How to maneuver the holidays as a foster parent
The holiday season can be extremely stressful and this year may be especially tense as normal holiday traditions may need to be adjusted. For a foster child, the extra hustle and bustle of Christmas can intensify the stress.
It’s hard to imagine what foster children are thinking or feeling during the holiday season. They are processing their own grief and loss, feelings of abandonment, feeling out of place or unwanted. They may also be feeling a sense of guilt for having a good time with you.
Take the stress out of Christmas
Here are some practical ways you can help the children placed in your home have a sense of contentment during what could be a difficult season.
- Introduce your extended family to the children placed in your home through pictures or Facetime.
- Provide some education about the holiday and how your family celebrates.
- Remember their birth parents! Take the child shopping so they can give their birth parents a gift.
- Don’t let your plans interfere with the child spending time with their birth family. Talk to CPS early to arrange a visit that fits everyone’s schedule.
- Ask the child to share their favorite memories of the holidays.
- Prepare the children before you do activities. Make sure they know who will be there, what they will be doing, how long the activity will last and the “dos and don’ts.”
- Catch up on their Life Book during the school break. Work on this together.
- Remember confidentiality! Your family and friends have great intentions in asking why the child is in foster care, but the child may not want everyone to know. Remember to respect his or her privacy.
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