Helping the young person you foster get settled in six easy steps
As a foster carer, you’re creating a secure and caring place for a child or young person to call home. One of the first steps on your journey together is to help them feel settled in their new home.
We’re passionate about seeing our fostering families thrive together, so we’ve put together these handy steps to help the young person you’re fostering get settled at home.
1. Get to know them
Getting to know the young person you’re fostering before they move in will help you get ready and smooth the transition as they become part of the family.
You can ask your social worker questions to help you give them the best welcome into your family. Find out what they prefer to be called, their pronouns, their bedtime routines and any medical requirements.
You could also find out about their interests and hobbies, if they like pets and if there are things they don't like or are scared of. Find out what foods they like and prepare a favourite meal for their first visit, and encourage them to bring something for their bedroom to help make the space their own.
2. Take your time
Moving into a new home can be overwhelming. It’s a new environment, so settling in will take time. Don’t worry, you don’t need to rush.
Rather than showing them around the whole house straight away, you could show them their bedroom first. This space is theirs and can be a ‘safe haven’ if they ever feel overwhelmed as they settle in.
Take your time introducing them to new family members and friends and give them time to get to know each other.
3. Make their room personal
Help the young person you’re fostering settle in by adding personal touches to their room. You could spend time together planning a shopping trip or look through magazines for ideas.
They might bring their favourite things with them, like special toys, clothing or pictures. It’s important to keep anything with sentimental value, so you could plan together how to display them or keep them safe in their room.
4. Make fun plans
Plan some fun activities you can do to get to know each other more and spend some quality time together.
Have a think about their age, what they enjoy and if there's anything they would like to try but haven't done before. Planning together is a great way to show them that home life doesn’t have to be boring.
5. Stay open and approachable
When you’re welcoming a young person into your home, it’s important to be sensitive and approachable. Encourage them to be open and honest with you, so you can talk through what’s on their mind and how you can support them.
Try to be conscious of having positive and friendly body language. If you’re talking to small children, talk to them at eye level. When you welcome someone into your home with warmth and understanding, you’ll start your relationship off on the right foot.
6. Rules and routine
Introducing some house rules and a routine will help you to create a sense of normality, responsibility and accountability. You’ll have to be clear about your rules, but also understanding as the child may have some difficulty adjusting to the new environment.
The young person you’re fostering may find it difficult adjusting to a new set of rules. Take your time, be patient and allow for mistakes. They may have had very different rules to abide by in their previous home, and might not know why certain actions are unacceptable. You may have to adjust your approach if necessary.
Remember, testing your boundaries from time to time is a natural part of growing up!