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5 Tips for Being a Good Foster Parent

Giving a loving home to a child or teen can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever. These tips for being a good foster parent can help.

Tips for Being a Good Foster Parent
Photo: Xavier Mouton

If you’ve ever considered opening your heart and your home to child or teen, but are uncertain whether or not you have what it takes, these tips for being a good foster parent could set your mind at ease. They let you know just what’s needed for a smooth transition and a lasting relationship.

There are thousands of children and teens out there who need a safe, loving environment. You and your home may be exactly what they’re looking for, but you might feel anxious about your first placement. It’s normal to experience a mixture of emotions about foster parenting, and you’re probably swinging all over the spectrum, from excitement to apprehension.

If you think it’s stressful for you, just imagine how it must be for the foster! Of course your priority will be to help him or her feel loved, welcome, and secure, but you’ll want to feel those same positive sentiments as well. The following five tips for being a good foster parent will help you both.

5 Tips for Being a Good Foster Parent

Tips for Being a Good Foster Parent
Photo: Mike Scheid

1. Establish a Routine

Many children and teens may have experienced much upheaval and trauma in their short lives. As they might fear for the future, it is vital to provide structure and routine.

Inform them each day of their schedule, including the activities planned, mealtimes, set homework hours and bedtime routines. It will make them feel in the loop and more in control of their day. If you’re fostering toddlers or small children, use picture charts to help them learn about their set routine.

2. Ask Your Loved Ones for Help

Foster parenting is a rewarding experience, but it can be stressful. Don’t suffer in silence—turn to your loved ones for help and support when needed. For instance, if a loved one offers to cook meals for the family, say yes. If you’re struggling with stress, confide in your trusted friends and family for emotional support. Caring for your mental wellbeing and physical health will ensure you provide a foster child with a calm, loving, and safe environment.

3. Embrace Ongoing Training

New and experienced foster parents will benefit from ongoing training from a fostering agency. For example, helps foster carers develop their skills by providing training on first aid, safeguarding, trauma and bereavement, child exploitation, attachment, diversity, and equality. It will provide the knowledge and confidence you need to create a loving, safe home for a foster child while making a positive difference in their lives.

4. Establish Rules

Rules will not only prevent unruly behavior in young people, but they will provide a sense of security a foster child or teen might never have felt before. They might not like the rules set, but specific rules can make fosters feel a part of a supportive, caring family. However, be careful not to overwhelm them with too many strict rules, and articulate what you expect from them each day.

5. Provide a Sense of Control

A young person will experience many emotions in a foster placement. They may feel uncomfortable, alone, or unloved, and they might feel unable to articulate their feelings. While rules can provide a sense of security, you must also offer a sense of control in your home.

The small things matter for foster children and teens. Make them feel more comfortable by allowing them to choose their personal care products, toothbrush, bedding, and toys. Also, ask them about their favorite meals and snacks so they can enjoy some familiarity and comfort in your home.

Giving a loving home to a child or teen can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever. These tips for being a good foster parent can help.