As a short-term foster carer, you have a very important job in a child’s life. Whether that foster child is with you for a few days, weeks, months or up to two years, you’ll need to provide a stable, comfortable and supportive environment that makes it possible for them to thrive. But one thing you may want a little help with is finding effective ways to help your short-term foster child adjust to a new schedule. With these tips, the process will be smooth and simple for both the child and you. It’s all about creating positive experiences.
Talk About the Routine Before Jumping In
Just like anything new for a child, it’s always best to approach it with a conversation first. Talk about what their daily routine will look like, answer any questions they have and give them a chance for input. Maybe there are some things they want to include that you weren’t aware of.
Use Fun Visuals for the Schedule
If you’re fostering a younger child, visuals can be a great way to get them used to a new schedule. You can find all kinds of great pre-made calendars, daily schedules, whiteboards and even sticker boards, or you can make your own. Try to make things as light, fun and easy to follow as possible. If you give them a way to “check off” or remove tasks as they go, it can make things more engaging and help them to remember the routine easier.
Digital To Do Lists Can Be Equally Engaging
If you have a foster child who is a little older, such as a tween or teen, then digital to-do lists may be smarter. If they have access to a smart device in your home such as a child-friendly tablet, you can create calendars, lists and schedules that can be shared and edited in real-time by the entire household.
Expect a Transition Period
Even when you follow all these tips, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Learning a new routine is still a lot to absorb for any child no matter the age, so expect it to take a few days or weeks. Repetition will be key so keep it up and don’t take days off from the routine. No matter how long or short of time your foster child is with you, they will benefit from a steady routine.
Perhaps you haven’t yet taken the steps necessary to have a short-term foster child in your home, and reading these tips has inspired you and shown you that you’re ready to embrace the opportunity. If so, you can visit a website like ispfostering.org.uk to learn more about short-term fostering near you.
No matter how involved the daily routine is that you want to implement in the house, remember that every kid benefits from a routine. When their schedule and expectations are clear, they have a chance to truly flourish in the environment and feel comfortable.