First nights with a new placement: Tips
Are they okay?
I wonder if they need anything.
Are they scared?
Why aren’t they asking me questions?
These questions, circling the mind, keeping you awake. You are a nervous wreck. These aren’t the only questions, there are so many more you have to ask, you want to ask, but you don’t. You won’t, not yet anyway. Below are a list of tips that can help ease the mind and transition of not only the child entering a new home, but also for the parent(s) involved in the placement.
Give a house tour
Give your new placement a tour of your home. This will help them become familiar with their surroundings and feel invited into this new territory. Show them where their room is, the bathroom they will use, the kitchen and the family room. If it isn’t dark, show them the outside, area’s where the family spends time outdoors, etc.
Lay out fresh bedding, pajamas and a toothbrush
Have these items out and offer to help the child make their bed. This can be a bonding experience. Give options, lay out a few sheets, blankets and a few pajama sets. This will allow the new addition to your home to choose from colors and designs, which can add a sense of comfort and help with individuality. Remember, most children enter a new home with nothing, so providing choices can help make the child feel accepted and hopefully like they are in less of a strange environment.
Put up your pets
Put your pets up until the child has become aware of their new surroundings and met the other members of the household. Once the home is less of a strange environment, offer to introduce your new member to house pets. The pets will be new to your child and your child will be new to your pets. Allowing time for them to meet in a calmer setting can help with the chaos.
Remember – They are nervous too
You are not the only one nervous about this first night, and the next one, and the next. Your new placement will be nervous, for many days. This is a learning experience for everyone involved, and it will take a while for things to settle and feel normal. Don’t panic, or push. Give it time.
NBFS Recruiter/Trainer – Elizabethtown Office