As a foster parent, you can develop a sense of security in them by keeping utilities paid for and in good working order. Keep in mind that foster kids may have a preconceived idea about what a home is like, and you want to do your best to meet their needs as well as their wishes within reason. For their wellbeing, it is helpful to keep everything running smoothly as much as possible.
Limited Outside Contact, Initially
When a foster child comes into your home, everything will be strange and new to them. You want to be careful about introducing them to too many people at once early on. Give them time to adjust and to get to know the people in your family and those who you interact with regularly. You know these people and trust them, but the child won’t. It may take them time to feel comfortable around new people. The child will likely emulate your behavior toward new people, so be careful about how you interact with your friends and family.
Consider limiting how many people come into the home during the first few months of having the foster child there. This gives them their space and allows them to acclimate slowly. Pay attention to how the child reacts toward new people, and if they are hesitant to interact with those people, be prepared to give them more space. Never force your child to hug, kiss, or interact in a similarly intimate way with someone they are not familiar with or comfortable with. If they continue to show discomfort over many months toward a person you know, you need to have a talk with your child and find out why that is.
These are just a few things you can do to make sure that your home is very welcoming for the foster child and to ensure that they feel safe and secure there. You will find many other things that you can do to create a comfortable space for them and to make them feel at home, but we hope this article is a help to you and your foster child.