Are you a foster parent? Here are some tips to help your foster child prepare for a visit with their family. These visits can be both exciting and overwhelming for children, so make sure they’re ready! By following these simple tips for foster parents, you can help them feel prepared and excited for the big day.
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Tips to Help a Foster Child Prepare for a Visit
A family visit can be an exciting but anxious time for a foster child. Preparation is key to helping the child feel as comfortable as possible and ensuring that the visit goes smoothly. Here are a few tips to help you, as the new foster parent, get started.
Seek Guidance From Your Case Worker
With every new experience with a foster child, it is important to seek guidance form your case worker. The case worker should know the child’s case well and, may even know the child well if this is not their first time in foster care.
The case worker can warn you about any behaviors a visit might trigger. The case worker might also want to be the person the foster child speaks to before and after the visit. Most case workers are an absolutely invaluable resource in foster care.
Talk about the visit in Advance
Give the child as much notice as possible so they have time to process the information and ask any questions they may have. Try to be as specific as possible about who will be coming, what time they will arrive, how long they will stay, and what activities you will be doing together.
Depending on the age of your foster child, you’ll want to have different conversations. For younger children, keep your explanations simple and positive. For older children, you can go into more detail about the process and what will happen during the visit. It’s also important to answer any questions they may have honestly.
Help the Child Prepare Questions
Help the child prepare any questions they may want to ask their family members. This will help them feel more in control of the situation and ease any nerves they may have about the visit.
Questions could include things like:
- What is your favorite color?
- Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- What is your favorite memory of me?”
It’s also a good idea to role-play different scenarios with them ahead of time so they know what to expect and how to react if things don’t go as planned.
Encourage the child to express their feelings
Encourage the child to express their feelings leading up to and during the visit. It’s normal for children to feel a range of emotions, from excitement and happiness to nervousness and sadness.
Provide a safe space and allow them to express whatever they’re feeling, and provide reassurance and support as needed.
Assure the Child that breaks are okay
Make sure the child knows that it’s okay if they need to take a break or some time alone during the visit. If things start to feel overwhelming, provide a quiet space for them to take a break.
Debrief After the Visit
After the family visit, debrief with the child about how things went. This is an opportunity for them to share any thoughts or feelings they may have about the visit and for you to provide additional support and guidance as needed.
A family visit can be a wonderful but potentially anxiety-provoking experience for a foster child. By preparing in advance, you can help ease any nerves and make sure that things go as smoothly as possible for everyone.
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If you have questions about Foster Parenting
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