Oh the holidays ….
Oh the holidays! Bright lights, Christmas cheer, and family gathered all around far and near. But that’s not the holidays for everyone. The holidays can be a very sensitive time for a child who is in foster care. With my years of experience I’ve learned different ways, researched tips on how to get a foster child through the holidays.
Foster children often feel lonely and sad at a time when they are expected to feel the opposite. And that’s why during the holidays things may get a bit rough. See for a foster child this may well be their very first Christmas without their families. They’ll feel misplaced or Feel like their in a home with complete strangers. Some may not even celebrate the same holiday as you and have different holiday customs. The best thing you can do for that foster child is finding preventative ways that will make that child feel comfortable in your home during the holiday time.
Some examples of things that I have done that was helpful to a foster child is, sending holiday greeting cards or Christmas letters to family members that the foster child is allowed to have contact with.
Another thing is visits. It’s important to know that visits are very important to a foster child especially during the holidays. Visits with family members becomes one of the most important meetings; depending on the case that child may not see those family members as frequently. So make sure you make time during the busy holidays to remember that visits are very important and goes a long way for a foster child mentally and emotionally.
In addition love and support is key, so making a bigger effort by going the extra mile doing family oriented activity’s really helps. Making a foster child feel involved and connected shows that they are loved which opens doors for them. And if it is safe and allowed by your foster care agency, consider extending an invitation to siblings or birth parents through the holidays. for example: trips to see holiday plays, Christmas lights, holiday services to understand there holiday customs. just by doing this sends a the message to that child speaking volumes that they aren’t being put in a position to “choose” your family over their bio-family and that it is possible to have a relationship with all the people they care about.
Now not all of these tips may go accordingly to plan despite your best efforts. Sometimes a child will pull away or withdraw from you. But understand that this detachment most likely is not intended to be an insult or a reflection of how they feel about you, but rather is their own coping mechanism. This would be a good time to take full advantage of one-on-one time. Take some personal time to talk through what they are feeling during this emotional and often confusing time of year. Communication works both ways.
The more you know, the better information you will have that will help a foster child thus reminding them the true meaning of the holidays.
New Beginnings Family Services Recruiter